In this article, we present findings about the implementation of single gender public schooling in California - a movement that signifies a growing interest in school choice and private sector solutions to public education problems. we analyze qualitative data gathered in a study of 12 single gender academies (6 boys; 6 girls). As well-meaning educators responded to California's single gender academies legislation, they designed schools and used resources to address the pressing needs of students in each community, such as low achievement, poverty, or violence, rather than to address gender bias. The impetus for single gender schooling in each context affected the organization, curriculum and pedagogy in each academy, as did educators' ideologies about gender. In the end, the politics surrounding the legislation, the resource interests of district and school administrators, and the lack of institutional support for this gender-based reform coalesced to structure the demise of most of the single gender academies. We consider the implications of these findings for the viability of single gender schooling as a public school option.