January 2010 Archives

Boys, responding to the ever-younger ages that girls enter puberty, have their plans to ramp up their masculinity, as described in this New York Times piece. A Colby College professor has written a book on the topic, Packaging Boyhood. If only the adolescent boys realized their true sexual deficits: Much later in life women are spurning them as unsuitable "marriageable mates" because their educational attainment falls short. Trying explaining that to a middle school-er....


The Pew report on shifting economic relationships between men and women and the investigation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights into college admissions discrimination against women are drawing attention to the gender gap issue. This Saturday I'll be a guest on Fox & Friends (at this point scheduled for 9:50 a.m. EST) to talk about those issues. Those are just symptoms, of course. The real issue is what's going on in K-12 schools that has led to decreased academic aspirations among boys. I anticipate that I will have an opportunity for a brief discussion of that issue ...


At age five, a third of poor boys in England can't write their names, compared to a sixth of poor girls, according the report described in the Guardian. In truth, this is just another indicator of the slow start boys everywhere get in verbal skills, which is why education reforms that have pushed intensified verbal skills into the earliest grades have impacted boys more than girls. What I find interesting about the British coverage of this issue is that the boy troubles are accepted as fact. The only debate is what to do about them. In a recent posting about ...


Usually, the New York Times (what am I going to do with they duck behind a pay wall?) does a great job pointing out gender trends in economic stories. This time they let us speculate about which jobs aren't coming back. (update: reader Scott Steinbrecher reminds me the wsj was a bit more direct in its story.) You don't need to be a Wharton whiz, however, to decode this one. These are jobs traditionally held by males, and they aren't coming back. The only mystery here is whether males will now get the message that females have understood for many ...


In England, Australia and New Zealand, the problem of slipping academic aspirations by boys is a steady news story. Here, The Telegraph lays out the numbers about British males. According to the latest figures, 30 per cent of women went into higher education in the mid-90s, compared with 29 per cent of men. But by 2009, the proportion of women on degree courses soared to 40 per cent, against only 32 per cent of men. For men to match the number of women going into university, an extra 25,000 males would have to enroll, according to these numbers. The ...


The New York Times does a service by collecting short essays from the nation's top marriage experts on the "marriageable mate" dilemma: How are we adjusting to the shifting economic and education relationships between men and women? Pay special attention to the piece by Ralph Richard Banks, who raises the key question: Will white women behave like black women? If they do, we can expect to see declining marriage rates and rising out of wedlock birth rates. My only quibble with the Times is that the editors continue to play cutesy with the issue. This time, they toy with an "alpha...


This report from the College Board was issued as part of a Capitol Hill panel of experts on the plight of minority males. It's all helpful, but I still get uncomfortable separating minority boys from boys overall. True, the most severe problems are found among those boys, but there's a thread connecting their problems to the issues found among all boys. The demand for a solution is more likely to arise from a broad base than a narrow one. Here's the report. From the press release: NEW YORK -- Minority male students continue to face overwhelming barriers in educational attainment, ...


A pair of studies of University of Alaska professor Judith Kleinfeld are available at the top of the Boys Project website. The beginning of the press release: Fairbanks, Alaska--Boys face high rates of a variety of mental health issues, in addition to lagging behind girls in academic performance and college attendance, according to two new papers by University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Judith Kleinfeld. The studies, recently published in the journal Gender Issues, note that boys have higher rates of suicide, conduct disorders, emotional disturbance, premature death and juvenile delinquency than their female peers, as well as lower grades, test ...


That's the good news from the American Council on Education's Gender Equity in Higher Education report (available for purchase through ACE) but written about in today's Inside Higher Education and USA Today. The fact that gender gaps have leveled off is not surprising. Given the "man-cession" where nearly 80 percent of the layoffs have been males shouldn't we be seeing a dramatic reversal? Other than a jump in male enrollments at the community college level I haven't seen that. ACE does everyone a huge service by collecting the data, although in both stories I'm quoted taking exception to the tone ...


Today's editorial in the L.A. Times examines the college gender gaps, concludes that admitting slightly less qualified males is justified and then moves on to the heart of the matter: Why is this happening? Theories and arguments abound. Some say that boys are more active and thus less able to sit still for long periods -- and as a result, more likely to be categorized as having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or needing special education. A 2008 study by researchers at Northwestern University found that when girls are involved in a language-related task -- such as reading -- they ...


That's the headline the Wall Street Journal put atop my commentary running today. When I started researching the "boy troubles" I focused on elementary school -- looking for the causes -- and ended up gazing into the future. What are the consequences of these gender gaps? There are several: men disconnected from society, an economy lacking potential talent and the marriageable mate dilemma. This last one, the marriageable mate, is the most controversial of the three. Feminists bristle at the idea that a woman either has find an educationally compatible mate -- or even a mate at all. I try ...


For years now, conservatives have blamed feminized classrooms for boys falling behind. Less attention gets paid to what liberals blame (actually, if you're the AAWU or NOW you say: What boy troubles?). But anyone visiting classrooms and talking to liberal-leaning teachers will soon hear this explanation: The problem lies with the standards and accountability movement -- in particular, No Child Left Behind. This report from The Advancement Project -- Test, Punish, and Push Out: How Zero Tolerance and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth into the School to Prison Pipeline -- lays out the fine print behind that viewpoint. Their talking points: * ...


So many missed the point of yesterday's Pew study about the shifting economic relationships between men and women. Many TV producers and headline writers depicted men as somehow finding rich women to marry ...diamonds are now a man's best friend. Cute, but wrong. Today, one person got it right, Michael Gerson writing in the Washington Post. The heart of this issue lies in the tardiness men have exhibited in getting the education they need to compete in today's economy. Men aren't finding rich women to marry -- they're falling behind in earning power. Even that fact, however, doesn't capture the ...


I started my research looking at why boys fall behind in school, but it didn't take long for me to arrive at the bottom line of what all this means. Yes, the economy will suffer some as some talented men are left behind, but the impact felt by most will be what sociologists call the "marriageable mate" dilemma. That's the focus of a Pew report released today and fleshed out nicely by The New York Times. For a primer on this, go the marriageable mate category in the resource section of my blog, where I've been collecting articles about the ...


Nugent has one idea of what it takes for men to survive, here in the Washington Times. I have another. Successfully navigating school, I argue, is more urgent than surviving in the woods....


GMA nicely rolled the dice and put me on this morning. Against all odds I didn't freeze. They even built a nice web page on the issue. Let's hope this issue can get some national traction. The audience I'm looking for resides in the U.S. Department of Education: Isn't it time to launch an Australian-style investigation into the gender gaps?...


I debate Susan McGee Bailey, the author of the 1992 paper from AAUW arguing that schools are shortchanging girls (not boys). That's the study that got me started on Why Boys Fail. I wrote that up uncritically -- by hindsight, big mistake. Education Next went all out. They have a book excerpt, with me reading, and a video....


In theory, that happens today around 8:30 a.m. EST. We'll see...could get bumped. I'm here in New York doing book promotions. Yesterday I chatted on and off for an hour with Gil Gross from the San Francisco powerhouse station KGO....


Understandable, but still interesting. Actually, what's striking about the coverage of the gender issues by womens enews is its evenhandedness. Refreshing....


One could read that into this article in Inside Higher Education documenting a surge in male enrollment in community colleges: The Men Are Back January 13, 2010 For the first time in many years, a number of community colleges are reporting that their enrollment of male students this past fall either outpaced or equaled that of female students. Tidewater Community College, in Virginia, saw a 16 percent increase in the enrollment of male students this past fall compared to fall 2008. During the same time period, female enrollment grew by 11.5 percent. Still, women are 61 percent of the ...


Reviews for Why Boys Fail, which is released this week, come from a reporter at education.com and a book reviewer for an online publication aimed at librarians. The education.com review gets more into the issue, while the other deals more with how the book is structured, astutely observing that I wrote the book as an extended commentary. That's my background and that's how I wanted the book to read. I had one big point to make, and I wanted to make sure that point didn't get lost in a swarm of observations about boys in school. The review ...


On January 26 the College Board Advocacy and Congressional TriCaucus will sponsor a conference on how to steer more minority males into and through college. Although the press release wisely links that goal to President Obama's goal of boosting college graduation rates, the groups miss something: There's something in common about the boy problems, something shared between inner city black and Latino males and their suburban counterparts and that commonality involves literacy skills. The difference: one group has the flu, the other a mild cold. Discovering that shared issue (and at this point the U.S. Department of Education appears ...


In her new blog as Public Editor for the National Education Writers Association, The Educated Reporter, Linda Perlstein wrote a Top Ten list of education stories of 2009. (Okay, I'm a little tardy reporting this.). But this article by AP higher education writer Justin Pope is worth repeating. An Associated Press analysis of government data on the 83 federally designated four-year HBCUs shows just 37 percent of their Black students finish a degree within six years. That's 4 percentage points lower than the national college graduation rate for Black students. One major reason: the struggles of Black men. Just 29 ...


Not part of your daily vocabulary? Nor mine. I guess that's why I'm not an academic. That and the fact I lack a doctorate. So, Wikipedia to the rescue: Misandry (pronounced /mɪˈsændri/) is hatred (or contempt) of men or boys. Misandry comes from Greek misos (μῖσος, "hatred") and anēr, andros (ἀνήρ, gen. ἀνδρός; "man"). It is parallel to misogyny--the hatred of women or girls. Misandry is also comparable with (but not the same as) misanthropy which is the hatred of humanity in general. The prefix miso-, meaning 'Hatred' or 'To hate' applies in many other words, such ...


(Sorry, I thought this got posted yesterday ... still learning the system here) Regarding this new study, which found that students in New York City Charters outperform students in the broader public system: -- This should not come as a surprise. One of Joel Klein's first actions was to lure the highest performing charter operators into New York -- Uncommon Schools, Achievement First and KIPP. In some cases, the bait was $1 a year leases in existing public schools. Not all charters are alike. These three spun off excellent schools. I like to compare New York to Chicago, which leaned toward ...


The indefatigable PBS reporter has an interesting piece here about Ritalin, conflicts of interest between drug companies and parent groups and much, much more. The piece points out that the United States consumes five times as much ADD medicines as the rest of the planet. And guess who's taking those meds: four times as many boys as girls....


Okay, for anyone following state test scores over the past several years, you already knew that. But it comes at a good time -- just when the White House is announcing a $250 million STEM initiative. But, here you have it from the American Psychological Association. Take that, Larry Summers. Actually, Summers wouldn't dispute these findings. He was talking about the outer fringe of the talented and untalented. From their press release: WASHINGTON - Girls around the world are not worse at math than boys, even though boys are more confident in their math abilities, and girls from countries where ...


...What does that mean? Answering that question is the cover story of the Economist this week. The magazine has a great collection of essays and articles. Most of the commentary is focused exactly where it should be -- on accommodating women in the workforce with improved childcare, maternity leave, etc. As for their explanation of this development: The feminisation of the workforce has been driven by the relentless rise of the service sector (where women can compete as well as men) and the equally relentless decline of manufacturing (where they could not). True enough. In the United States, as many ...


On the surface, that's a logical response, and this column by Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post lays out the argument for recruiting more men for the classroom. The decline in educational aspirations among boys seen over the last two decades -- responsible for the fact that nearly 58 percent of bachelor's degrees and 62 percent of associate's degrees now go to women -- coincides with the decline in the number of males teaching. From the column: Men Teach, a non-profit organization that encourages men to enter teaching, reports that in 2008, 18.8% of all elementary and middle school ...


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