February 2010 Archives

Dating Out is what black women call dating someone out of their race, as laid out in this Washington Post article. For black women looking to marry someone equally educated, that's an option that has to be considered. In urban areas such as Washington, there are three times as many college educated black women as men. The math is simple. The math is also becoming simple for white women. With 62 percent of associate's degrees and 57 percent of bachelor's degrees going to women, where are educated white women going to find suitable mates? By "marrying down," so to speak, ...


Feminists have opposed single-sex education from the beginning. Here's a taste of their legal arguments surrounding the ongoing lawsuit in Louisiana. My favorite phony argument is pointing to the federal survey of all single-sex programs, which concluded that on average they work no better than coed classes. That's like the federal survey of charter schools the unions always embraced that showed the same -- on average, they work no better than traditional schools. True, but what about the roughly 300 elite charters, ranging from Uncommon Schools to KIPP, that daily hit home runs for inner city kids who never had ...


The President has a set a goal of having the world's most educated workforce by 2020, as measured by OECD standards of those holding at least a two-year degree. The recession, however, is cutting into progress toward that goal. But, there's another way to meet that goal: Focus on the population that's causing our poor showing on that education standard -- men. Currently, 62 percent of those earning associate degrees are men. Wouldn't it make sense to place efforts there? That won't happen, however, unless Obama decides to take on some women's advocacy groups that won't want to see attention ...


UC San Diego is doing what more colleges and universities should be doing to boost the numbers of women going into math and science fields. Having universities mostly populated by women -- with only 20 percent of some STEM majors female -- is unacceptable, from a national economic perspective....


This commentary I wrote for USA Today about a new theme emerging in country songs -- that educated ladies can't resist country boys -- may suggest to some that I'm hostile to country music. Not at all. I know about these videos because CMT is what I watch when I'm on the elliptical. But there's something going on with the sons of white working class families that's not encouraging -- and mostly hidden, the result of school accountability systems that ignore them....


This University of Texas program designed to lure more middle school girls into pursuing STEM subjects sounds great. It's exactly what needs to be done, especially if college gender balances favoring women continue into the future. We need far more women sticking with science/math majors and entering those careers. So why is it so hard for schools to realize they need to do something comparable for boys in literacy skills? The world has gotten more verbal; boys haven't. That's the core of the "boy troubles," and yet other than single sex education schools seem reluctant to craft interventions to ...


I say they do. Like it not, college is the new high school. Nearly all decent-paying jobs require some study after high school. And yet there are many out there who disagree, making the argument: Do we really need more degreed hamburger flippers? This National Review writer takes exception to the recent piece I wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education and argues that Obama is wrong to set higher college attainment as a goal....


Why, asks the campus reporter, do these gender gaps exist? What strikes me is how little the education professors there have even thought about the question. Their speculations weren't rooted in the reality that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. That's because there's no real national research to guide anyone on this issue. Yesterday, a book reviewer from The Washington Times suggested that my call for the DOE to step in with national research was a sign I had been in Washington too long. Perhaps, but I saw a federal investigation in Australia trigger some productive changes. Until U.S. ...


Veteran Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews leads an interesting online discussion about what should be the primary factor for college admission, grades vs. the SAT or ACT. On the surface, colleges are pretty clear about that question. Good grades earned from taking challenging courses top the list of any college. Test scores, they say, rank second or even third. Personally, I'm skeptical that test scores rank that low, but we need to take them at their word. For males, this is nothing but bad news. GPA is boys' biggest weakness. That's why many colleges end up dipping deeper into ...


Brooks does a nice job weaving together all the reports on this issue. I wish he could have gotten into why boys are falling behind. Perhaps a future column....


The book: Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do). Described in this article, the authors encourage parents to let their children play with fire, etc. Sounds like my childhood, only my parents didn't know about it....


Okay, maybe the commentary here saying that women dominating the news business has altered coverage is thin, but it's early in the process. Expect more on this topic in the coming years. I come from the MSM newspaper business, and I've seen it become more feminized every year. My book, Why Boys Fail, includes a section profiling the ABC News Washington bureau chief, a pioneer in her field, watching over the years as women came to dominate most of the roles except for on-air, where the viewer-perception is that the genders are equally balanced. At local stations, the gender imbalances ...


That's the name of this unique resource partially sponsored by the International Reading Association. I often get questions from parents looking for help with encouraging their sons to read. This is the kind of site I like to recommend. This debate in the New York Times about schools letting libraries go is interesting, but falls short in one regard: What is the impact of online reading? I've been a consumer of research on this issue -- Is reading and writing online a major contributor to the literacy problems we're seeing among boys? -- and have yet to see anything conclusive. ...


....born to a highly educated white woman ... that's my take-away from this Times profile of Lori Gottlieb, author of "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough."...


In Australia, some commentators are linking the disappearance of male teachers to a rise in crime. In viewing the male teacher issue it's important to keep two things separate: Do boys do better academically under a male teacher? And, do boys need a male teacher as a role model? My reporting indicates no to the first question, yes to the second....


Given that the U.S. Department of Education has nothing to offer schools on how to design successful single-sex classrooms, these anecdotal observations are worth noting. This from the Tampa Tribune....


Thanks to reader Scott Steinbrecker for pointing out this Atlantic piece on the changing economic relationships between men and women. Once again, the focus is on the economy, rather than education gender gaps -- the factor I believe will propel this development into the future....


The Washington Post today has a good feature today on how the "man-cession" is affecting families, leaving fewer women with the option of staying home and making more women the sole breadwinners. What the story doesn't get at is the factor that will give this trend legs into the future -- the unbalanced gender education story. Put simply, women are becoming far more employable regardless of economic conditions....


Gawker serves as the vehicle for the complaints from some of the students quoted in the Times story about the dating dilemma on campuses where the female population reaches 60 percent. I blogged on that and linked my reporting on the situation, based on a visit to Virginia's James Madison University. This is tricky reporting territory. Recently, I wrote a commentary on the "marriageable mate" issue for The Wall Street Journal and the woman I profiled reported getting some horrible comments posted about her. As for the Times piece, if anything I thought it was mild. Something really unhealthy is ...


While researching my book I spent a couple of days at California State University in Fullerton, in the exurbs of Los Angeles. This huge university, which draws mostly commuter students from families with little college-going experience, serves as a bellwether -- reflecting the racial and ethnic mix of the future. On graduation day at Cal State campuses -- the biggest university system in the country with 450,000 students -- there are two women for every man. And Fullerton is no exception. What was especially interesting to me was the vastly better graduation rate of the women there. Not only ...


Kathleen Parker has a great column in today's Washington Post about when men feel most purposeful. It reminds me of my conversations with Tom Mortenson, the guru of the gender gap issue. Mortenson has a stark view of men. Their purpose in life is simple: Work. Grunt work, is okay. Any kind of work. Take work away from men, and they're lost. Parker, author of Save the Males, reminds us of the stressful days ahead as less-educated males try to cope with an economy turning against them....


This Q&A with me appears in today's paper....


This commentary I wrote for today's Chronicle of Higher Education fleshes out a little-known offshoot of the boy troubles found in many high-poverty high schools -- the ninth grade "bulge." That's where boys passed along in the early grades (regardless of how well they absorbed the material) run smack into ninth grade, the first year of a college-prep curriculum. They're not ready and are therefore told to repeat ninth grade. Thus, the ninth grade bulge, where boys greatly outnumber girls. No one should be surprised that many don't make it beyond ninth grade, which explains why in many school districts ...


The marriageable mate dilemma is likely to be the enduring impact of educational inequities. It's a simple math problem: 62 percent of those earning associate's degrees and 57 percent of those receiving bachelor's degrees are female. If women are looking for an equally educated mate, some are going to come up short. In today's Washington Post Lori Gottlieb tackles the question once again: Here comes another Valentine's Day, and oh, how I wish I could spend it with a husband. Not an Adonis with the humor of Jon Stewart and the bank account of Bill Gates; just a good-enough guy. ...


When campuses approach 60 percent female, the dating scene gets out of kilter, and not in a healthy way. In this Styles piece, the Times puts a cute face on it. But as described in this Chronicle of Higher Education piece in 2008, written after visiting James Madison University, there's nothing cute about it. Avoiding this situation is why colleges are willing to practice affirmative action for white males. What's playing out, as described in this recent commentary in The Wall Street Journal, is a triggering of what scientists call the operational sex ratio. Studied more in the animal than ...


Economists have been saying this for months, but the government has made it official, as described in this New York Times article. From the article: As in previous recessions, male workers have borne the brunt of the job losses in the last two years. Since the recession began in December 2007, men have lost 7.4 million jobs on net, whereas women have lost 3.9 million jobs. In other words, both sexes are worse off than they were before the downturn, but men have suffered more. The types of jobs held by men and women help explain the shift. ...


Washington Post education columnist Valerie Strauss hosts a column by University of Virginia professor Daniel Willingham, someone I always go out of my way to read. Something isn't working in the way we teach reading, especially with boys....


Time to put down markers on the reauthorization of NCLB. That law, detested by most teachers and principals, opened up schools for (nearly) full data inspection. Schools were held accountable along the lines of race, ethnicity and income. At one point, this Times editorial appears to suggest that gender was part of that accountability package. Unfortunately, not so. Schools are required to collect numbers on gender, but they didn't have to do anything with the numbers. Naturally, the gender numbers become an obscure afterthought. That's unfortunate, because careful school researchers in places such as Chicago are discovering the "genderization of ...


The book is starting to draw some serious interest, which may lead to the issue drawing some serious interest among educators. In this country, that would be a first. Some of attention includes: -- An appearance on Fox & Friends. -- A profile by Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss. -- An appearance on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show. -- A profile in the St. Louis Beacon....


Canada may be the latest country to leave the U.S. behind in searching for a solution to the boy troubles. School gender gaps there are every bit as stark as those found in this country, but public officials seem more open to addressing them. It all started with the president of the University of Alberta suggesting the university (and all of Canada, actually) needed to examine the campus gender gaps. That didn't go so well, as I wrote in Inside Higher Education. And now officials in nearby Calgary are taking a look at what they might do differently. Unlike ...


Until some flush foundation ponies up the cash to send on a worldwide fact finding trip about gender gaps, I'll rely on the google siphon to deliver my international findings. This from Jamaica....


If colleges can start up football programs for the sole purpose of attracting more guys, why shouldn't churches sponsor ultimate fighting bouts to accomplish the same? Sounds like a good idea to the faithful profiled in this New York Times story. After all, Jesus Christ was a fighter, pointed out one minister. From the article: The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility. "The man should be the overall leader of ...


That's what I hear from boys, who in many cases do their homework but never bother turning it in. Sometimes they forget; other times they just think it's cooler to not turn it in. Now there's a new book about straightening out the disorganized lives of boys, That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week. Great title. Here's the book description on Amazon: Missed assignments. Lack of focus and enthusiasm. Falling grades. For too many boys and their frustrated parents, these are the facts of life. But they don't have to be. Top academic counselor Ana Homayoun has helped turn even ...


The publication sums up Judith Kleinfeld's latest paper and offers some useful links to other gender gap issues....


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