March 2010 Archives

Lise Eliot and I look for it in this Education Week commentary....


I consider this one of the least reported-on aspects of the boy troubles. Here's my piece in USA Today. The Telegraph offers some insights from England, where the problems of working class boys are a prominent issue....


Thoughtful piece in Inside Higher Education....


A live Web conference is set for April 7 to launch male studies programs. From the press release: A gathering of academicians drawn from a range of disciplines will meet on April 7, 2010, at Wagner College, Staten Island, New York, to examine the declining state of the male, stemming from cataclysmic changes in today's culture, environment and global economy. The live teleconferenced colloquium will be chaired by Lionel Tiger, PhD, Rutgers University Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology. It will encompass a broad range of topics relevant to the study of boys and men in contemporary society ranging from their ...


Yesterday, after his column on boys was published in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof opened up his blog on the issue, explaining why he decided to write about boys. He also invited comments from readers....


The most valuable discussion about gender gaps continues to arise from Australia. Here's a discussion from the Sydney Morning Herald that includes some valuable research links. Also interesting is the debate about single-sex education. Based on nothing more than anecdotal hunch, I've long suspected that single-sex education benefits girls more than boys. I find I'm not alone. Interesting irony at play here: single-sex education, to date, is the only "solution" to the boy troubles being offered by educators....


In the Chronicle, a former Education Department official takes issue with the recent AAUW report about the shortage of women in math and science majors and careers....


Using my book and the recent Center on Education Policy report as springboards, The New York Times columnist takes a look at the boy troubles and settles on the literacy issue as the major trigger. What strikes me is the range of responses I've gotten from the book. Fox & Friends wanted to talk about it, as did Kristof, who is better known for championing girls worldwide. George Stephanopoulos wanted me on Good Morning America; Michael Medved wanted me on his radio show. All this means that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has the political cover to engage this controversial issue and ...


...is found in South Carolina. This newsletter from David Chadwell is one-stop shopping on the issue....


ABDO interviews me about the reading (and non-reading) habits of boys....


The New York tabloid takes on the marriageable mate dilemma....


National experts lay out their worries -- the world has become more literacy focused and U.S. students, especially boys, aren't keeping up. Here's an example of a Connecticut reporter examining the numbers in that state. The key gender figure: In eighth grade, 48 percent of girls in Connecticut met the proficiency standard, compared with 37 percent of boys....


What makes them succeed? That's the topic of this study from MDRC....


Bottom line: No gender gap changes worth noting. Which means a continuation of the status quo -- more girls than boys succeeding in this verbal-intensive world, where even math problems are expressed as word problems....


It's easy to find family formation experts who predict that the wide education gap between men and women will not affect marriage rates among whites, as it has among blacks. Given the sharp increase in the use of sperm banks among unmarried, college-educated white women, I'm skeptical of that optimism. But a lot rides on this. I consider the "marriageable mate" dilemma the most important impact of the education gender gaps. Here's a new study summarized in the New York Times that explains the low marriage rate among black women....


The nation's pioneer in expanding single-sex options for parents, South Carolina, is pulling back due to budget cuts. Nearly 60 schools had to withdraw their offerings, the result of teacher layoffs. That's down from a peak of 220 schools offering the single-sex option. In my book, I profile a boys school in New York that's clearly working -- it's the highest performing public school at that grade level. Single-sex education can be effective, but it's not the only option for dealing with the boy troubles. And the fact that it's a more expensive option makes it an unreliable solution (that, ...


Failure to launch, a phenomenon accelerated by the recession, happens to far more men than women....


Collecting research on what will lure more women into STEM majors and careers -- an economic necessity created by campus gender gaps. If only the AAUW were more open to investigating the causes of those gender gaps in the K-12 years....


...and discovers what a lot of families already know too well -- the girls are succeeding in school, the boys ... not so much. Imagine the day when thousands of AAUW moms, many of them mothers of sons struggling in schools or mothers of daughters who can't find a similarly educated mate to marry, discover that the AAUW has spent years fighting the reality that gender gaps are a separate phenomenon from race gaps....


Valerie Strauss writes about a Playstation II study comparing boys who did, and didn't, receive the game. Guess which group fared better in school? I know, I know ... the games aren't good for anyone, and far more boys than girls get hooked on them. Still, I keep running across this: Which came first, the disaffection from school or the affection for video games?...


In my book I profile a KIPP charter school in Washington that admits inner city boys who are far behind the girls (not to mention the rest of the nation) in literacy and in three years turns out both girls and boys reading at the same proficiency. Lesson learned: You don't have to separate the sexes to do justice for the boys. This attempt in Baltimore to cripple a successful KIPP school there has been muted -- a big development....


Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education about an op-ed I wrote that appeared in the Dallas Morning News -- a reprint of what appeared originally in the Chronicle. Make sense? Probably not, but Bauerlein is always worth reading (especially when he agrees with me!)....


Betcha don't. Here's a news flash: Most of the college graduation gender gap between Hispanics and whites is due to the lapses by Hispanic males. Hispanic women graduate at roughly the same rate as white males. Take a look at this AEI Rising to the Challenge Report. Graphic confusing? Read the text at the bottom of page 11. Wait, didn't Kevin Carey discover something similiar about black females and white males? Wait again! Carey is an author on the Hispanic report as well. That guy is everywhere!...


Reading expert William Brozo has updated his book, To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader, and it will be available in April. During my book research I leaned on Brozo for advice on reading instruction. There is no reason, he told me, why boys should not catch up with girls in literacy skills by fourth or fifth grades. Except they're not. Portions of the press release from the International Reading Association: New IRA book provides solutions for easing the male-female performance gap NEWARK, DELAWARE, USA--According to a new study from the Center on Educational Policy that analyzed state test ...


The report from the Center on Education Policy should set the data foundation for future discussions. The conventional wisdom about girls doing better in reading while boys excel at math needs to be set aside to make room for the new reality, of girls and boys performing the same in math while boys lag badly in reading skills. Another myth that needs to be set aside -- that the gender gaps are really racial gaps. Open up the 50-state profiles and proceed directly to nearly all-white Maine, where you'll find reading gaps as wide as you'll see in any state. ...


This columnist in the Guardian lays out the argument that the absence of black fathers is the trigger behind the dramatic problems black boys are experiencing in school....


Temple University Professor Steven Zelnick lays out the theory that a coarsened culture has stripped young men of inspiration. Who could argue that popular culture has not become coarsened? And that has to hurt boys. My focus, however, remains on academics. In my book I profile schools that succeed with young boys growing up in poverty -- and a coarsened culture....


Wednesday, the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy releases its 50-state report on how boys/girls are faring on state tests. The state tests, which are given every year to all students in certain subjects, have to be considered the gold standard of gender gap snapshot measurements. The results will surprise you. As guest blogger for The Answer Sheet, Valerie Strauss's blog in The Washington Post, I offer my take on what this report means. To get the full impact of the significance of this report, I advise twinning it with the survey just released by MetLife on male/female academic ...


That's the cover from the Mr. 6-12 Economist, which continues to turn in great global reporting. Sex selection in China and India has produced gender imbalances that are far more dramatic than anything seen in this country (our closest: the gender imbalances among college-educated African Americans). But the basic lessons are similar, and worth watching. Just take this one sidebar, about the lonely bachelors in India. The lessons come in the shifts in social mores needed to adjust to the lack of brides....


Take a look at this graphic (right) from MetLife's latest education survey. One-stop shopping for laying out the problem....


Black college students majoring in the sciences are more likely to persist in their studies if they have black instructors, according to this study. But women who had female instructors were no more likely to persist....


This from a study of upstate New York high schools....


In my travels for the book research I was repeatedly told about male students not volunteering for campus activities. In short, they just weren't as engaged as the women. The Chronicle today has a good article about how to reverse that. (password protected)...


When appearing on the Michael Medved radio show to discuss Why Boys Fail I encouraged parents to let boys read what they want to read. I listed the Captain Underpants series as an example of books that boys, not teachers, may love. One alert listener (and book importer) urged me to take a look at the Horrible series of books -- British humor aimed at the level of boys....


Center for American Progress releases a report on the policy changes needed by the surge in the numbers of working women. Today, women make up half the workforce. In two thirds of all families, women are either the primary or co-breadwinners. Traditional families, those with the man as the only breadwinner, make up only a fifth of all families, the authors explained in a call to reporters yesterday. Those changes, they argue in the report, bring about the need for increased family and medical leave protections, support for elder-care and workplace flexibility provisions....


At Urban Prep, every senior in the school's first graduating class has been accepted into a four-year college. Although the magnitude of the success can't be judged absent a profile of the entering students, the article points to two striking facts: The school is only two years old and only four percent of the entering students read at grade level. The most successful school I saw during my book research was Excellence Boys Charter School in New York. Those students are several years away from applying for college, but I predict similar outcomes there. My question: Can elite charters in ...


The push to reinvigorate the DOE's Office of Civil Rights raises the question of whether DOE will update the traditional and somewhat dated boundaries of civil rights probes. True, minority students continue to emerge from K-12 schools far less prepared for college work than white students. But black and Latino women, compared to the men, are doing comparatively well. Will that gender disparity draw scrutiny? At the college level, women at many private four-year-colleges face higher admissions hurdles to gain admittance, the result of colleges reaching deeper into their applicant pools to find male students. That's discrimination. Will that get ...


Dur to the recession the number of men applying to be primary school teachers has soared by 50 percent, reports the Mail. If this is happening here, I haven't seen it reported....


In the schools I profile that are successful with boys, a common element of instruction is ensuring that math and science classes emphasize literacy skills. With that in mind I offer up this release from the International Reading Association: IRA Reading Radio Program Spotlights Presidential Award-Winning Teacher It's never too early to help young students learn to link literacy skills to content areas such as science. This month's installment of the International Reading Association's Reading Radio program features Jo Anne Deshon, an elementary teacher from Newark, Delaware, addressing "The Critical Link Between Literacy 2.0 and Excellence in Science." In ...


I could see conservatives re-embracing this issue as a political issue. Frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't popped up among the Tea Party set. Here's an Obama budget analysis along gender fault lines, as seen by conservatives....


In this letter to Edweek AAUW executive director Linda Hallman takes issue with this recent posting I wrote, claiming I'm promoting "gender wars." Actually, you won't see "gender wars" in any of my writing. There's no war -- just the reality of boys lagging in school at a time when men and women have equal needs for post-high school degrees. And yet here are the numbers: 62 percent of associate's degrees and 57 percent of bachelor's degrees go to women. This issue has little to do with women; these are failings by educators whose job it is to prepare and ...


Will tops his screed against blue jeans with this one about immature girly boys. When reading the last half of this column, I think it helps to hum: Gee, Officer Krupke, we're very upset; We never had the love that ev'ry child oughta get. We ain't no delinquents, We're misunderstood. Deep down inside us there is good! I mean, we all know the world would be a better place if everyone donned a bow tie and voted Republican. No argument there....


Many of us, including me, hoped out loud that President Obama would use his position to tackle the school gender gaps -- at the very least, the steep gender gaps revealed among African American boys. As his recent speech on dropout prevention reveals, however, that's unlikely to happen. Here was an opportunity to point out that 32 percent of males drop out of high school, compared to 25 percent of females. He could have mentioned that 52 percent of black males drop out, compared to 39 percent of black females. Obama could have mentioned that men who enter college are ...


After four years of studying the boys problem I still haven't reached a conclusion on the impact new technologies have on literacy. Conventional wisdom suggests the influence is negative. I'm undecided, but I did note this press release from the International Reading Association: New IRA book provides strategies for "remixing" best practices and new literacies NEWARK, DELAWARE, USA--To be literate in today's society full of Tweeting, blogging, YouTubing, texting, and downloading means constantly developing new literacy skills. But how can a middle or high school classroom teacher--who may not be as up-to-speed with new technologies as her 13-year-old students--connect the ...


This article from Beaver Dam, Wis., (love the name) is typical of what I see in news coverage: We like what we see from our single-sex experiment...no improvement in test scores, but we like what we see. What does that mean? This is why the federal Department of Education needs to step in to evaluate the grand experiment it launched three years ago. Is this really working, and if so, what makes it work?...


Interesting idea from Copenhagen....


Girls, by contrast, choose far more sophisticated literature, according to this British study of reading habits. In Britain, Australia and other countries, educators are trying to solve the literacy gender issue. This study pinpoints the ages 13-16 as the time when the gaps are most pronounced. In the United States, the reading gender gaps are just as wide, but the issue is ignored. And then college admissions officers scratch their heads and wonder where all the boys have gone....


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