April 2010 Archives

Washingtonian Magazine wrote about it (sorry, no link available) and then This Week In Education. Anyone who has read Why Boys Fail already knows DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee wrote a meaty, thoughtful foreword for the book. She gets that the gender gaps are important -- as any urban schools head should. Unfortunately, most superintendents are still rooted in the unbending race/poverty NCLB formula. That formula is their universe. Understandable, but that simplistic formula, which ignores gender, will never completely break them out of the racial learning gaps they are charged with eliminating. Can't blame them. The U.S. ...


When one of the top education writers in the country takes the time to read and review your book, you pay attention. Here's Jay Mathews from today's Washington Post. Jay makes some good points -- there are some aspects to a KIPP education that are especially boy friendly. He should know. Jay wrote the book on Kipp, Work Hard. Be Nice. It's also good that he raises the issue of older (beyond traditional college age) women returning to college at greater rates than older men. I looked into that; it's definitely true, but at the gender-skewed colleges I visited older ...


As a reader points out, Obama's fatherhood program -- the topic of one of my postings yesterday -- extends beyond the black community, as laid out in this Christian Science Monitor article. Still, when it comes to dealing with the problems boys are having in school, launching fatherhood initiatives amounts to a toe-in-the-water approach. Politically safe, yes. Feel-good politics, yes. Something that will make a dent in the problem? Not likely....


Central Falls High School, the academically troubled Rhode Island school in the news because of threats to replace its entire staff and start anew, has great sports teams. In my latest writing project I'm profiling an inner city high school where the athletic fields and gyms are worth more than the high school itself. Apparently, the athletic successes at this high school served to mask the absolute academic failures. Everyone, including the parents, seemed okay with that....


Pretty much everything you need about the issue can be found in David Chadwell's newsletter....


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICIALS AND WHITE HOUSE STAFF ADVANCE PRESIDENT'S FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE AT UPCOMING FORUM IN LITTLE ROCK U.S. Department of Education officials Peter Groff, director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and John Wilson, Jr., Executive director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities will join with White House staff next week in Little Rock, Ark. to advance President Barack Obama's fatherhood initiative. The White House Forum on Responsible Fatherhood will bring together experts, practitioners, and fathers from Arkansas and across the country. The forum will be held at Arkansas Baptist College ...


Finally, the "pushback movement" -- those who scoff at the idea that boys are faring badly in school -- has an answer for the steep verbal score gaps recently reported by the Center for Education Policy. Actually, the answer from these leading feminist academics -- Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett, both of whom I once debated -- is a little difficult to understand. You'll have to read it yourself. Roughly translated, I think their argument is: 1. The gaps are minor. 2. If # 1 isn't true, then serious gaps exist only among minority boys. 3. If #1 and #2 fail ...


The Academy of Game Design and Development....


From The Wall Street Journal. Thanks to Scott Steinbrecher for spotting this one....


Start a Real Men Read chapter in a local school....


Based on my travels, this is the kind of teaching that works with both boys and girls. Here's a schoolwide example of teaching that works: teach, assess, teach, assess. That's what I found working in the Broad Prize schools I toured....


Reading this AP article about South Koreans -- you'll never guess the gender of the addicts cited -- is sobering. Still, I think of all the parents who told me their sons first became discouraged by school, then became addicted to video games......


Pedro Noguera was the keynote speaker at this Catalyst-sponsored conference. No one has an exact answer for why schools are failing black and Latino males, he said: The way we socialize boys might be implicated in this," Noguera said. "The women's movement was very clear that what we have to fight against is the narrowness of gender roles... (but) there has been no corresponding movement among men. Noguera also said the problem will not be easy to fix. "Let's not pretend that if we create one more mentoring program, we're going to solve this," Noguera said....


Applause all around for the administration for its decision to return to truer accounting on Title IX. It's an opportunity to quit pretending what this issue is all about. Many of these universities are in trouble with athletics not because they offer unequal athletic programs but because their offerings don't match the gender balance -- or imbalance -- that exists on the campus. If a college is 60 percent female, then 60 percent of the athletic offerings should be geared toward women. At some point, and it appears that point has not yet arrived, someone in the administration will need ...


This article from the Associated Press lays out the numbers. Census is usually a bit behind in the numbers -- this has been known for some time. What's interesting is the argument from NOW. Women flock to college because of pay discrimination? That's a new explanation for the campus gender imbalances, and one worthy of a chuckle. If that were true, women should have dominated colleges forty years ago when there was actual pay discrimination. These days, when economists say gender pay differences are rooted in very different choices men and women make in majors and career paths, the campus ...


Interesting article in Scientific American suggesting that the fight-or-flight response to stress is primarily a male phenomenon. Women under stress tend to bond. When reading this I thought of the book research trip I took to Cal State Fullerton. Why did women there graduate at such higher rates than men? The observation from professors: women bonded. When the professors formed study groups to help the students cope with the new and stressful challenges of college (the students were mostly low-income and minority) the women flocked to them. The men went their own way -- and paid a price....


The 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys. Sounds interesting, and badly needed. One caveat: I think separating this issue by minority group is a tactical mistake. Making this a "black" issue is just what the pushback movement wants. That way, the boy troubles become nothing more than repackaged racial learning gap issues. But if that were true, black girls would be experiencing the same problems as black boys. They aren't. In truth, black and Latino boys have a lot in common with the sons of white, working class families. They are all slipping behind in academics and some of ...


That's how the boy problems in Canada are described in this article....


This column in the Denver Post by the wife of the former Colorado governor should be mandatory reading at NOW and the AAUW. The longer you deny the boy problem, the more you risk your base. There's a simple solution that won't set back the girls: do for boys in literacy what was done for the girls in math and science more than a decade ago....


Men and women of faith should step into this issue, for the exact reason laid out in this insightful column by the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A sample: Christian parents and all concerned with the coming generation should look closely at this phenomenon and ask the hard question -- why is it that so many young men are falling behind in educational attainment? What are we doing that allows or encourages boys to exit formal education at their earliest opportunity? Why do we accept at face value the fact that boys fall behind girls of the same ...


Probably for the same reason girls dominate school awards ceremonies. It will be interesting to see if a similar surge emerges among boys....


Here's the interesting thing about this research project I co-wrote for New America Foundation -- it should help men as much as women, and yet the program is mostly female. I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise. Women earn 62 percent of all associate's degrees. And yet, given the impact of the Great Recession, where 80 percent of the layoffs are male, you would think men would start getting the message. Actually, that may be happening, according to Inside Higher Education. Regardless, if Obama plans to meet his 2020 goal of boosting this country back into the top of ...


I never miss a column by Verlyn....


Always worth reading Allington on reading, here in Education Week. Again, it seems to come down to teacher quality and professional development. Too many teachers simply don't know how to teach reading. One resource he recommends: Peter Johnston's Choice Words....


I've never defended video games as good for boys. The question I continue to ask, however, is which came first, the dislike of school or the embrace of video games?...


That's the argument made here....


Interesting discussion in the Atlanta papers....


All that needs to happen, for Jack Jennings to get what he asks for, is for the same efforts to be made to boost boys' literacy that were made for girls regarding math and science. Seems simple enough. There's no evidence boys were hurt as more girls were steered into upper level math and science courses. Try explaining that to the AAUW, which still maintains the boy troubles are a mirage -- nothing more than repackaged race and income issues....


...when a Boys Inc. is formed. When I google "Boys Inc" I get stories about boys incontinence. I get the impression Girls Inc. is something more than that. The press release: CIVIL RIGHTS ASSISTANT SECRETARY TO ADDRESS GIRLS INC. 2010 NATIONAL CONFERENCE Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, will address the Girls Inc. 2010 National Conference's Promise Plenary session today at the Washington Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington. Girls Inc. is a national organization committed to empowering girls to succeed and using its mission to lead the way in ...


....and how to halt it for African American boys, in this journal article....


There are plenty of studies about the black gender gaps, but not that many efforts to do something about them that appear to be paying dividends. That's what makes the Call Me Mister program so important. The program is based at Clemson University and run by Roy Jones, who oversees a statewide recruitment program where young black men are given tuition help in exchange for a commitment to teach. On Saturday I had an opportunity to speak before the group and met nearly 200 young men who are either in college or currently teaching. Impressive, and worth imitating in other ...


The personal side to the black gender gap story, in Dropout Nation....


The Economist does a great job laying out the dilemma facing black women generated by incarceration rates, but oddly never considers the education angle. For middle class black women, that's a bigger driver. In cities such as Washington, college educated black women outnumber similarly educated black men by three to one....


Here's the news from the Washington leg of a multi-city experiment....


The stunning success of Chicago's Urban Prep, the all-boys charter school, says two things: There's hope out there for urban black boys and we may have found the most effective model for single-sex education. Oh, there's a third thing: The campaign by feminists to curb single-sex education won't gain traction. Try to imagine Arne Duncan shutting down Urban Prep....


In truth, the United States is only running in the middle of the pack....


The famed education critic -- and creator of the Core Knowledge Curriculum -- gets a Washington Post blog platform to lay out his theories about literacy lapses. I'm guessing he's right....


The famed education critic -- and creator of the Core Knowledge Curriculum -- gets a Washington Post blog platform to lay out his theories about literacy lapses. I'm guessing he's right....


Mark Sherman ruminating in Psychology Today....


That's the headline for this article in Inside Higher Education about this week's gathering....


Reading experts from Ohio and Kentucky weigh in....


Here's a reporter from the Elon University student newspaper 'examining' the boy troubles and finding them exaggerated. Not once, however, does the reporter look at her own university. Several years ago Elon university officials took at look at their expanding gender gap on campus and miraculously found a way to start re-balancing its student body. Favoring males in admissions (and thereby discriminating against females) is now under investigation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. (I was considering profiling Elon in my book.) If there are no boy problems, then why does Elon have to dig deeper into its ...


I don't usually pass along links to radio interviews, but this one gets interesting at the end. Here's a link to the interview that aired Monday on Southern California public radio, where I appear with Susan McGee Bailey, who wrote the original report from the American Association of University Women about why girls are getting shortchanged in school. I'm heartened to hear Bailey distance herself from the "pushback" movement that resists doing for boys with literacy what was done for the girls in math/science more than a decade ago. 'No boys were harmed' in the considerable effort made to ...


Basically, girls rule. But we already knew that....


The Chronicle of Higher Education (password access) publishes a good feature on boys from a Harlem mentoring program visiting colleges in the Washington area. Saving minority boys from tough neighborhoods should be an effort measured on the scale of a entire school district. Unfortunately, that's rare. I saw it happening on that scale in Long Beach, California, but after that the list gets short. I saw it happening on a school-by-school level, at charter schools, both co-ed and all-boys....


Interesting column in today's Chronicle of Higher Education about how economic changes affecting men more than women are changing expectations about marriage and child raising. (password access). The column draws on material in Kathleen Gerson's new book, The Unfinished Revolution....


Interesting gender gap statistics in this article....


Yes, it would help to have more women on Wall Street, as well as more women in politics and in STEM careers. With women dominating universities, it's important that more women pursue these careers....


This is a big story in England but generally an undiscovered one in this country. This Education Week story about rural "dropout factories" is excellent, except for ignoring the obvious gender angle. The data are there -- the main source for this article, researcher Thomas West, supplied some of the numbers for my commentary on the ninth grade bulges. West knows the gender numbers; you just have to ask him....


In truth, what makes the Title IX discussion so difficult is that in many cases it's about diminished number of men on campus. That makes the "equal" mandate painful to enforce, especially for colleges hoping to use athletics to draw more men to campuses. Catch 22. And yet, few want to confront that reality. I visited James Madison University shortly after an announcement that men's sports there were taking a big hit. That prompted demonstrations for and against Title IX, but not once did anyone point out the obvious: James Madison was struggling with the sports balancing because its campus ...


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