July 2010 Archives

Interesting look at the marriageable mate dilemma from the perspective of children conceived courtesy of sperm banks, an option increasingly chosen by middle class women with college degrees. For many, the reason for seeking out sperm banks is they can't find similarly educated/successful male mates. What are the outcomes for these children?...


His defense of Race to the Top here in the Times lays out the stark numbers behind the need to get an education beyond high school -- something far more males should be doing. From Obama's speech to the National Urban League: "It's an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who've never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have," Mr. Obama said, according to prepared remarks. "It's an economic issue when eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade. It's an ...


...and start talking about outcomes. Take this commentary from California. Let's get down to basics. On graduation day In California two of every three students walking across the podium to receive diplomas from California State University are female. There's nothing unclear or iffy about that. There are no economic rationales that explain this gender gap. Men need those diplomas as much as women. They just aren't earning them....


I'll be pleasantly surprised, but still surprised, if this high profile collaboration dips into the gender gaps, which among African Americans are astonishingly high: MSNBC AND EBONY MAGAZINE PARTNERSHIP TO TAKE ON EDUCATION ISSUES IN AUGUST NEW YORK--July 28, 2010--MSNBC and Ebony Magazine are partnering up in August to put education issues in the forefront of the nation's spotlight. Beginning August 9, MSNBC will feature twice-daily segments focusing on a variety of pertinent education issues, including the central challenges facing our public school systems today, the benefits of charter schools versus traditional public schools and how to improve the quality ...


Interesting take from a University of North Carolina sociologist who argues that women will not be dissuaded from marrying a man who earns (slightly) less. After all, women are better educated. Perhaps, but the real question is whether college-educated women will men lacking a college degree. That's the marriageable mate dilemma, which is a different issue from salaries....


This from Dropout Nation, which continues to do great work on the issues that have set boys, especially urban boys, so far back in reading skills....


Nice column in the Chronicle of Higher Education lends insight into why women may be reluctant to enter the competitive sciences field....


Women are now beating the men in Navy awards....


The New York Times runs a piece on the College Board report on the U.S. slipping in world education rankings and neglects to mention the biggest player -- men. If the United States were to correct its gender imbalance, with 62 percent of the associate's degrees (the usual measure of international rankings) going to women, the country could regain its top rankings. True, other countries such as Canada also have steep gender imbalances, but if you're looking for a tactic to get quick gains, look to boosting college enrollment and graduation rates among males....


...as in, what's actually happening on the ground, where parents showing up for graduation/honors ceremonies can't help but notice: what happened to the boys? This column from New Jersey adds to the collection....


The End of Men? Not quite, concludes the New York Times columnist today, who nicely cites Why Boys Fail. From the column: My hunch is that we're moving into greater gender balance, not a fundamentally new imbalance in the other direction. Don't hold your breath for "the end of men." One reason is that women's gains still have a catch-up quality to them. Catch-up is easier than forging ahead. Moreover, the differences in educational performance are real but modest. In math, boys and girls are about equal. In verbal skills, 79 percent of elementary schoolgirls can read at a level ...


Possibly, as discussed in this Associated Press article exploring the kind of reading material that appeals to boys and might help close the gender reading gaps. I usually cite the Captain Underpants series of books as an example of what boys like but teachers spurn. Hey, I've even open to using comic books...er, make that graphic novels....


This time in Arkansas. At least from an anecdotal reading of these experiments (there's no research I'm aware of) the best use of single-sex schools (that make use of boy-brain theories and draw male teachers) is in urban areas....


Here's how they handle the dilemma Illinois style....


Actually, nobody knows for sure because the research is so poor and you can't really compare private schools to the public experiments now taking place. But to date, single-sex schools have emerged as the only "solution" to the gender gaps. Here's the debate in Pittsburgh. I have to credit Leonard Sax for being realistic about the single-sex option....


As I've written before, including in this USA commentary, the gender gaps few notice involve white boys from working class families. Today, a New York Times columnist writes about why few of these students end up in selective colleges. While the piece doesn't break out numbers out by gender, I know from other indicators that the gender gaps within this group are steep....


That's the headline atop an interesting New York Times discussion about why women are more hesitant than men in taking risks in business and technology -- an important topic considering the gender imbalances on campuses. With no leveling of those graduation gaps forecast in the near, or even distant, future, it's important to steer more women into strategically important fields. I take issue with the observation that girls begin to fade in STEM courses in middle school. My reading of the Advanced Placement data indicates that high schools are doing great job educating young women in the sciences. It's what ...


Just consider the headline atop this story from England, passed along by Greg Toppo: 'The boys aren't good enough': Headteacher appoints two head girls as boys fail to make the grade The story is even sadder, as seen in the top graphs: The accolade of being chosen as head boy or girl is often the proudest moment of a pupil's young life. But one mixed comprehensive has dispensed with its tradition of having one of each - because the boys are not up to scratch. For the first time since it was founded in 1959, Acle High School in Great ...


Okay, that may distort Nicholas Carr's book a bit. You decide, by reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. It's an important question, because if we're going to turn around the literacy deficits we see in boys we need to know if Internet-based strategies can be players -- or, if they will only make things worse....


Not that it will do much good to Larry Summers now, but Duke researchers make the same point that got him in so much trouble....


Ben Wildavsky, author of the The Great Brain Race, put in a lot of years at U.S. News, a magazine that has invested some good research into college gender gaps. Now, Wildavsky notes the international aspect of the gender gaps. An explanation for women faring better in college: one reason women have been outpacing men in earning degrees is their superior "noncognitive abilities" -- that is, as the authors spell out in their earlier paper, the ability to stay organized, prepare for exams, pay attention to their instructors, and so forth....


The Arizona Men's Christian Basketball Association will be delivered back-to-school backpacks to single parent families with young boys....


A new take on unemployment numbers, with a flash or two of ideology, from Mensnewsdaily.com....


...and the downsides of the Internet, as reported in a column by David Brooks. After four years of considering the "blame" that must be assigned to video games games, etc., I'm still undecided. For now, I'll embrace the power of the books and punt on the Internet-as-villain theory....


This piece in The New York Times shows much smaller wage gaps among younger women. A result of women becoming better educated and choosing more aggressive career paths or women gaining added legal protections against discrimination? My assumption is that the former explains most of it. This is relevant to the boy troubles because the national feminist groups resist school interventions aimed at boys by arguing that women still face pay discrimination. I realize there's no logical connection there; the issues are entirely separate. But in the real world of policy, that "logic" is a player....


Failure to adapt to an abnormal environment is why one in eight boys ends up with the diagnosis, argues psychology professor Peter Gray in Psychology Today. How convenient that we have this official way of diagnosing kids who don't sit still in their seats, often fail to pay attention to the teacher, don't regularly do the assignments given to them, often speak out of turn, and blurt out answers before the questions are finished. They used to be called "naughty"--sometimes with a frown, sometimes with a smile of recognition that "kids will be kids" or "boys will be boys"--but...


More on the diminishing fortunes of men in Newsweek: American women are already the breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two thirds of American households; in the European Union, women filled 75 percent of the 8 million new jobs created since 2000. Even with the pay gap factored into the equation, economists predict that by 2024, the average woman in the U.S. and a number of rich European countries will outearn the average man. And she'll be spending that money: as a new book on female economic power, Influence, points out, American women are responsible for 83 percent of all consumer ...


That's explored in this Independent commentary, which considers both Hanna Rosin's Atlantic cover story and the recent revelations about gender gaps in England among college graduates....


Vietnam joins the experiment....


I'm not fond of video games and recognize the harm they can cause. But I'm skeptical that video games play the villain role in the boy troubles. Interesting discussion of that in England where there's fresh debate on the gender gaps resulting from surveys showing that male college graduates aren't faring as well as their female counterparts. And, to add to the discussion, we have the always insightful Dan Willingham writing in the Post about whether technology has shaped the way we learn....


Hadn't run across this one before -- among university graduates there are gender lines regarding who's getting work, with the lazier males falling behind the women. Still, when men land work their pay is higher....


The argument from feminists is that we shouldn't worry about underachieving boys when the world's elite, especially the risk taking entrepreneurs, are nearly all men. On one level, they're right. Those are the very top, from mathematicians to capitalists, are almost uniformly male. Was Larry Summers right? To me, there are two issues here. The first: why are men more likely to pursue STEM careers and take entrepreneurial risks? Seems like we have to encourage more well educated women to do the same. This Washington Post op-ed gets at that. The gender gap issues I write about, by contrast, involve ...


I remain baffled by the persistent argument that college isn't that necessary -- an argument always made by someone who made sure his sons graduated from a superb college. This New York Times article lays it out: here's the current state of manufacturing jobs that are available....


A sample from her article in The American, a publication of the American Enterprise Institute: Pre-kindergarten boys with mental abilities three or four standard deviations above the mean have astonishing talents. But as Terry Neu, an expert on gifted boys, told me, sitting still for an extended period of time is not one of them. The capacity to remain seated for a long test does not reliably measure brilliance, but requiring pre-K children to do it is a sure way of securing more places for girls than boys in a gifted program....


Good piece in Newsweek on boosting the number of women pursuing STEM studies and careers -- a goal that rises in importance as women continue to dominate colleges and universities. The debate about this is fascinating, and I don't pretend to have any solutions. After following this issue for several years, however, I remain wary of any legislative solutions. That's why the lede anecdote bothers me: I just don't buy into the argument from feminists that a massive conspiracy led by sexist STEM professors is at fault. That aside, the need for action is clear, and I agree with this ...


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