August 2010 Archives

An educator with an interest in boys tells me there's an updated version of Reading Magic, by Mem Fox, available, and it includes a chapter on boys and literacy....


In case you missed Will's Sunday column....


How do teachers unaccustomed to dealing with boys tell the difference?...


Nice analysis here with numbers on the astonishing shortage of black male teachers, compared to the school-age population of black males. I remain wary that dramatically boosting that number will turn the corner on improving the academic performance of black male students -- mostly because I've visited schools where white female teachers were doing a great job teaching inner city males. It's all about how you teach. However, having black male role models undoubtedly helps a lot when when it comes to improving graduation rates....


I'm inclined to agree with E.D. Hirsch (and Mark Bauerlein) in this Chronicle entry. (password protected.) The full argument by Hirsch and Robert Pondiscio is made in an American Prospect piece. It's why President Bush's massive Reading First program never soared -- educators never got beyond the "skill" stage....


School officials in Alexandria seem pleased by results....


Conservatives point fingers at poverty, bad schools and family breakdown for reasons why black males fare so poorly in school. But this writer, like everyone else, misses the key question: why do these factors affect boys far more then girls? The Schott Foundation report focuses on the race angle -- comparing white boys to black boys. That missed much of the point as well. If race (combined with and poverty, bad schools, family breakdown) is the primary driver, then why do twice as many black women as women earn four-year degrees? Obviously, this dilemma is a mix of race, poverty ...


Why do so many young people need college when so many jobs still don't require a college degree? That's an important issue in the gender debate, because if boys don't really need college why worry about the college gender gaps? Ace Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews airs the debate today. The four qualities employers need most, we're told, are "a work ethic, people skills, presentation skills and social responsibility." In theory you don't need college to possess those skills. But in practice, a college degree is what employers look for as a guarantee workers do in fact possess those ...


Physician and author Leonard Sax advising on these Columbus middle schools: "Most teachers have no awareness of what boy-friendly Spanish education would look like or girl-friendly computer science," Sax said, citing examples of subject areas that showcase the "striking gender gap" in education. Teachers often skew their teaching toward a style more suited for boys when it comes to the sciences and more toward girls when it comes to topics such as foreign language. The results are lingering gender gaps, which make middle school a crucial time, he added. "It's in sixth, seventh and eighth grade when the girls decide ...


The irony behind the objections to single-sex schools by national feminist groups is that girls seem to be benefiting more from these schools than boys (anecdotal observations only ... as I repeat probably far too often, there's no real research behind these experiments). Here's the latest from Fort Worth....


He's right about the Schott report. It's great research to have, but for them to pretend this is strictly a race issue -- comparing black boys to white boys -- sidesteps a huge question: if this is just about race, then why aren't black females faring just as poorly? At hundreds of colleges black females have a better graduation rate than white males. This is about gender and race....


This is what passes for "research" in the large-scale experiment we're running in single-sex public education. It's great that the school leaders "feel" good about the experiment and the classes "may" play a factor in school improvement, but shouldn't the feds be launching some high quality research into what works, and doesn't work, with single-sex education? Education is a field with an unhappy history of embracing fads. Seems like the DOE should have a strong incentive to get involved here....


Interesting letters in the Times responding to the Schott report. The first letter from the teacher is the most substantive. Of course drugs, poverty and single parent households are huge players, but that doesn't mean schools can't make a huge difference with black boys. Or any boys, actually. You're a New Yorker; I suggest visiting the Excellence Charter School for Boys. This is a school I wish everyone could visit....


The Times has a lively discussion here. If I were the father of a young boy, I would be taking a very hard look at red shirting. Makes sense....


This study adds to the intrigue about a condition that affects four times as many boys as girls....


Perhaps, but no one has ever suggested males are stupid or don't test well. The problem lies in their school records, especially enrolling and graduating from college....


This time in Columbus, Ohio. From the article: Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys principal Michael Owens said that teachers will present information in way that keeps young boys engaged in learning. "We're looking at best practices for educating boys and particularly looking at literacy," Owens said. Everyone's saying the right things ... I just wish I had a better gut instinct about how all these experiments will turn out. I still can't understand how the U.S. Department of Education can just sit on the sidelines watching all this unfold without stepping in to offer guidance....


Letters to the editor about Hanna Rosin's recent cover story (on its way to becoming a book). Also a letter and a link to the article, "Are Fathers Necessary?"...


England, Australia and New Zealand continue to pay more attention to the gender gaps than seen in this country, despite the fact the academic gender gaps are comparable. Interesting survey results here on gender difference in reading habits. Their solution -- connecting reading to the World Cup -- seems weak....


The French Broad River Academy, a boys school in North Carolina that focuses on outdoor education. I practically grew up along the French Broad River, spending time there every summer on the farm where my father grew up....


Don't get me wrong. I admire the foundation and applaud the work they do on behalf of black males. But when their latest report came out I immediately looked for their explanation for why black females fare so much better than black males. I examined the press release -- no mention, only comparisons to white males. Then I read the Education Week story. The same. Not only were there no explanations, there weren't numbers comparing black male/female graduation rates. At that point I called up the full report and began scanning. Nothing. Thinking I was missing something I entered "female"...


Your son may be loaded up with unnecessary ADHD meds only because he's the youngest in his kindergarten class....


In South Korea, 10,000 gather to watch top video gamers battle it out. From the article: For at least five years, the government has tried to combat Internet addiction through education for parents, counseling, discussions about alternative activities. "But these policies haven't been effective so far," said Kim Sung Byuk, an official at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. "So now the government is putting more force into the issue." Can we get one of those ministries ... Gender Equality?...


In 2008, only 28 percent graduated from high school....


The DOE's Office for Civil Rights surveyed the landscape looking for gender inequities to investigate and passed on the need to examine why four-year colleges are moving toward 60/40 (female-male) gender imbalances in graduation rates. Instead, these crack investigators settled on this, far more pressing issue: why, in basketball double headers, do the women always play the first game? Wait, I think I know the answer. If you're a federal bureaucrat, which investigative field trip would you choose: second grade classrooms to examine literacy instruction or the nearest college field house for a rocking good time on Friday night?...


Neurosexism, I just learned, is a term used by those rebutting the idea that men and women are profoundly different. expecially when it comes to learning. The author of Delusions of Gender, Cordelia Fine, embraces that idea (and presumably would take exception to the new single sex school that just opened in Berkeley. A review, which includes this: Delusions of Gender, by Cordelia Fine, argues that this prejudice is putting "unjustified obstacles" in the paths of children's education. Boys' language skills are being neglected because they are assumed to be bad at communicating, whiles girls are missing opportunities to develop ...


The appeal went out in the spring of 2009: Mr. President, there is a clear need to establish a White House Council on Men and Boys. Still waiting......


East Bay School for Boys in Berkeley illustrates the political neutrality of the movement to help boys. Contrary to what national feminist groups maintain, the movement is not a right wing conspiracy to peel back gains won by women. Rather, it's an attempt to arrest the declining interest boys are showing in school life. I'm not suggesting this school philosophy will necessarily work. What's needed is national research into what does, and doesn't, work for boys. But this is evidence of the growing recognition that something has to happen....


That's the bottom line of this treatise on why British boys lag behind. Some interesting stats from the piece: One of the headlines that will no doubt accompany this year's results, as it has for results of the past decade or more, is the fact that boys have performed in these exams less well than girls (or conversely that girls' grades have tended to rise, while boys' have marked time). That trend has lately seen 64% of girls achieve five A*-C grade GCSEs while only 54% of boys reach that benchmark. It has also seen half of young women ...


Kudos to Edweek for pulling together articles about the best practices for extending literacy instruction beyond elementary school -- the key reform needed to address the literacy gender gaps....


...Is there a parallel, as most dog trainers are female and most teachers are female? That might strike you reading this column. From the column: I think the most unexpected but significant problem of male underrepresentation in dog training and rescue work is lack of dog socialization to men. The vast majority of gender fear and aggression in dogs I see at the shelter is directed toward men. Men are bigger and more physical, talk louder and are more intimidating to dogs than women. They often wear facial hair and hats. Dogs need men around to become conditioned to masculine ...


Starting a new magazine is rough; critics everywhere....


An experiment with middle schoolers. I try to keep tabs on these experiments, mostly because I think these experiments don't receive enough attention from education researchers....


As usual, Bauerlein offers some wise reservations about the rapid adoption of digital learning. I don't deny the obvious potential, and at a recent Blackboard conference some digital learning pioneers spoke convincingly about positive results they are getting, including on literacy issues. Still, my gut instincts lie with Bauerlein....


In the Washington Post Anne Applebaum wonders what would happen to Tom Sawyer in today's schools? I think we all know: good old tom would be loaded up with medications....


Again, my good friends at Education Trust focus only on the racial graduation gaps. What gets left out are the gender graduation gaps. In Why Boys Fail I visit California State University at Fullerton where at the six-year mark 55 percent of the women have graduated but only 40 percent of the men. How can we work on racial graduation gaps if we're not candid about the gender gaps buried inside those race numbers?...


In the Chronicle of HIgher Education, Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson correctly point out that the debate over who needs college needs to define some terms. When I say college is the new high school, for example, I don't mean a four-year degree, necessarily. But neither do I mean a certificate from a truck-driving school. Based on my reporting, employers increasingly hire those with a two or four-degree degree even for jobs that traditionally have not required degrees. It's the best way to guarantee that someone has the literacy/math fundamentals down and can also handle the basics of customer ...


The decline of Nascar attendance. This pretty much says it all....


Let's hope not. If women are going to dominate universities then we need far more women opting to become business entrepreneurs, software writers and scientists. Our international competitiveness isn't riding on the number of clinical psychologists we produce....


President Obama today will renew his call to boost college graduation rates, with a goal set for 60 percent by 2020, up from 40 percent today. Good goal, but there's only one way to get there, which is by boosting the high school graduation rates, college entry rates and college graduation rates for men. Women are doing well; it's men who are the problem. Probability of Obama pointing this out: near zero....


The schools superintendent in this New Jersey district has a good point: who wants to hire a D-average anybody? But let's be clear about who will get caught up in this net: boys....


My sense is that college is the new high school. You need at least some post-high school study to secure jobs that in years past needed only a high school degree. Bank teller comes to mind. But there's an active debate on this issue, and it's important to hear all sides....


Washington Post profiles a D.C. charter school experimenting with single-sex education and nicely wraps in the national debate. All the players are here. My takeaway: the lack of national research on what works, and doesn't work, with single-sex education is a scandal....


Advice from an Edutopia blogger on infusing the entire curriculum with literacy skills. Based on my school visits, that how schools keep boys on track....


I doubt anyone missed the challenge mounted by a group of civil rights leaders to President Obama's Race to the Top education program -- an effort to push beyond incremental (or no) progress in urban schools where boys fare the worst. Race to the Top, by contrast, rolls the dice: producing winners and losers, according to this logic, is likely to do more good than perpetuating the status quo. Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are right on this one. Now, Whitney Tilson's always-entertaining and informative blog brings us some updates: 1) In my last email, I wrote: The ...


That's what Nicholson Baker does in the latest New Yorker. Feel the pull that thousands of young boys feel. Beats the pull of the local classroom. You may, of course, have to track down an actual copy to read the full story....


Peter Schmidt from the Chronicle of Higher Education doesn't focus on the gender issue, but I know from my reporting that there are significant gender gaps among the sons and daughters of white working class families. Anyone wanting to stay current on the issue needs to follow his blog and read his book, Color and Money....


This is worth an extended look. The British gender gaps have been an issue for years. By contrast, the school gaps in the United States are only now getting some attention. That's why the British solutions are worth a look, especially the synthetic phonics approach. In this country the synthetic phonics was the core of the discredited Reading First program launched under President Bush. Reducing racial learning gaps -- not gender gaps -- was the goal of that program, but it was always assumed that synthetic phonics was a technique that would help boys. Reading First, however never turned the ...


What's happening with boys in the United States is similar to what's happening with boys in England, Canada and Australia. These test results from England mirror recent findings in this country: girls have caught up in math while boys fall behind in literacy skills. For the first time in six years, girls achieved the same results in maths as boys. However the gender gap appears to have widened in English, with girls outperforming boys, particularly at a higher level. In English, 33 percent of pupils overall reached Level 5 -- - the standard expected of 14-year-olds -- compared with 29 ...


Dropping out of school, according to this article from USA Today. From the article: Researchers analyzed U.S. data and found that nearly one-third of students with the most common type of ADHD either drop out or delay high school graduation. That rate is twice that of students with no psychiatric disorder. The article fails to point this reality: four times as many boys as girls suffer from ADHD....


The Washington Post today does a good job reporting on the impact of the marriageable mate dilemma among black middle class women. In Prince George's County, which for many black professionals has become the preferred suburb, the neighborhoods are filling up with single women with college degrees and good jobs. The reason: twice as many black women as men earn college degrees. Given the many reasons women have for wanting to find an equally educated mate, that should not be surprising. My question: how long before we start seeing similar articles about college educated white women. Among whites: 57 percent ...


According to the Chronicle, the forthcoming report on whether colleges are discriminating against women by favoring male applicants may not identify particular colleges. From the article: The commission aims to discover if colleges are violating Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by favoring men in the admissions process, now that many colleges receive many more applications from women. The inquiry is intended to determine whether there are significant differences between the grade-point averages and standardized-test scores of men and women who are admitted. Title IX, the federal gender-equity law, prohibits colleges and universities that receive federal funds from ...


Advertisement

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here