November 2010 Archives

I was so busy complaining about the researchers leaving out gender data that I neglected to read the actual recommendations offered up for improving graduation rates. As John Merrow points out, recommendation #5 -- which happens to be where boys have fallen behind -- is key....


South Carolina is running the nation's biggest experiment in single-gender classes, and a recent survey confirms that those offerings are popular with parents. Here's the report. And here's the press release. And yet, the number of offerings has dropped from 214 to 125 over the past two years -- the result of slimmer school budgets, say educators there. Still, this raises the question I've raised before: what's the backup plan? Budget cuts aren't the only reason these program may disappear. Schools that only see satisfied parents -- but no academic gains -- will also be under pressure to cut the ...


Lots of buzz about the high school graduation report from America's Promise Alliance. And yet, once again we see a report that breaks out data by ethnicity but not gender. Considering the steep gender gaps in graduation rates, especially among African American and Latino students, these reports ignore a key part of any solution. For some reason, discussions of gender gaps in this country are considered controversial, and thereby need to be avoided. But as Chicago education researchers have discovered, what's playing out in schools is a "genderization of race." You can't solve race gaps without tackling gender gaps....


Originally I passed on this psych experiment out of the University of Colorado that claimed there was an easy way to boost the performance of female college students in courses such as physics and math. (As a reminder, I write about this on a boys blog because if women are going to dominate colleges we need a way to steer more women into economically critical majors). But Slate does an interesting analysis. Could it hurt to try?...


I was cruising through links today and ended up on the Education Next site where I noticed a "most popular" list of linked articles. At the top was the boys debate I had with Susan Bailey, executive director of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, who was principal author of the 1992 AAUW report How Schools Shortchange Girls. For those who missed it nearly a year ago, here's a second chance....


Not necessarily, as Peg Tyre (author of The Trouble with Boys) writes in the Times. And guess who earns the better grades?...


Interesting piece in Education Week (password access) about international research regarding what helps boys learn. It's all about forming relationships with teachers. Frankly, that surprises me. I always thought those bonds would mean more to girls. From the commentary: As it happens, we now have better insight into the relative disengagement of boys from schooling and the corrective measures that dedicated teachers can take. In an international survey I recently conducted with Richard Hawley that reached 1,000 teachers and 1,500 adolescent male students in six countries, including the United States, we solicited narratives of "most effective practices" and "most...


The Boys Initiative, an outgrowth of the Men's Health Network, will take a broad look at the problems boys and men are having. An explainer from the blog creators: Welcome to our new blog. The Boys Initiative is an outgrowth of the Boys and Schools program, launched by the Men's Health Network in 2006. The mission of the Boys Initiative is to ensure that boys are prepared for rewarding and fulfilling lives that include economically valuable employment, successful relationships and marriage, responsible fatherhood, contribution to their communities and emotional health and happiness. The Boys Initiative is a novel effort to ...


Afro columnist assesses the social damage from the widespread failure of black males. I continue to believe that advocates for black males weaken their arguments by making this a "black" issue. There are strong threads connecting what's happening to black boys and white boys, especially white boys from blue collar families. Yes, those white boys are faring better academically, but not well enough in this time of "college as the new high school." If you examine this at the instructional level, you'll find academic solutions that would help both groups. A broader net will win broader support for action....


Tim King explains in the Hechinger Report....


As always, David Chadwell delivers. Ok, it's only about South Carolina, but that's where most of the nation's single-sex experiments are playing out....


Trying single-sex at Normandy High School in St. Louis. My question: what's the backup plan?...


The Economist offers up this great profile of the dwindling marriage (and childbirth) rate in Japan, informing us that in Japan lesser educated males deemed not suitable marriage material are called "parasite singles." Some things are shared across cultures: the parasite singles live with their parents....


Interesting debate here. If regular public schools were doing 'right' by black males, I could see the merit in their objections. But these urban all-boys charters are turning into lifesavers for black males....


That comes from Yvette Jackson, head of the National Urban Alliance, guest columnist for the Post's Valerie Strauss. From the column: I wanted to cry when I read about the recent widely publicized report from the Council of Great City Schools about the underachievement of African-American males in our schools. Its findings bear repeating: African-American boys drop out at nearly twice the rate of white boys; their SAT scores are on average 104 points lower; and black men represented just 5 percent of college students in 2008. When I was the executive director of instruction and professional development for the ...


Thanks to Dan Willingham for spotting this one in ScienceDaily....


That's the Title 9 challenge from the National Women's Law Center. And here's the radio debate where a University of Chicago law professor challenges the merit of the suit. Thanks to Christina Hoff Sommers for spotting these....


Nice piece summing up developments in eschoolnews. My favorite part: American University's David Sadker still maintaining that schools favor boys. Wow, if the outcomes we're seeing "favor" boys try to imagine what academic life would look like for males if they weren't favored....


No, answers this British headmaster, who argues that a lack of male role models in schools causes boys to lose interest in academics. I think the problem goes well beyond a lack of male role models. Twenty five years ago, when boys were doing fine in school, elementary schools were just as dominated by female teachers as they are today....


Now that we have some state breakdowns on NAEP data, one blog reader was able to ask this question: "Would be interesting to know why Massachusetts has a (gender) gap of eleven points, while New Hampshire boasts eighteen. Where is NH going wrong?" I can't answer that question; but it's an interesting one. Massachusetts has the nation's most highly regarded standards-and-accountability system. That would be clue #1. Any accountability system that keeps boys from slipping behind is key....


To summarize briefly, boys 12 points behind girls in reading (but moving up a bit) and boys three points ahead of girls in math....


Made here in The Root. Frankly, I think these schools work more because they are high quality charters. As such, they provide badly needed escape hatches for urban families. But that's not the same as a broad solution to a huge problem. Single-sex education for girls draws plenty of advocates as well. Based on my anecdotal observations, these schools deliver more for girls than boys....


This will become a high profile experiment guaranteed to draw attention, not to mention legal challenges. Let's hope it draws some respectable research....


There are still multiple theories out there, most of which contain some truth. But the multiple theories serve as a barrier to action -- it just all seems so hopeless, especially if the causes are seen to be cultural. Some of the clear causes, however, are "actionable," such as the literacy issue, which I see as the biggest trigger. If educators could concentrate on just that one major thread we might see a turnaround of this gender slide. In the New York Post, Maggie Gallagher focuses on literacy. What worries me are the signals that top educators may be settling ...


As this columnist points out, nobody wants to see it in these terms. And yet gender plays as big a role as race. And here's an example of the myopia: Bob Hebert in the ny times. At Dropout Nation, RiShawn Biddle released a podcast calling for black men to rescue black boys....


Lise Eliot of Pink Brain, Blue Brain fame takes on Michael Gurian and co-writers over the science behind gender-based learning differences. Both pieces in Educational Leadership. Me ... I'm staying neutral in this fight. I've seen single-sex schools using gender-based teaching techniques work well for boys, and I've seen coed schools using none of those techniques work just as well for boys. To me it's less about teaching style than a determination to teach literacy skills in a variety of ways. Most of all, it's about refusing to let boys fall behind in literacy skills....


Interesting intervention efforts in Oakland....


Milwaukee columnist points out the dilemma: the high rate of fatherless families among blacks is likely to continue as long as black boys languish in school. It's the marriageable mate dilemma. What's the motivation for a black woman to marry a less educated black male? That's the same question now facing white women. Given that 57 percent of whites earning bachelors degrees are women, the education imbalance is obvious. How will they respond: marry 'down' or pass on marriage?...


I have to take issue with this Daily Beast article. Boys have plenty of self esteem; they just choose to invest that confidence in activities other than school....


My favorite part of this story: "conventional wisdom" holds that the Mormon influence explains the gender gap favoring males, but that's not necessarily the case. Really? No alternative explanation is offered here....


That's the question raised here. The answer, given the declining literacy skills found in urban black males, has to be: unlikely. One beacon for hope continues to be the rising number of urban charter schools aimed at black males. Here's an interesting one in the pipeline in Madison, Wisconsin, the Madison Preparatory Academy....


That's the latest calculation. What does unmentioned is that four times as many boys as girls receive the diagnosis....


Given the unfortunate reality that the federal Department of Education seems disinclined to underwrite research on what works/doesn't work in single-sex education, the best national resource may be David Chadwell's efforts in South Carolina, where he shepherds that state's large-scale experiment in the practice. The latest newsletter from Chadwell....


That's the message from these Canadian single-gender educators, responding to the newspaper series in Toronto about the boy troubles that described a medical college taking steps to alleviate the gender gaps....


New report on black males shows that non-poor black boys fare no better in school than white boys who live in poverty. The report from the Council of Great City School Districts calls the situation a "national catastrophe." The CGCS is right, of course. And this is a valuable report. However, I'll never understand why groups investigating the problems of black males choose to wade into this battle half blind. Similar to previous reports, the CGCS document mostly sticks to the black males/white males comparisons. That's important -- but only part of the story. The other half: why are ...


The grade gender gaps are driving in part by homework. In short, girls do it, and do it well. Boys ... not so much. The Times describes one solution -- at rates as much as $100 an hour. Okay, this may be more of a Manhattan solution....


From Kelley King. She seems on the right track....


You say it's working? Great. Please share the research so we can assess its rigor....


Economic reasons play in role in why a growing number of single mothers live with a partner, but don't marry the partner, according to this Times piece about a Census study. To be a marriageable mate, the father has to bring something significant to the earnings table. As a result of the education gap (and structural changes in the economy) fewer men are measuring up. From the article: Pamela J. Smock, director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, said many people delayed marriage until they had achieved a basic level of economic security. "Economic situations really ...


Bill Costello in a commentary in educationnews.org. From the commentary: Among 25-to-29-year-olds, 33 percent of women have earned at least a bachelor's degree compared with just 23 percent of men. This is the first generation of women to be more educated than their male counterparts. This shift means that women will increasingly get the highly paid jobs while men will experience a drop in earnings. This is already happening. Men in their 30's are the first generation to earn significantly less income than their fathers' generation did at the same age. As jobs that require little education increasingly shrink, ...


Education Week has a nice profile of a Washington charter school working with youths serving time. Here's a revealing comment from one of the youths: "The good news," he said, is here "you have a teacher who likes you and supports you, and kids don't make fun of you if you can't read." Being school failures, especially non readers, probably explains why many of them landed there in the first place....


This from Ontario. Everyone is puzzling over the same thing: how do we redesign instruction to keep boys from falling behind?...


Interesting. Seventy percent of those in organized Jewish activities are girls....


That's the argument from the makers of "Halo," who want to keep selling and renting to the under-18 audience....


Too many children are being given anti-psychotic drugs to alter behavior, according to this research. What the article does not point out is that roughly four times as many boys as girls receive these drugs. From the article: Soaring numbers of children are being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs -- in many cases, for attention deficit disorder or other behavioral problems for which these medications have not been proven to work, a study found. The annual number of children prescribed anti-psychotic drugs jumped fivefold between 1995 and 2002, to an estimated 2.5 million, the study said. That is an increase from ...


It should, according to this study. I'm not so sure the experience is the same, and I'm betting this hurts boys more than girls, who are more likely to read traditional books....


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