June 2011 Archives

An interview with John Martin, founder of Boys Read....


Great roundup from Education Week. In my book, the schools that did as well with boys as girls had flexible reading programs designed to reach all students. They also had "re-teach" systems designed to loop back and catch laggards (for the most part, that would be the boys)....


Next up: Denver. From the article: The school emphasizes business and mathematics and requires a course in entrepreneurship for all ninth-graders. "We focus on those because we think it allows students to be problem solvers and critical thinkers," said the school's chief curriculum officer, Keith Sanders. "But we still have a strong comprehensive curriculum." The study also is interactive and hands-on. "We create an environment that allows boys to move every six to 12 minutes," Hardrick said. "We keep their hands busy to keep them from needing to touch, reach out or creating other class disruptions." To foster a feeling ...


Sara Mead's 2006 paper from Education Sector questioning the "boy troubles" was a smash hit among national feminist groups that had been looking for facts and figures to counter the rising concerns about how boys were doing in school. One of their worries: if educators shift their focus to boys the special attention girls have been getting for nearly two decades will fade. Here, Mead is interviewed for a "retrospective" on that paper (I'm told it was the most requested reports Education Sector ever produced). Mead's central thesis, that boys aren't doing worse, girls are just doing better, is correct. ...


The highly regarded MDRC continues to follow the results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program for high school dropouts, and the outcomes look good. Roughly 80 percent of the participants are males....


Best thing about this blog is that it is written by David Chadwell, who has been overseeing the single-gender school experiment in South Carolina (maybe he's weary of my skepticism about single-sex classrooms). Regardless, his blog is a welcome addition. I get the feeling this issue is only going to grow....


Boys charters in urban areas becoming a popular antidote to the boy troubles....


Of course it could, by eliminating the obvious gender loophole from the first version of the law. RiShawn Biddle and I make the argument in USA Today. Given that thousands of schools are likely to escape stiff federal accountability in the new version, it should not be considered onerous to add gender accountability to the schools where that would make a huge difference....


Without the courts to backstop censorship, that's the fear of many. And then, on the other hand....


Interesting....


What's interesting in this debate about sex selection, which leads to imbalances "favoring" men in many countries, is not the issue of abortion but rather the impact of the imbalances. Here's Ross Douthat in the Times. Followed by Laurie Fendrich in the Chronicle....


Educational psychologist Lori Day takes a swing at that question at Huffington: Even though the concept of the square school with the square classroom with one teacher to 20 or more kids has been around for a few hundred years, our boys are still young hunters whose brains need the same types of stimulation to grow and be healthy as did their male ancestors millennia ago. Our schools are vastly different from the setting of family, tribe and natural environment that used to be the educational milieu for growing boys. Why Our Educational System Does Not Support Male Learning Styles ...


From the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce....


This time, it's about black women and white men. But I predict the focus of popular culture articles about this will soon shift to white women unable to find suitable males....


Male pride keeps Hispanic males from reaching out for help, said those at the Latino Male Symposium in Austin (password required)....


Interesting article in the Oregonian. I'd love to see reporters in other cities do the same. From the article. This is a new world, with major consequences for family stability. Yet it's uncomfortable to discuss, because it implies a certain male vulnerability. It's also hard to move beyond the zero-sum thinking that boys can succeed only at girls' expense, and vice versa. I've heard some promising conversations in recent months. At the federal level, President Obama is under pressure to establish a White House Council on Boys to Men, on par with its council for women and girls. This council ...


In my book I refer to this as college is the new high school. Some post-secondary study is needed for many blue-collar jobs. And as this New York Times article points out, a college degree is helpful even when working as a cashier....


Evidence piles up that the youngest kids in the class don't fare so well....


Some hopeful advice on luring more women into technology pursuits -- assuming girls haven't fallen behind by fifth grade. From the interview: Q. What would get more women to choose careers in technology? Ms. MacLean: We need to get girls interested in computing by first grade. By fifth grade, it's game over. Computing has an image crisis. A boy geek subculture has grown up around gaming that involves violence. It's not something little girls aspire to. It's not about lack of educational opportunities for women. Smart girls graduate from high school with straight A's, go to college, and find themselves ...


Interesting panel discussion about what's doable immediately. Thanks to David Chadwell for spotting this one....


Black male chosen to oversee schools with a dismal record educating black boys. From the article: Last year, the Florida Courier highlighted a damning report titled "Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education," which revealed that America's public schools fail over half the nation's Black male students - with most of Florida's largest school systems scraping the bottom of the barrel. Florida's urban school systems, including Miami-Dade, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and Tampa are among the worst in America in educating Black boys. Florida ranks 49th of the ...


That's the title of a new book on the topic. Another exploration of the marriageable mate dilemma. This time the recommendation is for black women to marry non-blacks. Okay, Oprah would agree. But what will the advice be for white women who increasingly face the same dilemma? From the Slate review: When titles for this book were being considered, perhaps Why Middle Class Black Women Can't Find a Man and How the Whole Problem Could Be Solved if They Would Just Marry White Guys didn't have quite the ring the publisher was after. But that's pretty much what Stanford Law ...


We're funnier!...


We hit a new low in this series....


If you should choose to do some digging into the College Board's Initiative on minority males, here's a link explaining all the parts -- including a game to test your knowledge about roadblocks young men face on their way to earning a college degree....


Good analysis of the new book in the WSJ. In many developing countries, especially where only one child is allowed per family, families are choosing boys, which can trigger fallout from the operational sex ratio: Ms. Hvistendahl argues that such imbalances are portents of Very Bad Things to come. "Historically, societies in which men substantially outnumber women are not nice places to live," she writes. "Often they are unstable. Sometimes they are violent." As examples she notes that high sex ratios were at play as far back as the fourth century B.C. in Athens--a particularly bloody time in Greek ...


The more I read of the ETS report the more I like it. This is what the DOE should be doing. The report does compare gender outcomes within race/ethnic groups, a feature missing in many similar reports. However, I don't see much discussion (beyond the usual suspects) of why we see those gender gaps. I refuse to believe we can attribute the entire gap to drugs, gangs, etc. The recommendations are interesting, although I think the report writers give K-12 educators too much of a pass. I especially like the call to disaggregate data by gender. That's what is ...


From the Boston Globe: One of the more disturbing findings focused on 12th-grade reading levels on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress exams. In reading, 51 percent of African-American males and 45 percent of Hispanic males scored below basic. By contrast, 36 percent of African-American female students and 33 per cent of Hispanic female students scored below basic, while 24 percent of white male students and 13 percent of white female students scored below basic. Boosting the achievement of young men of color is "critical to the economic welfare of the country,'' said John Lee, who authored the ...


ETS joins with a Harvard advocacy group to point out the problems seen among minority males. While both the reports and campaign are positive signs, I continue to have misgivings about defining this issue along racial lines. The problems affecting black boys are related to the problems seen among white boys from blue collar families. By narrowing the scope of the problem you narrow the likelihood of finding a solution. Previous campaigns targeting minorities end up comparing black boys to white boys, when in fact at least half their efforts should be dedicated to comparing black boys to black girls, ...


That's the title of a new book about what happens when gender ratios become out of balance. In this book, the author focuses on the overabundance of men in countries such as China. About the book: Lianyungang, a booming port city, has China's most extreme gender ratio for children under four: 163 boys for every 100 girls. These numbers don't seem terribly grim, but in ten years, the skewed sex ratio will pose a colossal challenge. By the time those children reach adulthood, their generation will have twenty-four million more men than women. The prognosis for China's neighbors is no ...


...who happen to look a lot like the lost boys of the United States: According to the 1971 census, they report, 68 per cent of 25- to 29-year-old university graduates were male. Ten years later, 54 per cent were male and by 1991, the number was down to 51 per cent. By 2001, only 42 per cent of university graduates were male. According to the Youth in Transition survey, 38.8 per cent of 19-year-old women had attended university by 2003, compared with only 25.7 per cent of 19-year-old men. This large sex divide has ramifications, write Frenette and ...


Urban charter schools for boys have gotten caught up in the general education wars, where the unions and their defenders belittle the accomplishments of charter schools. Here's Tim King defending the academic record at Urban Prep. Rather than paralleling our students' performance to children from all across Chicago, let's examine how Urban Prep students stack up against their peers: other African-American males in non-selective public high schools. The Black male high school drop-out rate in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is almost 60 percent -- nearly double the attrition rate at Urban Prep. We credit our ability to keep significantly more ...


The symposium about the plight of black boys produced an interesting discussion, according to this EdWeek report. The common theme: focus on their social/emotional needs at young ages, rather than academic skills. "We want to consider ways to position this vulnerable population for educational success as early as possible in their lives," said Michael T. Nettles, a senior vice president of ETS, in opening the forum. To make that happen, said Oscar A. Barbarin III, a psychology professor at Tulane University, in New Orleans, "kindergarten and 1st grade have to be more like preschool" in addressing children's needs holistically. "You...


Stillwater wonders why boys lag behind: While boys continued to show strong levels of academic achievement, the study found male students were more likely to fail classes and were far more often identified for special intervention programs such as Targeted Services. "Perhaps what we are seeing is a gender 'motivational' gap as boys appear to be choosing not to demonstrate their talents and skills in the classroom," Balow said. Reasons for the disparity between the genders are not certain. Most researchers agree that there is no difference in intelligence between males and females, so they look instead to factors such ...


New book from Dan Abrams: Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else. From the book PR: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, everyone is familiar with the tired clichés: women are bad drivers and are not good with money; only guys play video games and they give bad directions. Dan Abrams tackles the toughest case of his career in Man Down. Drawing on years of legal experience and research studies, Abrams explains step-by-step why women are better than men in ...


Interesting seminar on the issue. This problem is one reason I'm watching the Rocketship charters in California. Not only are they successful, but the population they target is mostly Latino....


How much of the salary gender gap is due to gender differences in negotiating? My guess: a lot....


Note the special impact on boys....


An essay on problematic males in the Chronicle (may need password)....


Experts gather to discuss this problem: Today, many of the 3.5 million Black boys under the age of nine will not enter the pipeline to college and successful adulthood. More than 40 percent of Black children are born into poverty. Poor Black children are behind in cognitive development at nine months and further behind at 24 months. By kindergarten, poor Black children have to beat the odds to catch up -- and as test results show, many never do. Among the solutions offered: * The link between early brain development and later academic achievement. * The success of early childhood home ...


One school's approach to solving the boy troubles....


More female doctors is something to applaud. A lot more female politicians, entrepreneurs and scientists -- fields women often avoid -- would be something to celebrate. But there are drawbacks to any social revolution. In the veterinarian field, the impact of the feminization of the field is an acute shortage of large animal vets. As this op-ed in the Times points out, there's a little noticed parallel downside in medicine....


Kevin Carey writing with his usual insight in The New Republic....


The graduation rates are terrible, in part because of the gender gaps in graduation: Boys fared much worse than girls in the Education Week numbers, with just 39.6 percent of Nevada's male high school students graduating in 2008, the most recent year for which figures were available for all states. Female students graduated at a rate of 50.1 percent. The national averages were 74.7 percent for girls and 67.7 percent for boys. The numbers steadily declined by ethnicity, with black students in Nevada having a 33 percent graduation rate and Hispanics at 29.6 percent. White ...


From Tampa....


Dan Willingham doesn't single out boys in this piece, but that's probably not necessary. We know who needs the most "self regulation" in the classroom....


Arne Duncan schedules a visit to a charter school in D.C. and praises Watch D.O.G.S., a program to encourage fathers to volunteer at schools. From the DOE press release: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will encourage fathers and father figures to become more involved in education at a Watch D.O.G.S. program taking place at Two Rivers Public Charter School on Monday, June 13, 2011. Duncan will be joined by Principle Maggie Bello and Watch D.O.G.S. coordinator Eric Snow. He will tour the school and discuss the importance of ...


Hollywood expands on an existing theme: men are wimps, at least compared to the more successful and assertive women surrounding them. WSJ does a nice sum-up: Studio and network executives say that this year they heard more pitches than ever before for shows about the changing dynamics of men. "Manliness is under assault," says Todd Holland, executive producer of "Free Agents." "That's the premise." Some call the trend "wussification" or "feminization." Others say it's just wimpy guys who want to be macho and have no clue how to do it. But it's subtler than that....


Now, women are taking more of a hit, argues this writer....


Interestingly, math seems to be the issue....


Interesting discussion of pollutants as possible triggers. As for the gender differences, with four times as many boys as girls suffering from autism, we've always known that male infants are far more vulnerable....


This time from Montreal. But, as David Chadwell points out in a comment, the boys experiment was still considered a success....


The 'debate' over whether all students need a four-year degree seems somewhat pointless. Of course they don't. But given the number of jobs that will require post-secondary work, it seems clear that high schools are not doing a good job preparing students for that reality. At some community colleges the remediation rate rises as high as 80 percent....


The Foundation for Male Studies has a plan: According to the US Census Bureau, more women are going to college today than they did a decade ago while the percentage of men attending college is decreasing relative to women. The number of females enrolling in college after high school increased by 20 percent from 1967 to 2000, while the number of men has decreased by 4 percent. This, combined with women graduating at a significantly higher rate than men, currently result in 1.5 million more women than men graduating from college each year. The psychological and sociological consequences of ...


Sounds like an interesting school, with 96 percent of the graduating seniors headed to college, most of them four-year colleges. Stories like this, however, rarely get into the important qualifiers: How representative of the neighborhoods was the original class of ninth graders and how many of those ninth graders dropped out before the senior year? Regardless of those qualifiers, one thing is guaranteed. Those young men would not have fared this well in regular Philadelphia high schools....


This could increase the appeal to men....


Readers of this blog know that I've been collecting anecdotal reports suggesting that's the case. Here's some research indicating I might be right. More disturbing: The separate gender classes may be bad for boys. Thanks to Dan Willingham for spotting this one....


That's the argument Christina Hoff Sommers makes in the Chronicle....


Nice column in DesMoines Register: -- In academic achievement rates: 34 percent of women have a bachelor's degree by age 34 compared to 27 percent of men. At Iowa State University in 2004, 75 percent of women but only 67 percent of men who started six years earlier graduated. The other two public universities have similar gaps. Women in general also have higher grade point averages and are more likely to go to graduate school. -- From the unemployment rolls: Nationally, about 35 percent of men age 25 to 54 without a high school diploma are not working. The unemployment ...


In the Times: the Blue-Collar recession....


Nice profile of a Catholic school shutting down....


A possible Austin experiment in single-sex education. From the article: Carstarphen said boys in the district academically lag behind their female counterparts. She said the gaps are larger among those from low-income families. Among other statistics, district officials offered data showing that in 2009, 73 percent of boys graduated, compared with 78 percent of girls. On average, 41.8 percent of boys in 2010 were among the top 10 students in their high school class....


New York Times profiles an interesting program....


At least this school district is making an effort, which, unfortunately, makes it unique. Even asking the question -- what is it that causes boys to disengage from school? -- is impressive. From the article: Milford, which has been exploring gender issues districtwide has examined six years of academic and discipline data. What they learned has sparked more questions. Since Milford boys perform similarly to the girls on state achievement tests, and more boys than girls are identified as gifted in elementary school, then why are there fewer boys in AP classes in high school? "It's one of the questions ...


Good idea, especially considering the gender imbalances favoring women in the student body. Soon, perhaps, the AFT will produce a report on promoting gender diversity among students. That would be interesting, especially since they represent so many K-12 teachers. Why is it that so many more girls than boys arrive at their senior prepared and motivated to take on college work?...


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