August 2011 Archives

That's the conclusion of Syracuse professor Boyce Watkins, writing in NewsOne for Black America. Watkins cites the example of the white Patterson, N.J., teacher who was fired for posting this on Facebook: "I am not a teacher. I am a warden for future criminals.? The teacher, Jennifer O'Brien, later explained: "I was speaking out of frustration to their behavior, just that build up of 'I don't know what else to do,' and I'm actually scared for their futures, for some of them," O'Brien said. "If you're hitting your teacher at 6 or 7 years old, that's not a ...


That's the conclusion of this study which looks at "spacial abilities," the ability to mentally rotate objects -- a talent connected to engineering prowess. This article suggests that this is the issue that got former Harvard President Lawrence Summers in so much trouble when he speculated about the thin talent pool of female scientists. Actually, what got Summers in trouble was repeating the genius/dummy observation that testing experts agree is a fact: Men tend to fall disproportionately into the very top and very bottom of pretty much any test cohort. More geniuses, more dummies. For a new take on ...


Interesting Lisa Belkin essay in the Times about women dominating campuses academically while acting socially submissive. She focuses on Princeton, however, which like many of the Ivies has a 50-50 gender mix. When campuses go beyond 60-40 is when the gender imbalances drives the social/sexual norm in unhealthy directions. Update: A rebuttal in Slate....


That's the conclusion of a new book, The Truth About Girls and Boys, written by 'boy troubles' skeptics Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett. Title sound familiar? They just reversed the "boys and girls" in Sara Mead's famous Education Sector piece. Can't help but wonder how Mead feels about that. (I later contacted Mead, who was unaware of the book and said she didn't care about the title similarities.) A Q&A with Barnett, where she maintains that gender differences are negligible and the push for single-sex schooling unwarranted. I have my own doubts about single-sex schooling as a solution, but ...


Washington Post commentary offering advice....


Always a compelling topic, and one that may be labeling more males as sexual predators, argues this author in Philadelphia Magazine....


Suzanne Fields takes on the literacy gap....


Interesting insight behind the recent test results there, which showed a broadening academic gender gap. The national test had been reconfigured in ways that should have helped boys -- but didn't....


Westinghouse High School in one of Pittsburgh's toughest neighborhoods. Some classes are co-ed....


That's the conclusion of this Commerce Department report. Most interesting: the numbers show the gap is not closing. The report, "Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation," found that while the work force comprises 48 percent women, they hold just 24 percent of STEM jobs. At the undergraduate level, 2.5 million women hold STEM degrees compared with 6.7 million men. Among those degree holders, women are less likely than their male counterparts to work in related careers. Instead, women often move to education or health care professions....


A year ago, the MLK Academy for Boys was nearly shut down....


That's the case in Britain, as girls push even further ahead on national tests. From the BBC article: Boys dropped further behind girls at the top grade, with just 19.6% of their exam entries awarded A* or A, compared with 26.5% for girls. Last year there was a difference of 5.7 percentage points and this year it is 6.7. Andrew Hall, director general of AQA exam boards, said examiners were "scratching their heads" over the acceleration in the trend of two decades - especially as the gap is narrowing at A-level. "There will be something there ...


Pretty amusing piece, actually. Parents of boys will nod their heads in agreement. From article: When researchers asked young people about how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys responded that they didn't see talking about problems to be a useful activity, the study says. Boys didn't express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 children and adolescents. Girls had positive expectations for how talking about problems would make them feel, such as expecting to feel cared for, understood and less alone, researchers said. Boys reported that talking about problems ...


Investigating possible discrimination against girls....


University of Kansas researcher documents the impact of the Great Recession on men who lost their breadwinner identify. As researcher Tom Mortenson told me once, men work. It's what we do. And we're lost when we lose that role. From the press release: The acute economic downturn that began in 2008 sometimes is called the "mancession" to reflect its harsher impact on men than women. As recently as last November, 10.4 percent of adult men were unemployed as compared to 8 percent of adult women. But how do unemployed men cope with their shifting domestic roles, especially when they ...


British survey from the National Literacy Trust....


In this study, football comes off as the heavy. I'm no defender of college football programs, but this study seems a bit sketchy to me. This line in the Chronicle summarizes it nicely: "This study clearly has it limitations." Oh yeah....


And it comes from someone who knows something about the subject. From the essay by author Robert Lipsyte: To me and I think to many prospective readers, today's books for boys -- supernatural space-and-sword epics that read like video game manuals and sports novels with preachy moral messages -- often seem like cynical appeals to the lowest common denominator. Boys prefer video games and ESPN to book versions of them. These knockoffs also lack the tough, edgy story lines that allow boys a private place to reflect on the inner fears of failure and humiliation they try so hard to ...


It always worries me when the motive stated by parents, as heard in Tampa, is they simply want the sexes separated. But happens when there are no academic gains? The 'distractions' motive is also cited in Houston....


The Economist does a great job sorting through the rapid changes in marriage patterns in Asian countries. Most of the changes are triggered by education trends....


This is what so many males need -- skills that need some post-secondary work, but not necessarily a four-year degree. And yet, too many males aren't getting that message. Sorry about the truncated wsj link. Normally, I wouldn't link this article, but it's an important topic, so even three graphs for those not paying 'dues' to the wsj are still important....


Would be great if it worked....


Appreciate the nod. She knows something about the topic: she wrote the foreword....


Brain researcher Lise Eliot, author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain, takes on the single-sex science. From the piece: Although there is no doubt that boys and girls have different interests which shape how they respond to different academic subjects, neuroscientists have had great difficulty identifying meaningful differences between boys' and girls' neural processing - even for learning to read, which has been the most studied to date. And although research shows that men and women - not boys and girls - tend towards different self-professed learning styles, there is no evidence that teaching specifically geared to such differences is actually ...


Glad to see the attention on black boys; they truly have troubles. But barely more troubles than Hispanic boys. White boys from blue-collar families aren't far behind. I'd love to see a PBS special on what all these boys have in common. I've never thought focusing just on African-American boys was the most effective strategy....


Then why aren't they going at the same rates? The time when women needed college more than men has passed. Check out the ACT results, especially in states such as Colorado and Illinois, where all students must take the exam (thereby giving a fair, direct comparison). I've run into this with the ACT before. The literacy gender gaps favoring girls that are so striking on state tests show up on the ACT as moderate. The math gaps that on state tests show up as near-negligible (in many states girls are tied or slightly ahead) appear on the ACT as strongly ...


Pretty obvious, right? Still, there's some interesting context in this Pew survey. This from the Chronicle story: The public seems to be undecided about the impact of changes in the gender makeup of the student body. A majority of people surveyed welcomed the fact that more women than men were graduating from college. But when asked if it was a good or a bad thing that fewer men were graduating from college than women, their reactions switched: 46 percent of respondents said it was a bad thing that fewer men than women were attaining college degrees. Racial and ethnic patterns ...


Education Week hosting a session on improving academic outcomes for African American boys. Check it out......


Dallas pilots an all-boys school....


The New York Times did a great job reporting this. Look at the trend data they have for men and women with only a high school diploma: The increase in unmarried couples cohabitating and having children swept poor communities beginning in the late 1960s, Mr. Wilcox said, citing data from the National Survey of Family Growth, and now has moved into working class and lower-middle-class families. Out-of-wedlock births among white women with a high school diploma rose more than sixfold in recent decades, the report said, jumping to 34 percent in the late 2000s, from 5 percent in 1982. In ...


New report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Given the unique impacts fatherless families have on boys, the results are worth reviewing. Some of the points: * Divorces involving children have largely returned to pre-"divorce revolution" levels. Specifically, about 23 percent of children whose parents married in the early 1960s divorced by the time the children turned 10. More recently, slightly more than 23 percent of children whose parents married in 1997 divorced by the time the kids turned 10, down from a high of more than 27 percent in the mid-1970s. * Family instability for U.S....


Here's an angle that never occurred to me, served up by Inside HIgher Education....


Courtesy of Edweek....


Jamaica finds a home for boys no longer wanted at their regular schools....


This is one of the more interesting gender gaps "favoring" males (who end up paying a huge price)....


Given the higher education imbalances, this is an issue worth thinking about....


Gender gaps among Hispanics looking a lot like the gaps seen among African Americans and, increasingly, among blue collar whites....


Thousands of nothing-to-lose males neglected by an education system and facing no job prospects in a society where the richer keep getting richer and poor keep getting poorer. That's the situation in Britain ... and the U.S. Some essays that explore the anger, in the Chronicle and Washington Post....


Sex selection has created a society with 119 males for every 100 females, a predictor for social instability....


Chronicle commentary on the Summer Leadership Development Institute at Cheyney University....


Current Atlantic cover story, Can the Middle Class be Saved?, expertly lays out the special economic dilemma facing men. Especially compelling are the sections about the social implications: In a national study of the American family released late last year, the sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox wrote that among "Middle Americans"--people with a high-school diploma but not a college degree--an array of signals of family dysfunction have begun to blink red. "The family lives of today's moderately educated Americans," which in the 1970s closely resembled those of college graduates, now "increasingly resemble those of high-school dropouts, too often burdened by ...


I was resisting making the connection, but it is clearly there. Read the lead anecdote in this Times story. He learned to read only three years ago. Never held a job. In the Washington Post, columnist Courtland Milloy makes an interesting link between the flash mob of bankers and the flash mob of unemployable young males....


From the article: "The question always must be: What are you trying to accomplish with separating the students and how will you do it?" St. John's University law professor Rosemary C. Salamone told The New York Times in 2009. "If you don't do it thoughtfully, you run the risk of reinforcing stereotypes and playing to students' weaknesses."...


Important new book about digital literacy reviewed by a Times columnist. The book is Now You See It. From the Amazon description: A digital innovator shows how we can thrive in the new technological age. When Cathy Davidson and Duke University gave free iPods to the freshman class in 2003, critics said they were wasting their money. Yet when students in practically every discipline invented academic uses for their music players, suddenly the idea could be seen in a new light-as an innovative way to turn learning on its head. This radical experiment is at the heart of Davidson's inspiring ...


They need to be raised....


The two writers who lead the 'pushback' movement -- arguing that the boy troubles are mostly a myth -- avoid the issue of boys (relatively) lagging in school in this Edweek discussion of gender stereotypes....


Of course not, if college is defined by a four-year university degree. That's the point that's missing in this essay arguing that college isn't for everyone. Of course it isn't, and of course there are jobs that don't require college degrees. But jobs that require some kind of post-secondary work are on the rise, and not preparing students for that reality would be a mistake....


More women need to major in STEM subjects and pursue careers in those areas, argues the department. Given the gender imbalances on college campuses, the department is right....


In community colleges, especially students in their 20's....


This Brookings paper brings together all the factors that explain the declining economic status of men. Thanks to Christina Hoff Sommers for spotting this one....


Perhaps not. Perhaps just the opposite, says Penn State education professor Allison Carr-Chellman. From the article: University Park, Pa. -- Studies during the past decade have shown elementary school boys are struggling -- falling behind academically while also being diagnosed with learning disabilities and getting in trouble at school at far greater rates than girls. One answer to the problem, says a Penn State education professor, may be video games. "Instructional technology is my field, thinking about how to adopt technology properly in classrooms," said Alison Carr-Chellman, department head and professor of instructional systems in Penn State's College of Education. "One...


Paul Otellini does a great job laying out the case for boosting the number of engineering graduates in the U.S., but neglects to mention that the college gender gaps are a big player here. College enrollments soared while engineering majors sagged because the boom in college enrollment came from women, who mostly shun engineering majors. That fact also underlies the gender salary gaps....


The mayor puts $30 million of his own money into a program designed to help young black and Latino males. From the Politico article: The money will go toward the Young Men's Initiative, a three-year public-private partnership aimed at reshaping how the city interacts with about 315,000 men between the ages of 16 and 24. It's being billed as the "boldest and most comprehensive effort to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino young men" in the country, Bloomberg's office said in a statement. The program will offer job placement services, fatherhood classes, and training ...


For an apolitical look at the gender salary gap issue, examine the gender imbalances in science and math majors. This from Inside Higher Education: The U.S. Department of Commerce released new data on Wednesday on the gender gap in science and technology fields -- stressing the economic impact on women. The study noted that women hold almost half of all jobs in the United States, but less than 25 percent of those in STEM fields. This trend continues even though women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more, on average, than do women in other fields. And the data ...


An issues that affects boys more than girls gets aired in the LA Times....


From Bluewater Productions. From their press release: COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM; BLUEWATER UNVEILS LESSON PLANS FOR EDUCATORS There was a time that reading a comic book in class was a one-way ticket to detention. However, as educators seek new and innovative ways to inspire learning and comprehension, publisher Bluewater Productions takes the next step in unveiling a series of multi-discipline lesson plans that incorporate graphic novels and, yes, comic books. Developed in partnership with educator and driving force behind the popular resource "The Graphic Classroom" Chris Wilson, educators and librarians can access a free and fully developed lesson plan that ...


Results from England's national test....


From the Edweek story on Baltimore: Baltimore recently has gained attention for cutting its dropout rate in half in just three years and actually bringing students back into school. Specifically, Maryland's state department of education reports that the Baltimore district's dropout rate declined from 9.37 percent in the 2006-07 school year to 4.07 percent in 2009-10. Middle school absences have dropped significantly, as well. Suspensions are part of that story. Three years ago, the school district handed out suspensions liberally to deal with a challenging student population that often performs well below grade level. In the 2006-07 school ...


Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up, offers up a lively analysis of the salary gender gap....


From the article: Department of Education research shows 70 percent of students getting D's and F's are boys. 80 percent of high school dropouts are too, and the same percentage of those with behavioral problems are boys. Studies say boys mature more slowly than girls, and learn in different ways. There's the age-old argument that boys are distracted enough by girls that it interrupt learning. Dallas officials looked at the success of the Irma Rangel all-girls school - rated exemplary every year since it opened - and said if it works for girls, why not for boys? Kendell Keeter's daughter ...


Developing a love of reading on a broad scale may be mission impossible, argues this Chronicle commentator....


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