September 2011 Archives

The slippage in education and earnings potential among males has triggered some "marriageable mate" problems that will be new to everyone (except African Americans, who are all too familiar with the dilemma). Here's an angle I never thought of before: What are the economic implications on a macro level? On Oct. 4 a panel at American Enterprise Institute will debate those implications. On the panel is W. Bradford Wilcox from the National Marriage Project, who does good work on these issues. The program description from AEI: Not so long ago, rapid population growth was widely regarded as a threat to ...


David Chadwell posts an interesting question: If gender differences are routinely researched in the medical community, why not among educators? From the Fox News piece: Women not only live longer than men, they also appear to be in more robust health. A new hypothesis offers a reason why: it's in their genes. And, in Psychology Today, a response to the critical comments from Leonard Sax: The article we published last week in Science has received much attention in the press (e.g., NY Times, Washington Post, etc.), and for good reason. Contrary to what Leonard Sax has led many parents, ...


Interesting website run by author James Patterson. An interview with Patterson at CNN: Speaking of boys, here's how to get reluctant readers -- er, boys -- reading and loving it. First, try to understand that boys can be a little squirrelly when it comes to reading, and what's squirrelly about them needs to be praised and encouraged. Boys should be made to feel all squishy inside about reading graphic novels, comics, pop-ups, joke books, and general-information tomes -- especially the last. GuysRead.com has categories such as "Robots," "How to Build Stuff," "Outer Space, but with Aliens," and "At Least ...


New York Times profiles Reading, a small city with the nation's highest poverty rate. Sad story, but it is instructive to see how the male/breadwinner, education gap and marriageable mate issues play out in a place like Reading: Young men have been particularly hard hit. Because they are having trouble competing for jobs, they are dropping out of the labor force, leaving women to support the children. ... Lower education generally means higher poverty. About a fifth of people ages 25 to 34 with only a high school diploma in the United States were poor last year, compared with just ...


Advocates for single sex schooling, both educators and parents, are making their argument. In this article, we hear from some parents in Tampa: While some parents, like Leath, specifically sought out the single-gender option, others with students already enrolled at those east Tampa schools simply embraced the change. And they've seen a difference, too. Take Franklin eighth-grader Aaron Harper's mother said he still makes straight A's, just like last year. The difference now, without girls around, Aaron tells his mom: less "heckling" in the hallways so he stays focused. For Geralyn Leath, too, the benefits have extended beyond the classroom. "When...


Given that single sex schools appear to be the only policy solution currently on the table to stabilize the academic aspiration plateau we've seen among boys, the debate over the science -- or lack of science -- behind separating the sexes is an important one. David Chadwell, who oversees South Carolina's ambitious single sex program, weighs in with some personal thoughts. Definitely worth a read. One excerpt: 2a. Little Evidence of Academic Advantages. COMMENT First, single-gender education does not have to be better than coeducation. It shouldn't be worse though. This is why schools should conduct reviews of their programs. ...


Sax was singled out in the piece, which portrayed the logic behind single sex education as 'pseudoscience.' The piece is riddled with errors, says Sax: On September 23 2011, the journal Science published an article entitled "The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling." I received the prepublication galleys the first week of September 2011. On Monday September 5 2011, I sent an urgent e-mail to the senior editors at Science, informing them that the article "is filled with astonishing errors of fact which invalidate the main thrust of the article -- astonishing in that errors of fact of this mangitude usually ...


An ebook by Tavis Smiley to match his PBS special on the crisis facing black males is out: Too Important to Fail: Saving America's Boys. An article about both the book and TV series. From the Amazon description: Too Important to Fail: Saving America's Boys is the companion volume to TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS PBS special which is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of its American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen initiative. It examines an undeclared crisis in America--the staggering dropout rate among young black males. In countless urban schools the graduation rate has plummeted to less ...


This article could shift the debate on single sex education, which over the past several years has enjoyed wide support among educators. Due mostly to the declining academic performance of boys, school districts have been ramping up their single sex offerings. The strategy is based on the conventional wisdom that boys and girls learn in very different ways -- a notion that has come under increasing fire. Here's the NYT on the report. And here's the Washington Post's take on the Science article questioning the logic behind single sex education. It includes a response from single sex advocate Leonard Sax, ...


Then buckle up, because they are about to get steeper, according to projections from the U.S. Department of Education. A short just filed by the Chronicle of Higher Education: The Education Department's statistical arm has released a new forecast suggesting that total college enrollment will increase by 13 percent from 2009 to 2020. Enrollments are expected to grow the fastest for students age 25 to 34, at 21 percent, and enrollment for Hispanic students will increase by 46 percent. The report, from the National Center for Education Statistics, projects that enrollment for women will increase by 16 percent, doubling ...


That's the argument that Pink Brain, Blue Brain author Lise Eliot and coauthors make in Science. Here's a podcast version. Here's another take on the study from ABC. Write the coauthors: The strongest argument against SS education is that it reduces boys' and girls' opportunities to work together in a supervised, purposeful environment. When teachers make children's sex salient, students choose to spend less time interacting with other-sex peers (25). Even in coeducational schools, boys and girls spend considerable time with same-sex peers, which exaggerates sex-typed behaviors and attitudes. Boys who spend more time with other boys become increasingly aggressive (27),...


The one-on-one tutoring program aimed at young students who have fallen behind in reading -- and boys would dominate that group -- continues to proliferate. From their website: Growth Reading Partners strives to reach more children in need by expanding both within existing communities and to other high-need urban areas. Students Grown from 100 in 2003 to 1,928 in 2010-11 Growing to 2,800 in 2011-12 Volunteers Grown from 80 in 2003 to 2,888 in 2010-11 Growing to over 3,000 in 2011-12 California Partner Schools Grown from 1 in 1999 to 48 in 2011-12 Washington, D.C. ...


Slate reports that the side arguing men are finished won the debate at NYU, based on audience polling. From Slate: Rosin, the author of last summer's Atlantic cover story "The End of Men," used her opening statement to argue that men are through dominating because they've failed to adapt to a postmodern economy that places a higher premium on traditionally feminine attributes (consensus-building, social intuition, empathy, and communication skills). Men have narrow, inflexible ideas of what it means to be a man, and thus have pigeonholed themselves into dying industries. Women, on the other hand, are more flexible and malleable ...


The interesting study by Fordham Foundation on what happens to high achieving middle schoolers as they transition to high school (an alarming number take a performance dip) can be broken out by gender, as U.S. News shows. We already know that lower achieving boys suffer most during that transition, a phenomenon known as the 9th grade bulge. Now we know something similar happens at the top end. From U.S. News: Although minorities were underrepresented among high achievers, high-performing minorities tended to stay more stable than high-performing white students. Boys' performances suffered more often than girls' performances during the ...


Education professor Ali Carr-Chellman appears on NPR to explain her theories about how schools are not designed for boys. They get the message that their rough-and-tumble world is forbidden and conclude that school is for girls, she argues. Her solution:Let's introduce some video games to school. I've blogged about her before. I agree that boys conclude that school is not for them. And I agree that video games are not the villain. I'm less sure that the rough and tumble issue is at the core, however. Schools have never tolerated rowdiness, even back in the days when boys were ...


Want to know why we see such poor reading and writing scores among 17-year-olds, just as they need them the most to take advantage of post-secondary training and education they need? Listen to Hirsch, who lays it out in a Times commentary: Cognitive psychologists agree that early childhood language learning (ages 2 to 10) is critical to later verbal competence, not just because of the remarkable linguistic plasticity of young minds, but also because of the so-called Matthew Effect. The name comes from a passage in the Scriptures: "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall ...


Great title to what looks to be an interesting book, as the Times review lays out. Author Ralph Richard Banks dispels what the reviewer calls a popular perception that black women are too choosy. Where does that come from? Sitcoms and Hollywood, I suspect. The correct answer, of course is the economic reality of the marriageable mate dilemma: Black women significantly outperform black men in high school and college. As a result, the black middle class is disproportionately female and the black poor are disproportionately male, and the gap is widening. Extraordinary rates of incarceration for black men, and the ...


Fuggedaboutit, argues RiShawn Biddle in this Dropout Nation piece, which cites the USA Today commentary we wrote together: Meanwhile the Alexander plan fails to deal with the reality that accountability needs to be expanded, not scaled back. The need to force the overhaul of ed schools, who train most of the nation's new teachers, is still critical to the reform of American public education. Yet the Alexander plan is silent on that issue. Nor do Alexander's proposals address the crisis of low educational achievement among young men of all backgrounds, one of the leading symptoms of the education crisis. As ...


In Slate, Christina Sommers offers her take on Hanna Rosin's views. It's well written and worth a read, as is Rosin's piece. Men still rule the risk-taking and scientific endeavors that are so key our society, Sommers argues. True enough, but why are we letting so many of those males slip away? And why are we doing so little to encourage more females to take on those challenges? For ideological reasons, I can see why Sommers and Rosin can't be on the same side in the upcoming debate. But I still argue that the two "sides" are designed more to ...


Interesting piece in Time about worries in France about boys falling behind in school. Is it due to the disappearing male teacher? Like other western countries, France has seen an increasing feminization of education over the past 60 years. The rate of women teachers in primary schools went from 65% in 1954 to more than 82% nowadays. In private schools it peaked recently at 91%. In secondary education, the gap is still present, although less extreme. Like other western countries, France has seen an increasing feminization of education over the past 60 years. The rate of women teachers in primary ...


That's a question I come across often. Look around you, urge the leaders of the national feminist organizations. Men rule the White House, Congress and the Fortune 500. How bad can it be? To me, that fact of life had little to do with the relatively recent problem of boys lagging in school. But the question has to be answered, and Atlantic writer Hanna Rosin, author of 'The End of Men' and a panelist in the upcoming debate on this issue, answers the question in a Slate piece worth reading: Rosin: The question I always have to respond to is, ...


Given the plight of black males, this is appropriate. My caveat, as always, is that what ails black boys ails all boys, only to a greater degree. Therefore, when interventions are designed along racial lines, rather than gender lines, they are likely to fall short. For some reason, probably related to political correctness, it is perfectly acceptable to compare black boys to white boys, but unacceptable to compare black boys to black girls. And yet, at least half the formula to unlocking the problems we see among black males is found in the latter comparison. A smart argument (one that ...


At first I assumed Slate was running a spoof article but no, this is the real deal, a debate at NYU between some interesting parties, including Hanna Rosin, author of the Atlantic cover story 'The End of Men' and Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "The War Against Boys. Sign up here. From the Slate article: The debate proposition is "men are finished." What does that actually mean? A modern, post-industrial economy that seems better suited to women than men has led many experts to wonder if men are being permanently left behind. Education and employment statistics point to a clear ...


Once again, the emasculation of men is everywhere you look on fall TV, leaving some to speculate that this is a new theme -- or perhaps a theme generated by Hanna Rosin's influential Atlantic cover story, The End of Men, now coming your way as a book. Actually, Rosin's articles probably did spark some new emasculated men scripts, which she lists in her Atlantic blog. Even the kiddie shows are struggling over how to portray men, as the WSJ pointed out. And when a magazine tries to celebrate the "good man," it gets mocked. Truth is, this kind of portrayal ...


The book has a slightly changed cover and a new introduction, which leads off: At first glance, it might appear that the "boy troubles" are on their way to being solved. Much has changed since the original publication of Why Boys Fail nearly two years ago, and many of those changes appear positive. Two years ago, the suggestion that boys were in trouble and falling behind in school was hotly debated, with national feminist groups denying boys were in trouble. After the book was published I debated doubters at the National Press Club, at a panel at the American Enterprise ...


(This piece is also running today in The Dallas Morning News; link requires registration) ............... Richard Whitmire: What's behind education's 'boy problems'? Oregon recently announced that 6,800 high school seniors were at risk of being denied diplomas because they were unable to pass the state reading test. Here's a fact that wasn't included in the news: 3,900 of those students are males, 2,900 females. An oddity? Probably not, given that boys continue to fall behind girls in reading, according to a 50-state survey released earlier this year by the Center on Education Policy. These academic gender gaps are ...


You'll see it in President Obama's upcoming speech about proposals for creating jobs. The White House is all too aware of the growing political disaffection of working-class white males. Absent job creation, Obama has little hope of winning that group. Why? Because of social and economic trends that are mostly beyond the power of the White House to shape. Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson captured the dilemma in his Sunday column: We are only now beginning to understand the toll this economy has taken on America's workers -- and on our working men in particular. A stunning study from Michael ...


This is a fascinating issue, and one that can be seen mostly clearly in the U.K., where they collect data on that subgroup. In this country, the accountability system is geared more for minorities and poverty. Again, we have the national test in the U.K., the GCSE, as a data guide. In this story in the Telegraph, a British think tanker takes apart the numbers: At the very bottom of the pile are poor white boys, a result that some people might find surprising. That's partly because we are looking at GCSE results here. At the start of ...


In this article in the Telegraph, the reporter suggests a reason behind the widening gender gaps recently revealed in national testing in the U.K.: a paucity of male teachers in primary schools: Data from the General Teaching Council for England shows that some 27 per cent of primaries - 4,569 - are staffed entirely by women. Men make up just one-in-eight teachers working in primary schools and only 48 are currently employed in state-run nurseries. The disclosure comes amid concerns that a lack of positive male role models may be putting boys off school at a young age ...


Interesting profile of a new boys school in Calgary. I especially like the description of the library: Principal Garry Jones, himself a father of two boys, has already spent much of August inside the school, preparing classrooms and building a unique, boy friendly library. Teachers and kids will choose from a good selection of nonfiction reading, with themes that include bugs, snakes, trucks and dinosaurs, along with plenty of action and adventure novels. Graphic novels, which tell stories with large, animated pictures similar to comic strips, will also fill shelves. Jones says he's taken up the challenge of meeting boys' ...


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