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October 2011 Archives

Building Great Classrooms, One Teacher at a Time

Note: This is a guest post by Darryl Williams, principal of the Brighter Choice Charter Schools for Boys' elementary and middle school programs in Albany, New York. Have you ever visited "that" classroom? You know, the classroom that makes you say, "I wish my son was in this classroom." Scholars are raising their hands; eager to provide answers their beloved teacher has posed. The teacher is systematically and deliberately moving about the room, carefully using opportunities to inspire and motivate the most timid scholars. Scholars smile and "raise the roof," when they provide a "college-bound" response to one of those ...


Introducing a New Guest Blogger

Thanks to John Lee for his contributions. Next up is Darryl Williams, who for the past five years has been the principal of the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys in Albany New York. Brighter Choice is an all-boys public charter school serving a 97% African-American and Latino population. While more than 90% of his scholars qualify for the federal free & reduced lunch program, they consistently post some of the highest pass rates in the state of New York. Darryl holds a Masters Degree in Education Administration and Policy Studies and a Masters Degree in Special Education and Literacy from ...


Women and Engineering

An interesting contribution to the debate over why women shun engineering careers comes from Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research. We know that girls perform as well as boys in the sciences during the high school years. The separation points appear to be when women declare their majors and even later when women with engineering backgrounds commit to careers. From the article in the American Sociological Association: The study found that the real issue for female engineering students is their lack of "professional role confidence." Among other things, this term encompasses people's faith in their ability to go out ...


Failing on Purpose or Socialized to Fail?

Note: This is a guest post by John Michael Lee Jr., PhD., policy director for the Advocacy and Policy Center in the Advocacy, Government Relations and Development unit at the College Board. A recent BBC article asserts that African -Caribbean males are failing on purpose, and advances the notion that educational achievement by African-Caribbean males is deemed as Feminine. The story says: Black schoolboys can choose to perform poorly to avoid undermining their masculinity, the head of the Jamaican Teachers' Association has said. Adolph Cameron said that in Jamaica, where homophobia was a big issue, school success was often seen ...


Reasons to Revisit The Boys Initiative Site

The site has been relaunched, with these features: * a comprehensive online library of recent news articles, articles written by expert contributors,books of interest, and research and studies related to boys' and young men's achievement; * a comprehensive library of facts and figures on challenges boys and young men face; ourstrategic plan for addressing those challenges; * information on our Minority Male Youth 2050 project; and information on our national advocacy network...


A Warning Sign from Korea

Too many college graduates and not enough jobs for them has Koreans worried about the priorities of their education system. Does that mean that treating (some) college is the new high school is the wrong strategy? Korea does stand out as a useful warning, but the U.S. is far from reaching the over-saturation point seen in Korea. And Korea's rote system of learning is not producing the creative workforce needed in the modern economy. Another cautionary note about looking to education as the solution comes in this WSJ commentary: Companies can't find employees to hire because (a) few employees ...


The British Story, Again

The gender gaps in the U.K. seem roughly equivalent to what we're seeing here. The difference is the extent of the awareness. Overseas, the story makes regular appearances in the news. Here, the subject is still considered somewhat exotic -- and controversial. The latest from England: Figures published today by the Department for Education show that girls perform better in every area of early development, including reading, communicating, basic numeracy, social skills and physical awareness. According to statistics, four-in-10 boys cannot write a simple shopping list or a letter to Santa, compared with just a fifth of girls. A ...


TV: A Source of Language Delay?

The debate over video distractions is far from over. The New York Times summarizes the latest from researchers: From the article: "I like to call it secondhand TV," said Dr. Brown, who is the lead author of the guidelines. Studies cited in the guidelines say that parents interact less with children when the television is on, and that a young child at play will glance at the TV -- if it is on, even in the background -- three times a minute. "When the TV is on, the parent is talking less," Dr. Brown said. "There is some scientific evidence ...


Mentoring Minority Males: A Call to Action

Note: This is a guest post by John Michael Lee Jr., PhD., policy director for the Advocacy and Policy Center in the Advocacy, Government Relations and Development unit at the College Board. This past weekend I was a part of taking 19 African American and Latino youth on a college tour to visit Syracuse University and Lemoyne College in Syracuse New York. The young high school students were from schools throughout New York City, and each of them are a part of the Alpha G.E.N.T.S. mentoring program that is operated by the Kappa Xi Lambda Chapter ...


Join the Debate on Single Sex Education

The New York Times is running a forum on single sex education, pegged to the Science article calling the rationale behind the movement "pseudoscience." All the major players were invited to join in. Another spinoff from the freshly charged debate is this take-no-prisoners editorial from the Delaware County Times. Remove single sex as an option? Forget about it, argues the editorial page, which also takes a few jabs at Janet Hyde, a Science co-author and Leonard Sax's debating partner during a National Public Radio segment on the issue. (My evergreen comment on the debate: When everyone discovers that single sex ...


Japan's Answer to the "Skills Gap"

This is worthy of imitation in the United States, and not just for boys. It would give students a clear career goal before finishing high school. From the Washington Post article: The skills gap that troubles Japan is tormenting the United States. Since 2000, the percentage of U.S. young adults ages 20 to 24 with jobs has fallen from 74 percent to 62 percent, a level not seen since the 1930s, according to a 2011 study by Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. It concluded that the "college for all" system that emerged in the United States after World ...


Males and Masculinities in Minority Communities

Note: This is a guest post by John Michael Lee Jr., PhD., policy director for the Advocacy and Policy Center in the Advocacy, Government Relations and Development unit at the College Board. When I look at the challenges that are facing young men of color in this country, it would be impossible to explore the problems that exist with young men of color in both high school and college without exploring the concepts of identities and masculinities. Every time I hear the males of color speak as if they are verbally challenged and with the deepest voice possible, I am ...


Single Sex School Debate Back in the News

Update: Single sex dealt a legal setback in Louisiana. A radio show with Leonard Sax debating one of the authors of the Science article claiming the science behind separating the sexes is "pseudoscience." And AEI's Christina Hoff Sommers steps in to debate the future of single sex education. And an interesting dissent from a University of Texas professor. Don't miss the slap at psychologists. From the piece by Sommers: What do the data say about the pros and cons of single-sex schools? When the Department of Education carried out a systematic review in 2005, it found a muddle of contradictory ...


Young Men of Color: A National Crisis

Note: This is a guest post by John Lee, policy director for the Advocacy and Policy Center in the Advocacy, Government Relations and Development unit at the College Board. Within a generation, the College Board reports, the United States will be a much more diverse nation. In fact, no racial or ethnic group will be a majority in less than half a century, the board says. The fastest-growing populations in the country are those minority groups with the lowest levels of educational attainment—African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native-Americans. The data assures that if present levels of educational attainment and current population...


Notice to Blog Readers: Guest Bloggers Ahead

I've launched into a new book with a tight deadline (You might have thought I'd avoid that, given that the Michelle Rhee book, The Bee Eater, turned into a crash production after Mayor Fenty lost his bid for another term .... but no). To free up time for book research and writing I have invited several guest bloggers to step in with their thoughts on the boy troubles. Most of the guest bloggers will focus on minority males, the area everyone agrees is a very serious problem. That emphasis is especially relevant now that Congress is debating the renewal of No ...


For the Atlantic, Once is Not Enough

Hanna Rosin racked up an Atlantic Magazine hot seller with her, End of Men, soon to become a book. Why stop there? This month the Atlantic gets down to the nitty gritty question everyone wants answered: What does this mean for me? Am I going to land a similarly educated husband? Short answer: Maybe. All but new readers of this blog know that the "marriageable mate" dilemma has long been my forecast of the most significant impact arising from the gender gaps. (Check the categories section of this blog and you'll find a library of information on this issue.) For ...


If Football Sabatoging Boys?

Good question that talented writer Gregg Easterbrook takes on at ESPN. I think he's on to something. When I researched the book on Michelle Rhee I was struck by the attitude many parents -- yes parents -- had about their sons playing football and basketball. Many thought it was more important than academics. Easterbrook has a different take, but reaches the same conclusion: Perhaps female success in college is a reflection of women taking over the world, as Rosin argues here. But why are women taking over the world? Rosin supposes that in the modern knowledge economy, superior college performance ...


The Rochester Discussion Needs to go National

If the Rochester schools are to show improvement, then focus on the awful track record we're seeing among black males. That was the message from this panel, part of the Black Male Initiative: The achievement gap between black and white students -- particularly boys -- has dogged school systems all over the country for decades. A study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education shows that New York has the largest gap between white and black male achievement in the country, with 25 percent of young black men finishing high school compared to 68 percent of white males. In Rochester, ...


William Bennett: 'Culture' Is the Problem

I give the former education secretary points for speaking out in a CNN commentary on an obvious problem: The data does not bode well for men. In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women's earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men. In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. ...


College Experience by Gender

In the Chronicle of Higher Education the president of the College of Saint Benedict lays out some truisms about college life, such as women getting better grades and men more likely to take risks: Clearly, our conclusions about gender must be nuanced, and we would be wise to suspend assumptions about whether women or men are doing better or worse. But there are other areas where nuance isn't necessary to see that we could be more aggressive as educators in challenging gender-stereotyped choices. The commentary, however, seems to presuppose that men and women enter college and graduate from college at ...


Saving the "Lost Boys"

That's the headline of an interesting commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Actually, the point of the commentary is why so little is being done to rescue boys. Author Robert Smith speculates: So why the inaction on the so-called lost boys? One effort seems to have stalled amid apparent lack of interest: a proposal to establish a White House Council on Boys to Men, spearheaded by the author Warren Farrell, who has published several books about gender relations and what he views as the myth of male social advantage. The lack of progress may stem from our sense that ...


Gender Earnings Gap Narrows

That's the good news. The bad news is the narrowing comes about only because male earnings declined. Nice analysis in the NYT: The recession was bad for everyone, but women experienced at least one silver lining: Their median earnings edged a bit closer to men's. The progress was bittersweet, however. It happened not because women earned more, but because men earned less, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data. Median earnings for men, adjusted for inflation, fell by $2,433 -- or 6 percent -- from 2007 to 2010, according to the analysis, by the American Human Development ...


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