My commentary in Education Week about the problems some sports programs raise. The top: Emphasizing Sports Over Academics Sets Up Black Boys to Lose By Richard Whitmire A little-noticed controversy played out in the District of Columbia schools recently that highlights a rarely discussed reason African-American boys lag so far behind in academics: sports. That sounds wrongheaded, doesn't it? After all, conventional wisdom holds that sports are supposed to keep at-risk boys interested in school and out of trouble. But in fact, sports can have just the opposite effect. The controversy involved Ballou High School Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader , academically ...


I've heard Tom Mortenson, the wise man of the "boy troubles" issue, argue that this is the core issue/tragedy: bad things are happening to men around the world due to (overlapping) shifts in the economy and education. And men are stunned, because they are what they do. Men work because, well, that's what they're supposed to do. It's all they know. And where does that leave men when they lose their job? They lose their core meaning. Here's a new movie, The Company Men, that dips into that painful issue. (I have yet to come across a Tommy Lee ...


Feds are soliciting ideas from the public about successful anti-bullying programs -- an area where, apparently, they lack research. From the press release: The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Task Force announced today that it will begin accepting submissions from the public of field-based practices to combat bullying. Entries that are approved for posting on the website--www.bullyinginfo.org--can include formats ranging from research articles to youth-produced public service announcements (PSAs). All materials and resources posted must be free of charge and hosted on either a government or non-profit website. "We know that many programs are successfully addressing bullying and ...


HISD moves to open up an all-boys school modeled after Chicago's Urban Prep Academy. From the article: "We have to do something to save our young men of today," HISD Trustee Carol Mims Galloway said, noting that too many already have been in jail or are on track to land there. Hard to argue with that. Still, there's no denying that schools like this bleed off the academic leaders, leaving other schools with the hardest-to-educate students. Given the track record of those public schools in most big cities, where more than half of black males never even graduate, it's hard ...


How often do you hear that, unless it has something to do with barbies (no, not the doll) or 'roos' or rugby? I visited Australia while researching Why Boys Fail. Great country, and I'm not just talking about the beer. Australia is way ahead of the world in researching the boy troubles. They haven't solved the issue, in practical terms, but the basic research is a decade ahead of most countries. (Arne Duncan could save himself a lot of time and expense just by 'lifting' their Lighthouse reports and claiming them as made-in-the-USA.) I was wandering around a PISA site ...


This is the same phenomenon we're seeing in major cities in the U.S. -- young women out earning young men, due to the education gap favoring women....


In Britain, the concern is always with poor white boys. Frankly, if we ever dug into the data in this country (which is nearly impossible to do, because the data systems are designed to track by race/ethnicity) we'd find the same. But here, nobody's paying attention to what's happening to white boys from blue collar families. From the article: Data shows white British boys eligible for free meals - the Government's standard measure of deprivation - were the worst performing group, other than those from gipsy and traveller backgrounds. Only 50.1 per cent of these children - 11,375...


This report from British Columbia is sobering, especially the writing results (always the source of the biggest gender gaps, which is a problem, considering that college work demands competent writing skills). From the article: ...at least one trustee was deeply troubled by the male-female gap across all grades. "We're losing a whole bunch of young men," Mickey Kinakin said. "We're getting one more report of this happening and I don't see it being addressed. And it's not just the fault of the school district. It's throughout the whole education system. There's a failure of boys in the public system and ...


Interesting discussion there around a proposed charter school aimed mostly at African American boys. These schools tend to have a good track record, but how much of that is due to admissions skimming and shedding unsuccessful students? Therefore, I'm still looking for the perfect argument for going in that direction. You don't need that school to find an IB curriculum; nor do you need it to find a diverse population. So what is the rationale? This proposal, which includes a non-union staff, is a tough sell in liberal, pro-union cities such as Madison, which elevates the need to settle on ...


Lies in boosting boys' reading scores, suggests this Canadian reporter from the Globe and Mail, the same reporter who recently produced a remarkable series on academic gender gaps in that country. From the article: Girls outperformed boys in reading tests in every country and in every Canadian province. That gap was greatest, close to 10 per cent of total scores, in PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador. "It's time to take a leap and look at what strengths in reading we can bring in particular to our boys," said Denis Mildon, a literacy expert and education consultant. Because they represent close ...


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