It's those annoying BOYS, of course. What are the Finns going to do about falling into third place on the OECD rankings? "Overall, compared to the other countries and areas, the results for Finland are excellent," insisted Jouni Vaelijaervi, the director of the Institute of Educational Research, which administers the PISA tests in Finland. But he also acknowledged that getting Finnish boys more involved in school would probably become a central issue in the future. Kaisa Alanne, the principal of the Sakarinmaeen School in the eastern suburbs of Helsinki, insisted boys were not inherently less interested in reading than girls. "It's...


The International Reading Association weighs in on the international testing released yesterday, including the reading gender gaps. Female students outperformed males in all participating countries, though the size of the difference varied across countries, with the smallest gap found in Colombia and the largest in Albania. "This disparity in reading literacy achievement in favor of females continues a near decade-long pattern established in PISA 2000 and observed consistently in other international reading studies," notes William Brozo (USA), who chairs the International Reading Association (IRA) PISA/PIRLS Task Force, which is charged with interpreting the outcomes of international studies of reading ...


Sandra Stotsky is always worth reading on this issue, but I wish she had included something on the literacy gender gaps. I know she's familiar with the issue. From Education Week (may be password protected)....


Readers of this blog already know the literacy gender gaps are international, at least in industrialized Western countries. Others are about to find out from today's report on international academic achievement comparisons. From the Post article: -- Girls outperform boys in reading in every participating country. The gender reading gap, among the organization's members, was equivalent to about 39 points on the testing scale, or a year of schooling. "In the United States, we're quite used to this" gender gap, said Tom Loveless, an education scholar at the Brookings Institution, "but it turns out that it's a worldwide phenomenon."...


Urban Prep sounds like a huge success story, and I have no doubt it is. But as for their claim of sending 100 percent of their graduates to college, that has to be put in perspective, as Stephanie Banchero does in the Wall Street Journal: At the group's first campus in gang-infested Englewood, 80% of the 150 incoming freshman read at a sixth-grade level or below. Four years later in 2010, 107 graduated from the school and all were accepted to four-year colleges. Three of the other students were expelled and the rest transferred out of Urban Prep, school officials ...


That's the name of a summit taking place over the next two days to imagine how life might be different for black males. From Russell Simmons writing in the Huffington Post: If a black boy is born in the US today, he will have a 33% chance of going to prison in his lifetime. Stated another way - 1 in 3 black boys born today will face prison time. It has become sad normality, almost a backwards rite of passage, for black young men to enter the penal system and never return to our communities. And if we are "lucky" ...


New report from the National Marriage Project lays out who's getting married, who's not -- and who's having babies out of marriage. It's all about education levels, and the gender gaps in education are well documented. From the report: New data indicate that trends in non-marital childbearing, divorce and marital quality in Middle America increasingly resemble those of the poor, many of whose marriages are fragile. However, among the highly educated and affluent, marriage is stable and appears to be getting even stronger - yet more evidence of America's "marriage gap." The report is the first to address the causes ...


Tampa Bay columnist speculates. Focusing on minorities is important. That's where you'll find the steepest gaps. At the same time, however, keep this in mind: among white recipients of four-year degrees, 57 percent are women....


Thanks to the recently launched Boys Initiative blog, I know about Understanding and Raising Boys, a launch from PBSParents. Looks interesting ... and any blog where Geoffrey Canada and Thomas Newkirk serve as advisers is a blog worth reading. (Full disclosure: Canada provided a back cover blurb for my upcoming book on Michelle Rhee, The Bee Eater.) Could the "boy troubles" be crossing an intellectual threshold here?...


The recent studies about black males falling behind in school have one thing in common: they ignore the role sports play in the issue. When parents, coaches and principals allow students to pursue sports absent academic requirements they encourage young men to ignore academics and invest all their ambitions in sports dreams -- dreams that come true for very few athletes. Here's a letter to the editor I wrote, published in today's Washington Post. For background, here's one of the stories published in the Post....


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