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Does Gender Matter?


According to a report released by Duke University researchers, differences in the well-being of boys and girls as tracked over the past two decades are minimal. The report studied 28 social indicators such as poverty rates, family life, and test scores but found that the overall trends were positive for both genders. Critics argue that by averaging all boys and all girls together, serious problems between genders may be overlooked.

Are boys and girls equal in the classroom today? What factors account for differences in student well-being and achievement?


Sometimes an urgency can be created by numbers...here are some significant ones: from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the U.S. Dept of Justice, Office of Justice Programs press release of May 27, 2004
The nation's prisons and jails held 2,078,570 men and women on June 30,2003. The female inmate population was 100,102. Over 95% are men, 5% are women. Is there a difference? Yes. What impact should this data have on early childhood education, public schooling, parenting??

Read Michael Gurion's book "Boys and Girls Learn Differently...". There is a Gurion Institute in Missouri that supports years of research on the subject.

The Duke study’s conclusion that the trends “do not support current claims by many feminists that girls are at a disadvantage, particularly when it comes to educational attainment” ignores the fundamental underpinnings of feminist thought. In fact, the researchers even conclude that they can in no way measure important factors which contribute to their conclusions. ("However, the researchers said they could not measure such intangibles as self-esteem, “a central concept for many feminist scholars who study gender differences.”) The fact that they would STILL conclude some sort of refutation of feminist thought is irresponsible. The real, and more limited, conclusion of this study is that male students seem to failing at a higher rate.

This study relies on several sources of data while ignoring intangible, yet crucial factors, such as relatively masculine dominated school environments. Issues such as girls' self esteem, male on female sexual harassment, and male dominated administration hierarchies are not entirely tangible and cannot be easily measured in terms of raw data.

While the Duke study gathers significant data, its conclusions are too broad. The study is not scientifically controlled in any way (their conclusions based on limited data are a statistics professor’s nightmare), which essentially makes the overall conclusion an interesting FYI at best.

Educators should definitely focus on male achievement levels in schools while also working to break down educational institutions that contribute to discrimination against women and girls. Placing one issue over the other (especially considering the sloppy "scientific" conclusions of this specific study) distracts attention from the real issues facing educators.

No. Females, girls are more succesfull than men in school as well as in professional life in Turkey. But men try them under pressure, because of religion and family traditions. It will pass one day.

The numbers speak for themselves. The boys are clearly on the losing end when it comes to co-gender classrooms. Are math scores are falling behind and our science scores are following the trend.

The feminist response to the problem is that the girls aren’t given the opportunities to excel in these areas. When the real problem is that school have been overly focused upon making sure the girls excel in the classroom not matter what the costs.

The cost is “America is falling behind Europe and East Asian countries in both math and science.” Areas that have been traditionally male arenas.
We don’t need teachers that can teach these subjects. We have plenty of good teachers.
The debate should direct itself in making our boys confident again in these subjects by making teachers aware that boys do learn differently then girls and should be made to feel equally welcome in our classrooms again.

sorry. couldn't help myself.

Regarding the discussion of gender and well-being, it seems someone has neglected to really investigate the full "range of genders." While most people may identify as either male or female, there is a sizeable number for whom gender is not an either/or choice. In my teaching experience, well-being has been an issue much in need of attention for those who do not clearly fall into one of the two main categories of gender.

I do not believe gender was ever an issue in the recent past for girls (maybe slightly in disfavor of boys). As usual ultra feminists are giving the female gender a bad name by disregarding the facts and crying discrimination.

So, if girls are doing so much better in schools than boys why have they historically scores lower on all standardized measurements? Answer that one guys and while you're at it, ponder why it took Title 1X to get equal access to sports? (That one is still not enforced) Gender differences, yes! If you don't beleive that this is evident in our world, you arn't from this planet.

The stigma against "ultra feminists" on this page is laughable. There are no feminists who would argue for girls in schools at the expense of boys in the same classrooms. This isn't a scale where one gender succeeds at the expense of the other - it's not a fight between the two. There is no credible evidence to suggest that efforts over the past 10 years to increase female achievement have hurt males in terms of test scores, grades, or drop-out rates.

This is my whole criticism of the original Duke study in the first place. Both genders (despite advancements by females) still face a variety of unique hurdles in the classroom. We should be focusing on eliminating all of these hurdles, instead of bickering over which gender has it worse.

(A good point made above that not all genders fit neatly into the male and female categories. All the more reason to ignore this constant dichotomy and try to educate each student in their individual learning style.)

Males and females brains are wired differently so I think you will always see a difference in the ways they learn and how they apply it. Until our school systems recognize this and use different methods of teaching, we will always have opinions as to whether biys excel at sports, girls at cooking etc and also why some biys are better in Math and some girls are better in English. All children have the capacity to learn but I believe it is in the style in which they are taught, is what makes them learn.

A good point, that children learn best from different styles, but again, it is not a dichotomy. One boy will learn best in one style, whereas another boy will learn best from a different style. Same goes for girls. I believe it dangerous to keep coming back to these bins, male versus female, when there is so much more to people than just this aspect. There is more to a person than having or lacking that Y chromosome.

Until we recognize the DIFFERENCES there will continue to be bias!

I agree there is bias in education. Until we live in a society that is truly unbiased our schools will continue to operate this way. Men still make more money as shown in comparisons with professions, time on the job, and level of experience. Everyone agrees that this is not right but it remains and hasn't changed much in the last 20 years! Men are still the majority in power positions. Okay, let's just recognize these facts and start changing things.


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