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Newkirk on Writing Standards

Want an example of how more intense reading and writing standards have been pushed into the lower grades, affecting boys more than girls? Here's an Education Week essay by writing expert Thomas Newkirk, author of Misreading Masculinity, a must-read for anyone studying the gender gap.

The new common core writing standard for second graders, quoted in his commentary:

"Write informative and explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, present similar information together using headers to signal groupings when appropriate, and provide a concluding sentence or section."

Comments Newkirk:

While a few students may be able to accomplish this independently, the standard is wildly beyond the range of most 2nd graders, particularly boys, unless the activity is made into a formula with boxes to be filled in (and I fully expect these boxes are being created in curricular material as I write).

Again, why should anyone in New York City be surprised that girls are dominating the early grades gifted classes?

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