New Education Next Forum: Are Boys Being Shortchanged in K-12 Schooling?



By Education Next 01/15/2010

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Education Next News Alert



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2010

Contact:
Richard Whitmire, richard.whitmire@gmail.com
Donna Tambascio, dtambasc@wellesley.edu, 781-283-2552 [for Susan Bailey]

STANFORD— After decades of concern that girls were being shortchanged in male-dominated schools, there has grown a rising chorus of voices worrying about whether boys are the ones in peril.

In “Gender Gap,” available online and appearing in the forthcoming Spring 2010 issue of Education Next, Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail, and Susan McGee Bailey, principal author of the 1992 report How Schools Shortchange Girls debate whether schools are now shortchanging boys.

Among the points considered by Whitmire and Bailey in the article:

  • Dropout and graduation rates, grades, and many test scores show boys faring poorly compared to girls. They go to college at lower rates and then graduate at lower rates.
  • In 9th grade, where poorly prepared boys first encounter the full force of the college readiness curriculum, there is a bulge of students who are held back to repeat the grade. Nationally there are 113 boys in 9th grade for every 100 girls. Among African Americans, there are 123 boys in 9th grade for every 100 girls.
  • In Minnesota, 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees were earned by women, 69 percent of master’s degrees were earned by women, and 62 percent of associate’s degrees were earned by women.
  • A study tracking graduates of the Boston Public Schools found that, for every 167 women in four-year colleges, there were only 100 men.
  • A considerable number of boys get into selective private colleges due to gender preferences granted males by admissions officers. In November, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced an investigation into the practice.

However,

  • Boys outperform girls in math and science on NAEP.
  • Women outpace men in BA, MA, and PhD completion, but are significantly behind men in MBAs and earn law and medical degrees at slightly lower rates than men.
  • Only 15 of the Fortune 500 companies are headed by female CEOs and women hold only 17 of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate

Read “Gender Gap,” in which Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail, and Susan McGee Bailey, principal author of the 1992 report How Schools Shortchange Girls debate whether schools are now shortchanging boys.

Also online at www.EducationNext.org:

  • Watch “Boys and School”—Education Next editor Mike Petrilli’s video interview with Richard Whitmire.

Richard Whitmire, a former USA Today editorial writer, is author of Why Boys Fail.

Susan McGee Bailey, executive director of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, was principal author of the 1992 AAUW report How Schools Shortchange Girls.




Comment on this article
  • Richard Askey says:

    “there is a bulge of students held back to repeat [ninth]
    grade”. When a student fails in primary or middle school,
    they repeat the grade. In high school, this is not the case.
    They are labeled by grade depending on the number of
    credits they have earned, but they do not have to retake
    courses they passed, unlike what happens in primary
    school. Not having enough credits can slow down
    graduation, so the problem is serious, but not as serious
    as it would be if a student had to repeat the grade.

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