Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gender Gap in American Schools

USA Today published an article about the growing gender gap in college enrollments in the U.S. (Link). The thesis is that in seeking to encourage girls, we have overcorrected and made things tough for boys. I had to reply:

In response to the growing tilt toward women in higher education, Ms. Marklein quotes Michael Gurian as suggesting that schools should offer more things boys (supposedly) like, such as sports. If you have read any of his books, you know that Gurian also thinks boys are naturally rowdy and violent. Hey, why not reinstate rumbles as a way of settling playground disputes? Gurian obviously never visited schools in Europe or Japan, or he would have realized that his assumptions are ridiculous.

For much of our history, the children most in jeopardy in our schools have not been girls, but gentle and considerate boys. They are considered weaklings or “fairies”, even by their teachers. They have never been safe from bullying or outright assault, and are the most likely children to be victimized by adults. Forget being a good student: for a boy, that is the kiss of death.

Decades of consciousness-raising have made schools today more girl-friendly. But the same reforms have, incidentally, made them more friendly to boys who don’t act like savages. If this makes things harder on boys of the old school, isn't that a worthwhile trade-off? Let parents teach them better values, and maybe boys will make a comeback.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since our schools are failing overall, it almost seems irrelevant whether one group or another is doing "better".

October 21, 2005 9:14 AM  

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