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Tilting at Windmills

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June 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE BOY CRISIS....Is our boys learning? Education Sector, an edu-think tank, has examined the NAEP test results of schoolchildren for the past 30 years to find out if there's a "boy crisis," and their answer is a collective shrug:

On the one hand, girls outperform boys in reading at all three grade levels assessed on the main NAEP. Gaps between girls and boys are smaller in fourth grade and get larger in eighth and 12th grades. Girls also outperform boys in writing at all grade levels.

In math, boys outperform girls at all grade levels, but only by a very small amount. Boys also outperform girlsagain, very slightlyin science and by a slightly larger margin in geography. There are no significant gaps between male and female achievement on the NAEP in U.S. history.

So girls do better in some areas and boys in others and the reading gap has been around forever. They also pour some cold water on the recent hysteria over college campuses having more women than men: "Young men are actually more likely to attend and graduate from college than they were in the 1970s and 1980s...But the number of women enrolling in and graduating from college has increased much more rapidly during the same time period." (Emphasis mine.)

However, the report goes on to note that this academic success for women hasn't actually translated into any real-world gains in income, and that the smallish gaps between boys and girls in high school are dwarfed by enormous gaps between ethnic groups something that probably deserves more attention than the boy crisis.

Still, there really do seem to be problems here. Test scores for elementary kids in all subjects have been rising dramatically, and for middle school kids they've been rising a little bit, but by high school the gains disappear for both boys and girls. Since 1988, reading performance among 17-year-olds has been declining steadily among both boys and girls, and it's been dropping for boys at a considerably faster clip. The boy crisis itself may be overblown, but at least in the area of reading and writing, the news is not especially happy.


Kevin Drum 12:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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I think the bigger crisis is that we discriminate against men and whites in college admission. What's the point of trying hard in high school if you'll always be at an admissions disadvantage because of your genitals and race?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 26, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk:

I agree. I think we need Affirmative Action for cases of testosterone poisoning.

ROTFL !

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 26, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Is our boys learning?

Damn well better be. When they grow up, they'll have to be able to make the pie higher so they can put food on their families.

Want some wood?

Posted by: Reprobate on June 26, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Since 1988, reading performance has been declining steadily among both boys and girls, and it's been dropping for boys at a considerably faster clip.

I'm not surprised. As David Brooks explains, the brains of boys and girls work differently. Liberal feminist teachers are using girls books to teach both boys and girls to read. This has hurt boys because boys biologically enjoy reading different types of books than girls. The best solution is to have same sex schools so that boys and girls would be taught differently rather than the one size fit all type of teaching today. This would make it so that each sex can learn the most.

Link

"Researchers in Britain asked 400 accomplished women and 500 accomplished men to name their favorite novels. The men preferred novels written by men, often revolving around loneliness and alienation. Camus's "The Stranger," Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" and Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" topped the male list. The women leaned toward books written by women."

"Dr. Leonard Sax, whose book "Why Gender Matters" is a lucid guide to male and female brain differences, emphasizes that men and women can excel at any subject. They just have to be taught in different ways. Sax is a big believer in single-sex schools, which he says allow kids to open up and break free from gender stereotypes. But for most kids it would be a start if they were assigned books they might actually care about. For boys, that probably means more Hemingway, Tolstoy, Homer and Twain."

Posted by: Al on June 26, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

The problems we are seeing in some areas of achievement are simply a reflection of how inadequate our education system is in dealing with a new American society.

Remember this current system was designed, what, 150 years ago. Most of the changes have been band-aids thoroughly unable to deal with what is happening in our culture. Jeez, even our school calendar is base on 19th century agrarian needs.

So yeah, there are weird and inexplicable outcomes. And the stresses will continue to build until we decide to do a top down revision of both our expectations and our methodology.

Posted by: Keith G on June 26, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow, it's all the lesbians' fault.

Posted by: Tom Coburn on June 26, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney's Third Nipple:

And even more importantly -- what *is* the clitoris and why its function is not mechanically analogous to an elevator button :)

Maybe if they learned that it worked just like a *tiny little* penis, they'd feel less threatened by it :)

Oops, my Chippendales are at the door. Catch ya all later.

Posted by: Ann Coulter's twelve-speed dildo on June 26, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Still, there really do seem to be problems here. Test scores for elementary kids in all subjects have been rising dramatically, and for middle school kids they've been rising a little bit, but by high school the gains disappear for both boys and girls.

This doesn't seem surprising. When they are small, kids are really interested in school and learning, and their time is much more controlled by their parents. By the time kids are teenagers, they are aware of many many more distractions (including all the trauma of being a teenager) and so things go south much more easily.

Posted by: craigie on June 26, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

But will the government ever address this most fundamental education issue facing our high school boys: where, exactly, is the clitoris?

Every time one of our High School teachers tried to address this vital issue, lawyers appeared. Goddamn conservatives and their activist lawsuits!

Posted by: craigie on June 26, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point of trying hard in high school if you'll always be at an admissions disadvantage because of your genitals and race?

I have taught in a public high school for twenty some years. I never heard a middle class white guy use that excuse. Usually it more like:

1)I worked at Burger Biggie last night til mid night. I have to work to pay ff my truck note.

2)We partied all weekend. Im still wasted.

Hawk-

Try not to act like a partisan hack

Posted by: Keith G on June 26, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Camus's "The Stranger," Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" and Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" topped the male list. The women leaned toward books written by women."

I know three people who regard "The Catcher in the Rye" as their favorite book.

All three are women.

Posted by: Reprobate on June 26, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of crap is this, you can't have it both ways...

The "boy crisis" is not important blah blah blah blah

Oh, and they don't read or write very well blah blah blah blah blah blah...

Most schools are not boy-friendly places, especially in the early years. It doesn't show up as much on the tests because the expectations are so low at the lower grade levels.

However, eventually, the fact that our schools are set up to "turn off" intellectual curiosity except for a few that see themselves as on the "college track" shows up across all subject areas - especially reading.

Reading and writing are corrolated - so destroying peoples interest in the written word pays back "double dividends." It also keeps people from benefiting from textbooks on any other subject.

The studies you cite showing no "economic gains" intellectually dishonest.

These are LABOR issues and have little or nothing to do with education!

Our school systems are perfectly designed to disengage young learners. In emphasizing the needs of girls, the needs of boys have become lost. Advances in education do not help earning power unless we also talk about labor issues.

You are playing this dishonest game -- decry the economic earnings of girls, whom now represent more than half of all post-secondary students, and blame it on the dysfunctional school system that could never have solved wage inequity in the first place.

And then you use that to continually bang schools over the head, proclaiming, "gee - there isn't really a boy problem"

VERY DISHONEST OF YOU

Posted by: anonymous on June 26, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I've always thought this was more of a class issue than a gender one. Boys for years could make a good living in a blue-collar job without even a high school diploma. By the '70's, the diploma became necessary, since 90 % of the population had 'em. In the last 20 years, those blue-collar jobs have largely disappeared. (Forever, not just to China or Mexico.) Thus, it's much more important to get a college degree. In my experience, blue-collar parents were much more likely to send their daughters to higher education, both to marry up and because pink-collar jobs don't pay very well. Since the 80's, however, the importance of a college degree has gone up exponentially. Unless the boy is one of the tiny number of computer geniuses who can write brilliant codes at 16, he's going to need a degree, but likely his family hasn't put the emphasis on schooling that those higher up the income scale do.

I realize this is anecdotal, but at my older son's elementary school, which is, oddly, racially diverse but monolithically upper-middle-class, boys and girls are evenly distributed in the advanced reading classes. One of his friends, however, attends a much less affluent school, and Chandler is the ONLY boy in his advanced reading class, which means he's the only boy in advanced reading in his grade. I'm not sure what to do about this, but we do need to address it as a class issue more than an across the board gender problem.

Posted by: Karen on June 26, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see: American society devalues education, puts sports above all, allows "smart" kids to be physically beaten on the playground, and elects as President a guy who works very hard to conceal his Harvard education and who openly humiliates anyone who works for him who holds a PhD. But we wonder why our test scores tail off at the 7th-8th grade level.

Guess we aren't very smart, are we? Otherwise we could figure that out. Wonder why....

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 26, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Is our boys learning?

Kevin, shame on you. With an opening line like that, could the answer be: Apparently not?

Posted by: jcricket on June 26, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

The crisis is not in education but in a culture that worships a President who got there solely on the basis of the accident of his birth. Yale. Harvard MBA!

Posted by: nut on June 26, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Looking at the article's graph some q's occur to me?

Why the lack of data between 1999 and 2004?

How much significance is there in a point or eight points on the testing? Is there a discernible difference in the ability to read an article in the Washington Monthly if I scored 4 points lower than you on a test one day?

Are more people tested now than in 1999 that have handicaps thereby lowering the average?

There's little to argue over about the importance of education or the "feeling" that there has been a decline over the years in reading abilities or that there is a gender gap.

But has there been a statistically significant decline? I can't tell from this one chart without more understanding of the test: how it is given and how it is scored.

Posted by: Gary Seckinger on June 26, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Still, there really do seem to be problems here.

What problem? The test scores you have posted show a difference of at the most (in boys) 7 points over three decades on a test with 500 points. Never mind the fact that the testing system is self-reinforcing and doesn't measure success--we have the data on women's scores to prove that--those who insist on "accountability" will grab at any niggling test score to prove their point and make their own specific claim. The original claim, that boys were getting stupider, was bunk, and these new test results show nothing, because the data used to make the original claim and the new claim are both negligible results of the bunk accountability project.

About the clitoris question: anecdotal evidence suggests that boys are much more knowledgeable than I ever was.

Posted by: jim on June 26, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think preparing kids for college is overrated anyway. After all, unless they are the "right" kind of kids they won't be able to afford college anyway. Kids who are not can join the all "volunteer" army and go to Iraq.

Actually the issue is important. It is an old topic and looking at the chart, one that hasn't changed much over the years.

That boys lag behind girls in reading has always been understandible. Boys are encouraged to "do things," run, jump, build stuff etc. Girls are encouraged to form tight social groups, groups that are verbal. While Johnny is out playing ball Jennie is in reading a book to her friends. People are surprised that Jennie is a better reader.

The problem is that, except for the army, our society no longer has enough run, jump, build stuff jobs to insure Johnny has a job that pays sufficiently well to enable him to raise a family.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 26, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

Books that are most often taught in grades 8-12.

Catcher in the Rye
Fahrenheit 451
A Separate Peace
1984
Animal Farm
The plays of William Shakespeare
The Crucible
Huckleberry Finn
Catch 22
Cry the Beloved Country
The Old Man and the Sea
Native Son
Cat's Cradle
Lord of the Flies

Notice anything?

Oh, and To Kill A Mockingbird

Posted by: Jose Padilla on June 26, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk- Try not to act like a partisan hack

Way, way too late.

Posted by: craigie on June 26, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not surprised by this piece of agitprop. The author, Sara Mead, spends a lot of time spinning the results to her liking, but as we saw, the same degree of gender difference was enough to launch the Carol Gilligan "girl's movement" which metastasized into a wholesale reformation of the nation's school systems.

It's interesting to watch the rapid decline, in the 1990s, of the predictive validity of HS GPA to college performance, while the predictive validity of the SAT remained very steady. What's happened to grading, which is now disproportionately rewarding girls over boys, that has eroded its ability to reflect content mastery?

Also, take a look at the staffing of the Institute that put out this report - they're definitely not an independent group of scholars.

Sara Mead: Senior Policy Analyst - Mead was an education policy analyst with the Progressive Policy Institute, where she remains a non-resident fellow. She has also worked for the U.S. Department of Education and the Gore 2000 Presidential Campaign.

Andrew J. Rotherham: Founder - Rotherham previously served at The White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. . . and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. . . . In addition, he serves on advisory boards and committees for numerous organizations and institutions including the American Academy for Liberal Education, The Broad Foundation, Citizens Commission on Civil Rights, Common Good, . . .

Elena Silva: Senior Policy Analyst - Silva comes to Education Sector after four years as the director of research for the Association of American University Women, where she led a number of national research projects on gender equity in education and the workplace.

It's also very interesting how they disproportionately devote a lot of good news time to the scores of 9 year olds, a time when environmental uniformity is easier to maintain when compared to the divergence we see from older teens.

There's a lot more to say about this report, and this topic, but it's quite clear that this report wasn't intended for a neutral audience, rather it's purpose is to bolster the liberal/feminist shock troops into standing their ground. Too bad that these shock troops don't use the same criteria today that they used when there was a girl crisis.

Posted by: TangoMan on June 26, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Of the top of my head, I can think of four or five long-term careers that don't require a college education where you can make a decent living. Most of these are in the building trades, where the barriers to entry are very high for women and almost non-existent for men.

Women have more incentive than men to seek a college degree because for many of them, a college degree is necessary (but not sufficient) for a job with decent pay and upward mobility.

Posted by: Mike on June 26, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, Rush Limbaugh was nationally syndicated in 1988. Coincidence, or did we suddenly begin to turn stupid?

It was lead pipes for the Romans...

Posted by: S Ra on June 26, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

What I find to be the most disturbing information in these test is the fact that no one scored above 60%.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 26, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

My view is that high school grades disproportionately reward work over talent, and obedience over intelligence. Both are important, make no mistake. It also rewards verbal skills over non-verbal. Girls are more verbal, at all stages, on average. And boys are more spatial, in the same statistical way. School is a lot more verbal than spatial, though.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on June 26, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. . . .I think the real "crisis" here is not a "boy" crisis. This is just a symptom of larger social shifts. The real "crisis" here, is that in the past 30 or 40 years, the role of men in society has changed, and keeps on changing. Unfortunately, a lot of men are still "behind the curve". And this "boy crisis" is a reflection of that.
Anne G

Posted by: Anne Gilbert on June 26, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

CTN: But will the government ever address this most fundamental education issue facing our high school boys: where, exactly, is the clitoris?

If you're not sure what to do with it, we have patience and understanding. If you can't even find it, there may be no helping you.

Tom Coburn: Somehow, it's all the lesbians' fault.

Are you still mad that we refused to party with you after that Sooners victory?

Posted by: Hot Lesbian Cheerleaders on June 26, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal feminist teachers are using girls books to teach both boys and girls to read.

This has to be a joke. The stupidity of this comment has to rank among Al's best (or worst). According to Al, every early-grammar school teacher is

a) female,
b) liberal
and c) a feminist.

What, no lesbians, Al? This includes red states, too, right, Al? You take a reasonable premise, that boys and girls are "wired" to learn differently, and completely butcher it. Calling you a partisan hack would be a disservice to partisan hacks.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 26, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Al: Liberal feminist teachers are using girls books to teach both boys and girls to read.

MeLoseBrain?: This has to be a joke. The stupidity of this comment has to rank among Al's best (or worst).

No joke. It's likely that Al is referencing this report from the Washington Post:

It has long been known that there are strong differences between boys and girls in their literary preferences. According to reading interest surveys, both boys and girls are unlikely to choose books based on an "issues" approach, and children are not interested in reading about ways to reform society -- or themselves. But boys prefer adventure tales, war, sports and historical nonfiction, while girls prefer stories about personal relationships and fantasy. Moreover, when given choices, boys do not choose stories that feature girls, while girls frequently select stories that appeal to boys.

Unfortunately, the textbooks and literature assigned in the elementary grades do not reflect the dispositions of male students. Few strong and active male role models can be found as lead characters. Gone are the inspiring biographies of the most important American presidents, inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs. No military valor, no high adventure. On the other hand, stories about adventurous and brave women abound. Publishers seem to be more interested in avoiding "masculine" perspectives or "stereotypes" than in getting boys to like what they are assigned to read.

At the middle school level, the kind of quality literature that might appeal to boys has been replaced by Young Adult Literature, that is, easy-to-read, short novels about teenagers and problems such as drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism, domestic violence, divorced parents and bullying. Older literary fare has also been replaced by something called "culturally relevant" literature -- texts that appeal to students' ethnic group identification on the assumption that sharing the leading character's ethnicity will motivate them to read.

There is no evidence whatsoever that either of these types of reading fare has turned boys into lifelong readers or learners. On the contrary, the evidence is accumulating that by the time they go on to high school, boys have lost their interest in reading about the fictional lives, thoughts and feelings of mature individuals in works written in high-quality prose, and they are no longer motivated by an exciting plot to persist in the struggle they will have with the vocabulary that goes with it.

Posted by: TangoMan on June 26, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I really can't common about this. Accoridng to the standardized tests we've taken since Kindergarten my Reading Comprehension was ALWAYS listed as Post-Secondary-Level. And I think that is important. If you can read really well, then it's VERY hard to understand someone who can't. It's not that you think less of them, but you don't understand how some people could have the trouble because you find it so simple.

Posted by: MNPundit on June 26, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Reading scores since 1996 of those about the enter adulthood, USA: girls down a couple of points, boys significantly.

I wonder if this pattern is to be found in India, China, Japan, Britain, or Germany.

I wonder if an absence of improvement in reading ability of this population should be yawned at.

I wonder this pattern of stagnation and decline has anything whatever to do with assigning boy books or girl books, or if this variable, whatever its explanatory power, has changed at all since 1996.

Posted by: totallyunconcerned on June 26, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

That was not a "report" from the Washington Post. That was an opinion piece run in the Washington Post.

Posted by: S Ra on June 26, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

in 1971 girls were 191 and in 2004 they were 292--a change of one point and not very significant

in 1971 boys were 279 and in 204 they were 278
- a change of one point and not very siginficant.

From this data you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Posted by: spencer on June 26, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

But to have legs a crisis need not be an actual crisis. I can't tell about this one.

Do we remember that report "A Nation in Crisis" or whatever it was called from the 1980s? As it happens, test scores and academic performance had actually been rising since the first cohorts of the generation that began being born in the earlier 1960s entered grade school, and kept rising as they entered middle and high school. But you wouldn't have known it from the news media, or the edu-wonks.

Posted by: Linus9 on June 26, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Young men are actually more likely to attend and graduate from college than they were in the 1970s and 1980s...But the number of women enrolling in and graduating from college has increased much more rapidly during the same time period."

That line is such a dodge, and typical of both the story and the report it's based on. The issue is whether boys are doing seriously worse than women. Comparing today's boys to yesterday's boys doesn't is kind of beside the point.

Posted by: Christopher Fotos on June 26, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I have *writing* comprehension problems.

Posted by: Christopher Fotos on June 26, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Surprisingly flat curve. Where's the "education crisis" the right-wing whackos like to prattle on about? Doesn't show here.

Posted by: CN on June 26, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Video games. Hip hop culture. Anti-intellectualism. These are just as important in explaining why boys don't like to read, across cultural/ethnic groups.

Boys do like "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card.

Society got serious about education in the mid 1950's and it paid off. If we want an educable workforce, we could do it again. But it would take money and federal coordination.

Posted by: Mimikatz on June 26, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

My 9-year-old son doesn't have a video game console, nor a TV in his bedroom. But I don't know of any other boys in his grade who don't have both.

In fourth grade, my son was reading at a high school level. His male classmates -- not so much. They're playing video games for hours daily.

Posted by: Holdie Lewie on June 26, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

One important point is that inner city boys are doing very badly, which deserves something more than a shrug from everyone.

I'd hate to be a boy today, it's got to be nearly impossible to have fun and be happy when normal behavior, video games or "over activity," is constantly pathologized and used to stigmatize by parents and authorities, as is correctly responding to this maltreatment with "oppositional defiance"

(Google "ODD" to see the stupidity).

Posted by: jerry on June 26, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

First, some people commenting don't seem to understand that the graph shows means with no info about variability. Second, I don't see why you say that female scores have declined since 1988 (292 vs 294 isn't much difference). Third, significance of such small differences arises due to the very large sample size. Fourth, males do seem to have more of a problem than females with reading and the gap has widened.

In CA, the decline in reading is directly related to more non-native speakers in the schools. Are there perhaps a larger percentage of males among immigrant children or disadvantaged children? I don't know the answer to that, but it would be an explanation for this gap that would have nothing to do with gender differences per se. I do know that Hispanic girls are more likely to drop out or to be withheld from school than boys (to care for younger children while parents work or to take unskilled jobs because education for women is not considered necessary). That alone would produce such a gap if this were CA data.

Posted by: Nancy on June 26, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jose Padilla,

Books that are most often taught in grades 8-12.

(a list of works all authored by men follows)

Funny, you somehow dropped a whole suite of books high school students have to read. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen rings a bell (not to mention her other books). Hmmm..any others by female authors...oh yeah that's right...Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. And doesn't she have a sister? Yep, that's right Charlotte Bronte who penned Jane Eyre.

Hmmm...I'm wondering if your selective list dropped any other female writers who are on the standard reading list for grades 8-12. Emily Dickenson, anyone? I seem to remember reading lots of her poems. hmmm....

How about the novels Silas Marner and Middlemarch? Don't be fooled by Marian Evans' pen name George Elliot.

Unhappy I'm mentioning British writers? How about Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird? Or Amy Tan and her series of novels? Does The Joy Luck Club sound familiar?

Nice selectivity there Jose.

Posted by: Edo on June 26, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK
They also pour some cold water on the recent hysteria over college campuses having more women than men: "Young men are actually more likely to attend and graduate from college than they were in the 1970s and 1980s...But the number of women enrolling in and graduating from college has increased much more rapidly during the same time period."

Have you lost the last remaining bits of your mind, Drum?

This argument is pretty much exactly the same as the argument that there's no problem with executive salaries increasing seventy two bazillion times the increase in "average" wages because, hey, even so, EVERYONE is doing better.

Drum, even YOU are better than this.

Posted by: Lettuce on June 26, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

In higher education, when you disaggregate the numbers, it turns out that the racial/ethnic gap in participation is larger than the gender gap. This is not to argue that there is no gender gap in participation, but its not as large, and so less problematic than the racial/ethnic gap. And when you spread it all out, at least part of the "boy" problem is solved by increasing participation rates among some racial/ethnic groups.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005028.pdf

Posted by: myrnatheminx on June 26, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Society got serious about education in the mid 1950's and it paid off."

That's an interesting bit of revisionism. As a matter of fact, however "serious" "society" may have been about education at the time, it was precisely the point that test scores and academic achievement began to decline.

As I pointed out above, those downward trends did not reverse until the first cohorts of generation x (born in the early to mid 60s) entered elementary school. The numbers contined to improve as xers entered middle school, then high school. Generation x has the largest percentage of college graduates, and PhDs in American history, and the so-called millenials (born between about 1981/82 and 2000) *may* have fewer college graduates.

It was in fact the boomers - and especially that second wave (born in the 1950s) who were the proverbial underachievers. As with many other things, notably crime (youth crime also began to decline as xers entered adolescence), and drug use (which declined as well in every age category xers entered; the 1970s cohorts have the lowest rates of drug use of any group born since the pre-boomer "silent" generation), generation x gets a bad, and undeserved rap.

Posted by: Linus on June 26, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

So who is the better football player?

Posted by: Matt on June 26, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

I read some of that report and it's clearly outrageous manipulative propaganda, IMO. I hope some male friendly researcher goes through the same data and defends the boy crisis with it. It seriously needs a rebuttal.

Posted by: kim on June 27, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

If only it was the only report reaching the same conclusion....is the National Center of Educational Statistics objective enough for you? Just in case you missed it: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005028.pdf

Posted by: myrnatheminx on June 27, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

None of what you report is surprising. The boy crisis is just the saber-rattling of white men afraid of any diminishment of their privilege.

As to the disappearance of all academic gains in high school. When have you heard campaigns for smaller class sizes in high school. You get mandates for small elementary school classes that consume resources and force school district to herd high school students into classes of 50 or more students, with students sitting on floors, window ledges and working out of textbooks that are 10-20 years old. And no one cares, the media has done such a good job of demonizing today's youth, that except for their own little darlings, most Americans would rather lock up a teenager than educate one.

Posted by: Kija on June 27, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Young men are actually more likely to attend and graduate from college than they were in the 1970s and 1980s

This has to be one of the most misleading statistics ever.

In 1970, executives needed college degrees; salesmen, middle managers, and secretaries didn't. Today, all 4 need college degrees, so very many more people go to college.

Posted by: SamChevre on June 27, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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