Monday, December 22, 2008

The Boys Project

I came across this very interesting via Glenn Sacks blog. Dr. Judith KLEINFELD is the director of The Boys Project, whose mission is to help young males develop their capabilities and reach the potential that their families and teachers know they have. It has resources for teachers.
A large, sullen, poorly educated group of men will not keep the nation vital in the twenty-first century. The nation needs the energy, initiative, and ambition of its young men as well as its young women.
Dr KLEINFELD, a psychologist is a author of popular article "The Myth That Schools Shortchange Girls" and an critic of a legislation changing report published in 1992 titled "How Schools Shortchange Girls: A Study of Major Findings on Girls and Education" by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She insists that the idea that girls are shortchanged by schools has become the common wisdom-what people take for granted, without a thought concerning whether or not it is true. As evidence of this fallacy, she quotes a nationally representative longitudinal study of the high school class of 1992, discussed by Dwyer and Johnson. It was found that high-school girls outdistanced boys in making the honor roll, in getting elected to a class office, and in receiving writing awards and other academic honors.

But 1992 was a long time ago, and the holes in this diatribe have been growing wider each year.
So it is perhaps not a surprise that in May 2008, the AAUW revisited the state of gender education and guess what - we have made great strides! The crisis is over! For everyone!

However, this article by Leonard SAX points out that women enrollment in Science Technololgy Engineering and Math (STEM) has actually declined over the past 20 years. He believes that the real gender crisis is not ability but motivation. Women remain more likely than men to major in art history and journalism; men are more likely than women to major in computer science, physics, and engineering. That is the reason for differences in earnings - utility.

The issue is that AAUA wants to force girls (and boys) into stereotypical roles that they do not aspire to. Gender differences do exist and they matter.

1 comment:

  1. AAUW's 2008 research report actually found that the issue of who is falling behind in school is not a girls vs. boys issue. What they found was that both boys and girls in specific demographics are falling behind boys and girls in other demographics. Namely, students from low income and minority households overall are falling behind those who are middle and upper class and white as far as going to college.

    Something else you can learn from the report is that one of the major reasons why there are more women than men in college is because there are so many more non traditional women students (women over 25) compared to non traditional male students -- meaning there are more older women returning to or going to college for the first time. This makes a lot of sense since it wasn't too long ago that far fewer women than men attended college when they were 18-22. There are almost the same number of male 18 year olds as female 18 year olds entering college.

    Also, I think a college education is still more important for women than men if they want to make good wages. Men can go to traditionally male-dominated jobs like construction, plumbing, electricians, sales, and now tech jobs, without a 4 year college degree and make a good salary. There is really no equivalent field like those for women to make good wages without a 4 year degree.

    Also, here's an interesting article about why some women leave the tech field: I think a lot of those reasons can be applicable to other fields and can also help explain why fewer women enter them than men, despite the high pay.