KTM User Pages
12 Oct 2005 - 22:50
Number 2 Pencil links to an article in USA Today about missing boys:
Currently, 135 women receive bachelor's degrees for every 100 men. That gender imbalance will widen in the coming years, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education.And there's this:
Nearly as many men are behind bars or on probation and parole (5 million) as are in college (7.3 million).
There seems little doubt that universities have become less male-friendly in recent decades, to the point of being downright unfriendly in many cases. The kind of statements that are routinely made about males and masculinity in classrooms and hallways would get professors fired if they were made about blacks, gays, or many other groups. Sexual-harassment policies start with the presumption that men are guilty, and inherently depraved. And colleges now come at the tail-end of an educational system that is (compared to previous decades) anti-male from kindergarten on, meaning many males probably just want to get out as soon as they can.
an article on the mismatch between little boys and school culture 20 years ago.
Banned Words, Images, and Topics: A Glossary that Runs from the Offensive to the Trivial
Think about being a boy today, growing up in a world where it is against the rules for children's textbooks to portray boys as curious, strong, intelligent, brave, strong, or able to overcome obstacles.
key words: positive stereotypes positive stereotyping
USA Today report on 135:100 boys:girls ratio in college
sexism in Everyday Math
boy trouble (New Republic on boys)
slacker boys, middle school, & forbidden positive images of boys in textbooks
throw rocks at them
please remain seated at all times
Ann Althouse thread sums up classroom change
cooperative vs. competitive learning
the girl show (8th grade graduation awards)
the boy show (character ed)
the other boy show
Where the Boys Aren't
letter from Robert Lerner, former commissioner NCES
Tom Mortenson's research
The Boys Project board
for every 100 girls —
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This appears to be a subset of the larger taboo agsinst talking about group inequallity. See The Inequality Taboo in the WSJ. -- KDeRosa - 12 Oct 2005
I just saw it! Did you see his paragraph on boys in schools?? -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
How much damage has the taboo done to the education of children? Christina Hoff Sommers has argued that willed blindness to the different developmental patterns of boys and girls has led many educators to see boys as aberrational and girls as the norm, with pervasive damage to the way our elementary and secondary schools are run. Is she right? Few have been willing to pursue the issue lest they be required to talk about innate group differences. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
I believe -- strong form 'believe' -- it is damaging to young boys to be given the message that they are bad & wrong. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
Christopher had a female P.E. teacher last year who the boys all saw as openly hostile to them. That's what they all said, unprompted. She would tell the girls, 'You can grow up to do anything you want.' She would tell the boys, 'You're not gonna grow up to be a professional athlete.' This was constant. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
Did you see his paragraph on boys in schools?? Oh, yeah. Old news. -- KDeRosa - 13 Oct 2005
I think the article (The Inequality Taboo in the WSJ.) is filled with science and a big dose of speculation. "Elites throughout the West are living a lie, basing the futures of their societies on the assumption that all groups of people are equal in all respects." Ouch! This sounds a little strong. "The taboo arises from an admirable idealism about human equality. If it did no harm, or if the harm it did were minor, there would be no need to write about it. But taboos have consequences." But what harm could be done without an assumption of equality? How would that big dose of speculation be used? "How much damage has the taboo done to the education of children? Christina Hoff Sommers has argued that willed blindness to the different developmental patterns of boys and girls has led many educators to see boys as aberrational and girls as the norm, with pervasive damage to the way our elementary and secondary schools are run." Based on the extremely bad results on NAEP testing, I would say that issues of boys versus girls is very minor compared to the issues of school competence and low levels of expectations. I would rather argue that schools confuse equal education with equal opportunity. In spite of the fact they know that some kids learn faster or work harder than other students, they don't want to treat kids differently. This means that they lower expectations and keep all kids of the same age together. "We won't do pull-out", says our superintendent. I call this equal education. This is opposed to offering all kids the same chance at the best individual educational opportunity, even if it requires schools to separate students by ability or willingness to work. The statistical average of an education gap is not important. Individual kids are important. Tomorrow, states could offer full vouchers to students (who are able or willing to do the work) to go to quality private schools. Equality as a public policy isn't necessarily bad. It depends on what kind of equality you choose. -- SteveH - 13 Oct 2005
There needs to be an assumption of equality in the eyes of the law, not necessarily of equality of results. It is the confusion of these two ideals which causes the problems murray is writing about. The former is protected by the Constitution, the latter is socialism. In the case of public education the result is educational socialism with the same resulting performance problems. -- KDeRosa - 13 Oct 2005
Trying to compensate for fewer women in the sciences and math by downplaying men is really not an answer. When I was on the Hill, I worked for a Senator (as some of you know who read an article I wrote on this venture) who was interested in increasing the homegrown supply of scientists and engineers in his home state. When I told the staffers of my findings--i.e., that math education was suffering horribly in the US, it was too much a Lynne Cheney argument for them, so they decided to drop that approach and try a different one. The result was a "women in science" platform that promised to triple the number of women who are in science/engineering programs. This was your typical "Hill solution" to a problem. The problem was seen as dwindling numbers of graduates in science and engineering, and on top of that, women constituted a minority of those degrees. The Hill solution? Wait, wait, don't tell me! Just find ways to get more of our girls interested in math and science and we'll do two things at once: We'll get more women in science and we'll get more degrees in eng/science. Great! More votes! I spoke up one last time, though my news was never welcome in that office. I said if math education was not fixed in this country, there was not going to be men OR women in science. This was clearly not something they wanted to hear. Dick Askey from U. of Wisconsin came to meet with me at one point, and the staffer I was working with mentioned to him the "Women in Science" project. He said that right now the problem is not so much with girls but with boys; there are too few of them on campus. (This is what the USA Today story said). The staffer was fairly disgruntled at this, and later I heard her murmuring to people about the "sexist" comments that Askey had made. Jim Milgram, the mathematician from Stanford, told me that in writing his math textbook for middle school, the publishers put in cartoons depicting boys acting lost and dumb and asking questions, with girls knowing what was what, and providing the correct answers. Milgram objected to the publisher about this and they were extremely firm in wanting to keep it that way. They reached a compromise: They showed pudgy, balding middle-aged men acting lost and confused, with boys and girls providing the right answers. I really don't know that that was much of a solution. Milgram is a bit pudgy and middle-aged and balding, by the way. He's also one of the top mathematicians in the country. -- BarryGarelick - 13 Oct 2005
Just as I don't want equal (no difference) education, I don't want different education based on science(IQ). Nobody wants kids tracked into different quality phases based on some presumed ability in the lowest grades. It doesn't matter what science says if we decide to give all kids equal opportunity based on merit, whether it is due to IQ or hard work. Education policy should be based on individuals, not statistics - scientific or otherwise. -- SteveH - 13 Oct 2005
According to Milgram, the difference in math ability between the two sexes doesn't really show up until at a very advanced level of math (grad school or upper undergrad courses). He says studies he's seen show that women do not have the same capacity for spatial relationships as men. But for lower grades through high school, he can see no evidence for teaching boys and girls math differently. -- BarryGarelick - 13 Oct 2005
"Why can't I have a shirt that says Boys Rule?" Indeed. Why not? But would he be prepared for the reaction? I think about what would happen if someone started a White Entertainment Network or wanted a White History Month. The question for affirmative action (white/black, men/women, girls/boys) is when do you decide that it isn't needed any more? It seems that the goal now is not to be color blind, but to be multicultural (everything but white European culture - kind of a cultural affirmative action). And Cinco de Mayo is the biggest holiday at our schools. At some level, I think that all of this is good. I have a calender showing lighthouses of New England that lists Christian, Jewish, and Islamic holidays. This is great. I just wonder if calenders showing sand dunes of the middle east list Jewish and Christian holidays. -- SteveH - 13 Oct 2005
There needs to be an assumption of equality in the eyes of the law, not necessarily of equality of results. It is the confusion of these two ideals which causes the problems murray is writing about. Haven't read through the thread yet, but this is my problem. Equality in the eyes of the law (the religious expression of this is equality in the eyes of God or before God) is, IMO, the basis of our country. What equal in the eyes of God means, speaking personally now, is that my severely handicapped children are 'God's children'; they are no less, and no more, than another person's Harvard-bound genius. Same principle in law; my children have the same rights normal children do, and I use the word 'normal' purposely in this context. These are the only principles my children & I need, and in fact 'equality of results' would be or certainly could be harmful to my children. They can't fend for themselves. Period. They need other people's help; after Ed and I are gone they will need society's help. They are equal, but they are not the same. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
Barry Dick Askey from U. of Wisconsin came to meet with me at one point, and the staffer I was working with mentioned to him the "Women in Science" project. He said that right now the problem is not so much with girls but with boys; there are too few of them on campus. (This is what the USA Today story said). The staffer was fairly disgruntled at this, and later I heard her murmuring to people about the "sexist" comments that Askey had made. When I first heard, from Ed, that NYU has 60% girls, I knew we had a problem. Maybe it's not as bad as I think, but I know for a fact that women want to marry 'up' (and men want to marry 'down')--up, for women, meaning guys who are 3 years older and, typically, somewhat more educated. Leaving that aside, when you have a sex ratio of 60/40, how exactly does dating work? We're hearing constantly about the 'hook-up' culture....doesn't a 60/40 female-to-male ratio encourage a hook-up culture? -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
Jim Milgram, the mathematician from Stanford, told me that in writing his math textbook for middle school, the publishers put in cartoons depicting boys acting lost and dumb and asking questions, with girls knowing what was what, and providing the correct answers. Absolutely. You see that everywhere. AND MY POINT IS: BOYS SEE IT, TOO. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
Young boys, who know nothing about sexism, racism, etc., etc., etc., are made to bear the burden of guilt for the real and imagined sins of our society. I found this appalling even back before I had boys myself. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
It's no solution to show pudgy middle-aged men as buffoons. Mark my words: it is a very bad idea to systematically remove legitimacy from adult men. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
What is his textbook????? (Milgrim's, I mean.) BG:_Not sure. It's being piloted. I can find out._ -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
Do we know how 'spatial ability' is related to mathematics?? BG (on ceiling): Pertains to geometric concepts; visualizing the difference between doing the Koenigsburg Bridges problem on a sphere vs a torus. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
The full Murray article has interesting speculation about men having what I would call almost an absolute advantage in 'abstraction.' Literature, he says, is the least abstract of the arts, and is the one art in which women have excelled from the beginning. The more 'abstract' the art, the fewer women you see at the highest levels of achievement (so with music, there is no female composer who is the equal of a Mozart). This reminds me of the 6-level morality scale Kohlberg developed, which was a big deal for awhile when I was in school. The 'highest' level of morality was always the level where the guy would let his wife die because he couldn't afford the medicine she needed and he refused to rob a pharmacy to get it. Robbing a pharmacy would be violating an Absolute Principle. Naturally, I thought this was a crock. Any guy who wouldn't rob a pharmacy to save his wife pretty much falls in dufus category for me. -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
So....uh....I'm definitely not gonna be setting world records for abstract thinking any time soon! -- CatherineJohnson - 13 Oct 2005
I always thought the solution to the pharmacy problem was: Rob the pharmacy Pay back the chemist over time (plus interest plus a bit more for the nastiness of being robbed). -- TracyW - 28 Jan 2006
Tracy I always thought the solution to the pharmacy problem was: Rob the pharmacy Pay back the chemist over time (plus interest plus a bit more for the nastiness of being robbed) OK, you have a far more flexible mind than I do. I didn't get any further than ROB THE GUY BLIND -- CatherineJohnson - 28 Jan 2006
sigh -- CatherineJohnson - 28 Jan 2006