27 August 2008

Johnny Can't Read... Because Schools Don't Teach BOYS?

I sure didn't say it. This FOX NEWS article did. What do you think of the premise that schools are not teaching boys well and are more geared toward female learning styles? The gap widens as the children age:

"Many boys are disengaging from school," Kleinfeld says. "The U.S. Department of Education’s surveys of student commitment show that boys are far less likely than girls to do homework or to come to school with the supplies they need."

Um, OK. So... the kids are in school for eight hours daily already. Cut out the homework. They forget their stuff and are disorganized? Help them out and keep the supplies at school. I'm not advocating a lack of responsibility for boys. I'm just saying that if HALF your student body has a problem with something, it's time to change it and do a little accomodating, don't you think? And really, most BUSINESSES have things like pens and paper at the desks. Do we need to get all anal about which kid brings a pen to which class? If we have significant achievement gaps, I'm thinking we have other things to worry about, you know, besides a stupid pen.

*IF* it's true that boys lag a little developmentally (which I doubt; I think they simply develop differently), then perhaps gearing classes more toward what they need would be helpful. It's great that girls do well in school as a whole. But we can do so much better with our young men. Why are they feeling disenfranchised in public schools? Quote:

In separate research that Kleinfeld is also preparing for publication, she has possibly gotten to the root of the problem. "Here's a fascinating fact," she said. "There is no literacy gap in home-schooled boys and girls."

"Why? In school, teachers emphasize reading literature and talking about character and feelings," she said. "This way of teaching reading does not turn boys on. Boys prefer reading nonfiction, such as history and adventure books. When they are taught at home, parents are more likely to let them follow their interests."

My thoughts: then it's time to figure out what the boys are interested in. Right now we're reading Doctor Dolittle. This is great stuff. Even my son who just turned seven can read this and understand it with minimal help. They're going on voyages and discovering new places. Or even "girl" books like Pippi Longstocking have an adventurous twist. No reason girls have to feel excluded from literature. Certainly there are enough great classics out there to enrapture all young readers.

In any event, my point was that when something isn't working for a LARGE percentage of your students like that in the long-term, it's time to re-evaluate what's going on and how it needs fixing.

7 comments:

  1. Mrs. C - whether or not you believe in past lives, you MUST have been a teacher in some other universal realm! *lol* I'm so glad I can relate to you on TWO fronts! Childrens' interests have definitely been overlooked for way too long. On another note, I never thought I'd see the day when MUSIC, ART, and SPORTS became "unimportant" to (if not already non-existent in some districts)the curriculum. It is sad, indeed.

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  2. Yes, it's true. I believe boys are being left out of the equation when the largely female education establishment sets the rules and standards. And the result has been disastrous.

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  3. We should know better than to trust the sewage that spills forth from the "idiot box," including FOX.

    If you refer to The Bell Curve, you will learn that once we cull the data by race and gender, White boys and girls are doing as well, or better than ever in schools of every variety.

    Because of the browning of America, the typical public school student is increasingly likely to be a non English speaker and from a home where education is not valued. Most of the Negro and Latino boys are without fathers in the home, so there is little discipline or even a positive role model to encourage achievement.

    Not only are most of these minority boys poorly equipped to learn, neither are they very smart. (Spare us your bleeding heart defenses, the data is irrefutable).

    The public schools, having fully embraced the false premise that "diversity is good and we are all the same" do not eagerly separate the data based on race or economic class. Consequently the appearance is that all boys are getting dumber, or at least neglected by the schools, when in fact the White kids and Asians are still doing fine. Public schools also suffer a brain drain as most who can afford to, have withdrawn their children from the public system; of course most of these bright children are White.

    Now, if you want the White kids to really excel, get them away from those federally controlled quagmires, we formerly called schools and really set their minds free.

    From a societal level, we need to fix the public schools, not just retreat into our White enclaves. The way things are going, our gate guarded communities of today shall evolve into walled enclaves of tomorrow, in order to keep the savages out. A first step back to sane public schools must be the abolishment of the Department of Education and the release of our local schools from all federal control. School Boards must be free to hire and fire teachers based on MERIT, as well as to select teachers without the current NEA brainwashing document known as, "teacher certification." Further, we must have a locally based education system that values students for what they are and that creates a realistic learning environment that encourages good relations among all citizens while basing promotion and advancement entirely on MERIT.

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  4. Read "Why Gender Matters" by Dr. Sax.

    Read it.

    The schools are failing boys and for very clear, physiological reasons.

    ~Luke

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  5. Schools are failing boys. I know. I had 3 fall through the cracks. One was classified as *gifted*. Two were sports freaks & still the schools failed all 3. Our solutions were unusual but the schools refused point blank to work with us in any meaningful way. And people wonder why we now homeschool?

    Oh, & I aided for over 10 years. I know first hand from the classroom how many boys are totally disengaging. I got the worst ones, the ones who were functionally illiterate that I had to teach to read. Funny. I was borrowing bike & car manuals & suddenly had an interested kid.

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  6. James Dobson agrees totally that schools are geared toward boys.

    You really have to read "Bringing up Boys" by James Dobson. It's awesome!

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  7. Luke: Have placed the book on hold at the library. :]

    Virginia: I have a copy of "Bringing up Boys" on my bookshelf. You didn't think with having five boys that I could have missed reading it?

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)