FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 26, 2008
Is there a learning gap between boys and girls in school?
Look carefully to get a sense of whether the paper presents men and women in a balanced way. Does either gender seem to be quoted more, pictured more or presented in stereotyped ways?
Ask for comments about favorite sections or features. Are there gender differences?
Does a journalist's gender matter? See if students believe there's a difference in style, tone or approach in columns or reviews by men and those written by women.
Academic gains by girls in American schools overall have not shortchanged male classmates, according to new research looking for a "gender gap" in classrooms. School success is more closely associated with family income than with gender, specialists say.
"Girls' gains have not come at boys' expense," says a new report, titled "Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education." Although girls graduate from high school and college at a higher rate than boys, the biggest gaps in educational achievement are between students from different races, ethnic backgrounds and family income levels.
"There is no crisis with boys. If there is a crisis, it is with African American and Hispanic students and low-income students -- girls and boys," explains Christianne Corbett, a co-author of the report issued last week by the American Association of University Women, a group of female professors and other educators.
It considers dropout and disciplinary rates, college entrance exam data, plus federal statistics about college attendance, earned degrees and other measures of achievement.
School "gender gap" claims date back to the 1990s, when the university women's group and others said boys got more attention from teachers and were steered toward math and science more than girls. More recently, advocates for boys have argued that the tide had turned and that boys were falling behind. Some schools respond with single-sex classes or increased attention and spending for boys.
Social views and economic concern may be behind the belief that boys are being undercut, the report suggests: "Many people remain uncomfortable with the educational and professional advances of girls and women, especially when they threaten to outdistance their male peers."
High school grades: Girls get better grades on average than boys, but from 1990 to 2005 both genders have improved their average GPAs.
College graduation: Men earn more college degrees today than in the 1970s, although women receive more degrees than men.
Income gap: "Perhaps the most compelling argument against a boys crisis is that men continue to out-earn women in the workplace." – 'Where the Girls Are' report
Front Page Talking Points
is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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