The Boys' Crisis is BUNK

The AAUW released a new report today detailing education trends between girls and boys for the past 35 years. And you know what? BOTH are succeeding...BOTH are going to college. Despite cries of terror from certain circles fueled by the media, boys are NOT being left behind.

The NY Times covered the report (and astonishingly NOT in the style section!):

  • The report points out that a greater proportion of men and women than ever before are graduating from high school and earning college degrees. But, it says, “perhaps the most compelling evidence against the existence of a boys’ crisis is that men continue to outearn women in the workplace.”

    Linda Hallman...said the report was an effort to refocus attention on what she said were the real problems of education for poor and minority children, and away from a distracting debate about a so-called boys’ crisis. Ms. Hallman said the group’s members were concerned about arguments by conservative commentators that boys had become disadvantaged and were being discriminated against in schools intended to favor girls.

As the good feminist/blogger/science nrrd I am, I read the entire report today and here are some highlights that I don't believe are in the executive summary, but you should know:

  • Gender differences cannot be fully understood without attention to race/ethnicity. (VLF: This is uber-important to note. The AAUW is calling out every data collection agency that they must be collecting as much data as possible including family income and ethnicity AND report it out that way. Don't hide those intersections.)
  • Boys' advantage in math does not supersede the more substantial advantage of students from higher-income families over students from lower-income families.
  • Among 12th graders in the 2006-07 school year, 1.5 million students, almost half of all graduating high school seniors (46 percent), took the SAT, and about 1.3 million (40 percent) took the ACT.
  • Gender gaps on the SAT and ACT math exams are most pronounced among Asian American, Hispanic, and white students and are much smaller among African American students.
  • Across races/ethnicities, boys tend to outscore girls in math
  • Girls earn more credits than boys earn in high school math and science and have a higher combined GPA in these courses. (VLF: ARGH!!!!! And yet we still have people who claim that girls don't like or want to do science!
  • While gaps by race/ethnicity are evident, the percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who have college degrees is generally increasing for every gropu except Hispanic men, who show no clear trend. The number of Hispanic men earning college degrees, however, is increasing.
  • The college enrollment rate of young women, 66.0 percent, was approximately the same as that of young men, 65.5 percent. (emphasis by VLF)
And I will leave you with that last statistic. Men and women are going to college in record numbers. Oh...and all the lines above can be found in the report with their appropriate citations.

What the AAUW is trying to tell us all, once and for all, is that education is not a zero-sum game. Yale and Harvard might be, but education itself is not.

Technorati tags: education, equity, feminism, AAUW, boys crisis

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