A deeper look into Christina Hoff Sommers "How to Make School Better for Boys" 

 

The articles below are scholarly research articles and referenced works on learning and human development issues concerning boys based on Christina Hoff Sommers Atlantic post of "How to Make School Better for Boys". (Use the menu below to navigate through the topics)
 
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Boys and Literacy // Reading Commission Report

 

Boys Reading Commission Report (2012) 

 

The Boys' Reading Commission found that while the literacy gender gap has been around for a very long time, the issue is becoming more pressing.  The National Literacy Trust's survey of schools across the country carried out for the Commission found that three-quarters of schools are worried about boys' underachievement in reading, while the gap between how much boys and girls enjoy reading or choose to spend time reading is widening.

 

 

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Boys and Literacy // Reading Commission Report

 

Boys Reading Commision (2012)

 

Using evidence and not ideology as their guide, officials in these countries don’t hesitate to recommend sex-specific solutions. The British Parliamentary Boys' Reading Commission urges, “Every teacher should have an up-to-date knowledge of reading material that will appeal to disengaged boys.” 
 

 

 

 

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Boys and Literacy // Improving Literacy Skills

 

Me Read? And How! Ontario teachers report on how to improve boys' literacy skills (2009)

 

Around the world, the Hoff Sommers article makes clear that the gender divide is a significant issue confronting many nations.  A Canadian report on improving boys’ literacy recommends active classrooms “that capitalize on the boys’ spirit of competition”— games, contests, debates. 

 

 

 

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Disparities in Achievement // Leaving Boys Behind

 

Leaving Boys Behind: Gender disparities in high academic achievement (2013)  

 

Using three decades of data from the “Monitoring the Future” cross-sectional surveys, this paper shows that, from the 1980s to the 2000s, the mode of girls’ high school GPA distribution has shifted from “B” to “A”, essentially “leaving boys behind” as the mode of boys’ GPA distribution stayed at “B”.

 

 

 

 

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Disparities in Achievement // HS Preperation

 

The gender gaps in high school graduation, post-secondary education/training program enrollment, and four year college enrollment rates of boston public school graduates, class of 2007 (2009)

 

This report examins the success of high school programs in adequately preparing students for college and the world of work, preparation dependent upon knowledge of the post-high school college enrollment and persistence experiences of new high school graduates and their early labor market experiences.

 

 

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Multicultural Perspectives // Young Men of Color

 

The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color A Review of Research, 
Pathways and Progress (2011)

 

“Nearly half of young men of color age 15 to 24 who graduate from high school will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead.” Working-class white males are faring only slightly better.  This is the disturbing message of a 2011 report by The College Board about Hispanic and African-American boys and young adults.

 

 

 

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Mens' Economic Decline // Trends

 

Review Trends Brookings Institute (2011)

 

This 2011 Brookings Institution report quantifies the economic decline of the median male: For men ages 25 to 64 with no high school diploma, median annual earnings have declined 66 percent since 1969; for men with only a high school diploma, wages declined by 47 percent.

 

 

 

 

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Parents of Boys and Girls // Tough Time for Girls?

 

Tough Time for Girls? College Parents of America (2009)

 

Henry Broaddus, dean of admissions at William and Mary, explains the new anxiety: “[W]omen who enroll … expect to see men on campus. It’s not the College of Mary and Mary; it’s the College of William and Mary.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Vocational-Technical Education

School-to-work transition programs offer successful models to promote higher graduation rates and student success for boys.  Find out more about these schools here.
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The Workplace // School-to-Work Transition

 

Pathways to Prosperity (2011)

 

In a rare example of the academic establishment taking note of boys’ trouble in school, the Harvard Graduate School of Education recently published a major study, Pathways to Prosperity, that highlights the “yawning gender gap” in education favoring women: “Our system… clearly does not work well for many, especially young men.” The authors call for a national revival of vocational education in secondary schools. They cite several existing programs that could serve as a model for national reform, including the Massachusetts system, sometimes called the “Cadillac of Career Training Education.”

 

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The Workplace // Vocational Technical Education

 

Vocational-Technical Education in Massachusetts (2008)

 

This report shines light on Blackstone Valley Tech in Upton, Massachusetts.  It is working wonders with girls (who comprise 44 percent of the student body), but its success with boys is astonishing.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Workplace // Career Technical Education

 

Career Technical Education Linked to Boys' High School Survival (2013)

 

Recent research shows that enrollment in high school vocational programs has dramatic effects on students’ likelihood of graduating from high school—especially boys. But efforts to engage more boys in career and technical programs face a formidable challenge

 

 

 

 

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The Workplace // School-to-Work Transition

 

National National Council on Women and Girls Education

 

While several research studies promote boys' technical vocational education as one pathway to academic and job success, legal attacks by advocates for girls may threaten to derail further progress for boys by prioritizing girls' interests over boys.

In a series of scathing reports, the National Council on Women and Girls Education (NCWGE—a 38-year-old consortium that today includes heavy hitters such the AAUW, the National Women’s Law Center, the ACLU, NOW, the Ms. Foundation, and the National Education Association) has condemned high school vocational training schools as hotbeds of "sex segregation." 

 

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Challenges for Boys and Young Men

Getting school success issues for boys on the local and national agenda remains an uphill battle.  While many countries with school-based gender divides confront the issue from an education perspective with political and other interest groups workin to improve education for all young people, the approach in the United States often emphasizes legal remedies.  
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Challenges Ahead // Boys in Jeopardy

 

Boys in Jeapordy at School (2010)

 

Unfortuate attitudes about the declining status of boys compared to girls often prevents progress on the issues of gendered patterns of student success.  The Portland Press Herald ran an alarming story about the educational deficits of boys—reporting that high school girls outnumber boys by almost a 2-1 ratio in top-10 senior rankings, that men earn about 38 percent of the bachelor's degrees awarded by Maine's public universities, and that boys both rich and poor had fallen seriously behind their sisters. But the director of Women’s Studies at the University of Southern Maine, Susan Feiner, expressed frustration over the sudden concern for boys. “It is kind of ironic that a couple of years into a disparity between male and female attendance in college it becomes ‘Oh my God, we really need to look at this. The world is going to end.’”

 

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Challenges Ahead // Boys on Their Own

 

Tools of the Trade: Using the Law to Address Sex Segregation in High School Career and Technical Education (2005)

 

In the U.S., a powerful network of women’s groups works ceaselessly to protect and promote what it sees as female interest. But there is no counterpart working for boys—they are on their own. This contrasts dramatically with constructive, problem-solving approach of education leaders and government officials in Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. The British have their parliamentary “toolkit of effective practices” for educating boys—while Americans have the National Women’s Law Center’sTools of the Trade: Using the Law to Address Sex Segregation in High School Career and Technical Education.

 

 

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Challenges Ahead // Career Prep Barriers

 

Education Data Show Gender Gap in Career Preparation (2013)

 

In March 2013 NCWGE released a report urging the need to fight even harder against “barriers girls and women face in entering nontraditional fields.” Among its nine key recommendations to Congress: more federal funding and challenge grants to help states close the gender gaps in career and technical education (CTE); mandate every state to install a CTE gender equity coordinator; and impose harsher punishments on states that fail to meet “performance measures” –i.e. gender quotas. Instead of spending millions of dollars attempting to transform aspiring cosmetologists into welders, education officials should concentrate on helping young people, male and female, enter careers that interest them. And right now, boys are the underserved population requiring attention.

 

 

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Challenges Ahead // White House Council

 

Establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls (2009)

 

The reluctance to face up to the boy gap is evident at every level of government. In Washington, President Obama established a White House Council on Women and Girls shortly after taking office in 2009, declaring: “When our daughters don’t have the same education and career opportunities as our sons, that affects…our economy and our future as a nation.” In retrospect, the proposal for a Council for Boys and Men from a bi-partisan group of academics and political leaders has now been languishing in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s office for two years.

 

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