Saturday, April 01, 2006


Note that the sex gap starts in kindergarten! Boys are alienated from the outset by values uncongenial to them

This spring, when Maine high schools release their lists of the 10 seniors with the highest academic rankings, girls are likely to outnumber boys by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1. Boys score lower on standardized reading and writing tests, men earn only 38 percent of the bachelor's degrees from Maine's public universities and boys are twice as likely as girls to receive special education services. Various measures of academic performance show that in Maine, as elsewhere in America, boys are trailing girls, and no one seems to know why. "It's absolutely a concern," Jeanne Crocker, principal at South Portland High School, told the Maine Sunday Telegram. "It's a tough problem, and I don't think there are answers yet. Is it that school, as we know it, is not working as well for guys as it is for girls? If so, what are we going to do with it?"

The economic impact of the gender gap could be particularly severe in Maine because of its loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs that have long been a source of support for men who lack a college degree. The trend knows no geographic or social boundaries. It is found in poorer northern Maine and the richer south, affecting educated families as well as those in which neither parent is college-educated. The poor performance of male students is a turnabout from decades ago. In 1972, men made up 55 percent of the nearly 24,000 students enrolled in the University of Maine System. This fall, 38 percent of the more than 34,000 students were men.

Whereas girls used to lag in educational achievement, today the reverse is true. "Everything has flip-flopped," said Maryjane Stafford, a math teacher at Winslow Middle School. "Now these little boys are endangered." The problem appears to begin early on. A study of 52 state-funded pre-kindergarten systems in 40 states found that in Maine, boys are 4 1/2 times more likely to be expelled than girls. "The gender gap starts very early," said Professor Walter Gilliam of Yale University, who conducted the study.

A task force formed by Maine's Department of Education to study boys' poor academic performances is expected to issue a report in the coming weeks. Students say the achievement gap is obvious. When asked why boys don't measure up academically, boys themselves cite laziness, disinterest and the fear of being branded a nerd. "I think girls work harder than boys. Maybe not doing your work is a sign of being cool," said Jack Niveson, a 14-year-old student at Winslow Middle School. At Bonny Eagle High School, Liz Waters said girls are more competitive within the class rank. "In English, it's girls that dominate. I'm in (Advanced Placement) English and there's only five boys in a class of 14."

Various theories have been offered, ranging from differences in boys' and girls' brains to a failure of schools to address the needs of boys. Some point to gender stereotypes that depict tough guys as heroes and smart kids as wimps. Or to the preponderance of female teachers in elementary and middle schools that leaves boys with a lack of male role models.

There is also an economic theory offered by those who find a better job market for 18-year-old boys than girls, which encourages more girls to go to college. A strong construction industry enables many boys to earn decent money at age 18, which may explain why some boys see higher education as unnecessary. But U.S. Census figures show that over the course of the average man's working life, a bachelor's degree is worth more than $1 million more than a high school diploma. "Want that new car?" said Lynne Miller, an education professor at the University of Southern Maine, mimicking a concerned parent. "You're not going to make it, you know, if you don't go to college."


Make A-level harder for all, says U.K. exams chief

A rare move in a world of ever sagging standards. Perhaps standards have sagged too far even for Britains's Leftist education bureaucrats

A-levels [K 12 final exams] will be made harder for every pupil under a new blueprint devised by the Government's exams watchdog. Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, will make it clear in a speech today that all candidates face tougher questions under his recommended option for improving A-levels. He will also signal the introduction of a new A* grade at A-level for the brightest candidates.

Ministers had planned to introduce either an optional harder paper for high-flyers or an optional set of questions to be answered by them at the end of the main exam. Universities have complained that they cannot select the best candidates because so many pupils get A-grade passes. More than 20 per cent of scripts are awarded an A-grade pass.

Research for the QCA shows that both teachers and pupils now have greater faith in A-levels and GCSEs, although there are concerns that coursework allows pupils to cheat.



The Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has ordered a primary school to take in a seven-year-old boy accused of violent behaviour, against the wishes of its headteacher and governors. Her intervention angered the school which claims it flies in the face of her view that there should be "zero tolerance" of bad behaviour.

Some parents at the school, Cummersdale in Carlisle, Cumbria, have warned they will keep their children at home if the boy starts at the school after the Easter break on 19 April.

The boy was excluded from Great Orton primary school last year following claims that he assaulted the headteacher three times, a teaching assistant twice and injured several pupils - although his exclusion was rescinded on appeal. His mother now wants him to go to Cummersdale.

Sarah Mason, the acting head, said her school was full and was not geared up to cope with a disruptive pupil. "We have no male staff as a role model and we have an awful lot of special needs kids anyway," she said. It is understood that the boy has already been turned down by several other schools in the area.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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