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TeacherLore

Backlash against “the boy problem”

USA Today reports on a feminist backlash against the boy problem:

Evidence of the backlash turned up in Maine, where a new report that was supposed to focus on the boy problem was watered down to include problems affecting both genders. The two-year study notes that women make up 63% of Maine public college campuses, but it then goes into odd tangents about sexual harassment.

More broadly, a spate of commentary questioning the validity of the trend has begun to appear. Writing in The Washington Post earlier this month, for instance, authors Caryl Rivers, a journalism professor at Boston University, and Rosalind Chait Barnett, a senior scientist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, call the problem “largely a manufactured one.”

The debate might prove harmless because the criticism doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. But as with the global warming debate, denial gives people, such as Maine’s educators, an excuse to avoid fixing the problem.

Evidence is overwhelming that boys as a whole, and low-income and minority boys in particular, are falling behind academically at alarming rates. Boys are twice as likely to be referred for learning disabilities and four times more likely to end up on attention-deficit drugs. Far more girls have college aspirations and are getting college degrees.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 04/24 at 11:30 AM

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