“Boy Trouble”

In an effort to fan the flames of acrimony and recrimination that burn so brightly in the comment section of this blog, I thought I’d post a link to an article in The New Republic about “poor performance by males in school”:http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20060123&s=whitmire012306. It begins:

It’s been a year since Harvard President Larry Summers uttered some unfortunate speculations about why so few women hold elite professorships in the sciences… Since that odd January day, Summers has been rebuked with a faculty no-confidence vote, untold talk-show hosts have weighed in, and 936 stories about the controversy have appeared in newspapers and magazines (according to LexisNexis)… Compare that with what happened after the U.S. Department of Education, also about a year ago, released a 100-plus-page report weighing academic progress by gender. The results were bracing. Nearly every chart told the same story. Boys are over 50 percent more likely than girls to repeat grades in elementary school, one-third more likely to drop out of high school, and twice as likely to be identified with a learning disability. The response? Near-total silence.

The classes that I teach are overwhelmingly female. Teaching for a predominantly female audience made me at least aware of gender bias in my teaching, and has led me to switch the default gender of all the examples I use in class. There are obviously nongenetic explanations for attendance in my class, most of which have to do with how required courses work and what sorts of people are attacted to which major. But apparently the gender imbalance in colleges and universities across the United States is widening. I wonder how long it will take for this to get picked up as a “video games are destroying our children” story?


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at rex@savageminds.org

7 thoughts on ““Boy Trouble”

  1. That’s funny, I read the title and thought “that doesn’t sound like kerim’s style…” maybe boys are 50% more likely to forget who they are… unless it was written by Ozma? The mystery…

  2. Nope, not me either. What do I care? As everyone here knows, I am a female chauvinist pig and would gleefully drown underperforming male students like puppies if I ran the Department of Education.

    More seriously, I’m going to place my bets on Oneman.

  3. Waitaminit — are you saying that nobody here has a clue about who wrote this post? It weren’t me, by the way. Though I wouldn’t not have written it, either — I just happend to have didn’t.

  4. Oops sorry. I was recovering comments from our spam filter using the admin account (which Kerim and I share, but under which he posts) and forgot to log back on as myself. Fixed now.

  5. “I wonder how long it will take for this to get picked up as a “video games are destroying our children” story?”

    How would they then argue the implied negative impact on girls? Or do girls play less gamez? 🙂

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