Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Schools and Girls and Boys

It seems like this week is book week on this blog! I’ve been waiting for years to see if there would be a new edition of the classic book Failing at Fairness by the groundbreaking gender equity researchers Dr Myra Sadker and Dr. David Sadker. Well, it has arrived.

Still Failing at Fairness: How Gender Bias Cheats Girls and Boys in School and What We Can Do About It, the book tackles the ways that gender bias (intentional and unintentional) are stifling girls AND boys in classrooms from pre-school to college. Plus, the authors (who now also include Dr. Karen Zittleman) provide solid suggestions for teachers, administrators, parents and policymakers to fix the problems and improve learnng for our sons and daughters.

I have little patience for the arguments asserting that gender equity is old news, not longer a problem, or that it shortchanges boys by giving girls special treatment. To ignore gender in education is like trying to teach with a blindfold on. In some esoteric, ivory tower debate somewhere, that might sound like a good idea—but in practice it’s pretty dumb.
Anyway, I encourage you to read this book—it’s very readable and has tons of material that’s incredibly useful for parents.


JP said...

Poof. My comment just disappeared. Was that hint?

What I was going to say is that I am glad that the book has been updated. I disagree with the notion that boys will suffer if girls are given more opportunities, but in practice that has unfortunately happened in some cases. I'm for true equality not retaliation.

Mention "boys" "a.d.d." or "testosterone" in many middle and elementary school teachers lounges and you'll find those words all by themselves serve as the punchline to a joke.

Joe Kelly said...

Gender bias is not a one way street: boys too can be victims. When it comes to discipline, they often are. Dr. David Sadker & Dr. Karen Zittleman, the authors of "Still Failing at Fairness," discuss a doctoral dissertation that surveyed middle school boys and girls. The vast majority of girls and boys agree that boys are punished unfairly by the teacher, and girls "get away with" similar behaviors. Using physical force to resolve problems, whether a girl or a boy, is not a strategy we should be teaching our children.

Joe Kelly said...

also, I don't know why your earlier cmment disappeared--I didn't remove it.
but I have learned (to my chagrin) that Blogger oftern has a mind of its own. Sometimes function A works one way, sometimes another way, and sometimes not at all....

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