The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do
From the moment they step into the classroom, boys begin to struggle. They get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls; in elementary school, they’re diagnosed with learning disorders four times as often. By eighth grade huge numbers are reading below basic level. And by high school, they’re heavily outnumbered in AP classes and, save for the realm of athletics, show indifference to most extracurricular activities. Perhaps most alarmingly, boys now account for less than 43 percent of those enrolled in college, and the gap widens every semester!
The imbalance in higher education isn’t just a “boy problem,” though. Boys’ decreasing college attendance is bad news for girls, too, because admissions officers seeking balanced student bodies pass over girls in favor of boys. The growing gender imbalance in education portends massive shifts for the next generation: how much they make and whom they marry.
Interviewing hundreds of parents, kids, teachers, and experts, award-winning journalist Peg Tyre drills below the eye-catching statistics to examine how the educational system is failing our sons. She explores the convergence of culprits, from the emphasis on high-stress academics in preschool and kindergarten, when most boys just can’t tolerate sitting still, to the outright banning of recess, from the demands of No Child Left Behind, with its rigid emphasis on test-taking, to the boy-unfriendly modern curriculum with its focus on writing about “feelings” and its purging of “high-action” reading material, from the rise of video gaming and schools’ unease with technology to the lack of male teachers as role models.
But this passionate, clearheaded book isn’t an exercise in finger-pointing. Tyre, the mother of two sons, offers notes from the front lines—the testimony of teachers and other school officials who are trying new techniques to motivate boys to learn again, one classroom at a time. The Trouble with Boys gives parents, educators, and anyone concerned about the state of education a manifesto for change—one we must undertake right away lest school be-come, for millions of boys, unalterably a “girl thing.”
From the Hardcover edition.
If you have a boy in school, here's your next "must" read
By Jesse Kornbluth "Head Butler" - September 9, 2008
Ever since women got the right to vote in 1920, they've been on the march. In less than a century, they've muscled their way into the same jobs traditionally reserved for men --- and they're already earning 70% of a man's salary for that work. Why, at this rate, they'll.....
Stop! Hold the presses! At this rate, girls will grow up to be a ruling class. And today's boys will grow up to work in auto-body shops (not that there's anything wrong with that) and dream of advancing to the manager slot at Burger King (ditto). Why? Because boys are falling behind in school --- and not just because they develop a little slower, read a little later, blah blah blah.
The system is failing boys, Peg Tyre says. A feminized curriculum, behavior norms that disadvantage boys, schools with few men on the faculty, a misguided belief that kids are ready to learn at an earlier age --- Tyre rolls out a laundry list of reasons.
I take Peg Tyre very seriously. First, because... read more
As a former boy this book is disturbing.
By Robert Busko - September 12, 2008
Peg Tyre has written a revealing and somewhat alarming book on the condition of boys in our schools and society. The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents and Educators Can Do is insightful. Quite simply, in society's rush in the 1980s and 1990s to support our girls both socially and educationally we have apparently put the boys at a disadvantage.
Among the many points Tyre makes, boys mature on a variety of scales later than girls. In our rush to improve standardized test grades, activities such as recess have been virtually cut from the daily school activities. Boys are genetically designed to run, throw, explore, and test their abilities. In modern America, this has normally been achieved through physical play some of which occurred at school. Among other things, this allowed the boys to burn off that abundant energy. In our current educational environment the morning and afternoon recesses have been... read more
"Boys are simply treated as defective girls."
By Sam Sattler - December 29, 2008
Peg Tyre has written a remarkable book about a problem that many of us have sensed (but failed to articulate and complain about) for years: our young boys are being shortchanged from the first day that they enter a school building. Not too many years ago the concern in public education was how to prepare girls to grow into women able to compete with their male counterparts in the work world. That was a legitimate concern and, much to the credit of this country, a tremendous, and very successful, effort was made to correct the problem. But as always seems to happen, the pendulum continued to swing their way long after females had achieved educational equality. The momentum created to correct the initial problem was so strong that it eventually placed male students at a disadvantage, a new problem just as serious as the one it corrected.
I have personally observed much of what Peg Tyre describes in "The Trouble with Boys." For what it is worth, I can offer anecdotal evidence... read more
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