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Struggling Boys On The Way To The Workplace

What’s up with our boys? We’ll look at the classroom gap between boys and girls, and what it may ultimately mean in the workplace.

President Barack Obama gestures during an event in the East Room of the White House to promote his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Washington. New reports suggest that young men in American schools are falling dramatically behind their female classmates. (AP)

President Barack Obama gestures during an event in the East Room of the White House to promote his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Washington. New reports suggest that young men in American schools are falling dramatically behind their female classmates. (AP)

For years now we’ve heard the drumbeat.  American girls advancing on American boys in school.  Then girls surpassing boys.  Now girls get more A grades.  Seventy percent of high school valedictorians – girls.  A lot more girls – young women – going to and completing college.  Now, all eyes are on the American workplace.  Is it next for this trend?  If school has become less a field of triumph for boys, will the workplace follow?  Will empowerment of women and a changing school and workplace world mean males to the rear?  This hour On Point:  boys and school, and the coming American workforce.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jim Kessler, co-founder and senior vice president for policy at Third Way. (@ThirdWayKessler)

Peg Tyre, education reporter. Author of “The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents and Educators Must Do” and “The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids The Education They Deserve.” (@pegtyre)

David Autor, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: A Link Between Fidgety Boys and a Sputtering Economy – “In an economy that rewards knowledge, the academic struggles of boys turn into economic struggles. Men’s wages are stagnating. Men are much more likely to be idle — neither working, looking for work nor caring for family — than they once were and much more likely to be idle than women.”

Third Way: The Secret Behind College Completion: Girls, Boys, and The Power of Eighth Grade Grades — “To see into the future, look at 8th grade. If an 8th grader gets As and Bs in school, that student will likely earn a college degree. If that same student gets only Bs and Cs, college completion is unlikely. That is one of the stunning conclusions from authors Thomas A. DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann in their report on gender, mobility, and college attainment.

Slate: What Happens to Boys Who Fall Behind? They Become Men Who Can’t Catch Up. — “Kindergarten girls are attentive, persistent, well-behaved, flexible, sensitive, and independent. Kindergarten boys are hyperactive, distracted, unruly, obnoxious, and clingy. American women are earning 75 percent more college degrees than they did in 1975 and 35 percent more money. American men are over.”

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  • HonestDebate1

    This is an important topic. We need more men; responsible, intelligent, strong, fatherly, problem-solving, principle-defendening, chivalrous, manly men.

    I’m all for looking at root causes for society’s ills. I just hope race is not injected. The picture up top is from an event to help boys of color.

    • AnneDH

      Expect race to enter the discussion for sure, as Hispanic and African-American boys’ lower performance in school is a factor in the overall statistics due to lives in relative poverty and numbers in single-parent households.

      • HonestDebate1

        Yea and it should be, I didn’t express myself very well. I did not like the “Brother’s Keeper” program because it discriminated by the color of skin. IMO, the picture didn’t match the verbiage which did not mention skin color. What I hope is not injected is the notion that black boys need help because they are black. Single-parent families are a major factor as is poverty. Any relation to race is just a correlation.

        • Ray in VT

          Who is suggesting that “black boys need help because they are black”? That seems to be more reasoning along the lines that supposedly people who note that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority voters are saying that black people are too stupid to get a voter ID. I find it to be faulty logic at best.

          You note a couple of factors contributing to obstacles in the way of African American youths, but you have left out cultural biases against minorities, i.e. racism, and the vilification of African American men. Those factors also contribute. There are a few who will argue that race plays a sort of inherent factor in some of these issues, such as Charles Murray.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who is suggesting that “black boys need help because they are black”?

            The picture at the top of the page. That’s what “My Brother’s Keeper” was about.

            Racism and cultural biases still exist across all spectrums but but we are equal under the law (minority preferences based on race aside). Racism is no longer an excuse for failure.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, that’s right, I forgot that white people are really the ones who get discriminated against. Thanks for the reminder. Sure. We’re all theoretically equal under the law, but tell that to the groups who get arrested and sentenced more often and for longer for the same crimes, or to those who get pulled over for driving too nice of a car for a black guy, or the people who don’t get called in for interviews because they have “black” names. I guess that what Kareem said is true: more white people believe in ghosts than in racism here in America.

    • tuxedobob

      Perhaps when you have so many women saying they “don’t need no man” you end up with many men who feel they aren’t needed.

  • AnneDH

    I read somewhere recently that only 30% of today’s students get 4yr college degrees. I thought it was much more than that.

    • Rick Evans

      Depending on what you study a 2 year degree can be worth more than a 4 year degree. Plenty of students get 2 year degrees.

      • AnneDH

        You’ve got that right!

        I have a 4yr degree from the Univ. of VT. After a few years of min wage data-entry jobs, I got a 2yr degree in computer programming at Champlain College.

        That open the door to a professional career at a VT insurance company.

        • Kathy

          As someone with an English degree who works in computers, that four year degree will be more and more important as your career advances even though it has nothing to do with what you’re actually doing.

          • AnneDH

            I agree absolutely.

            It shows in my ability to communicate with many types of co-workers, both writing and speaking.

            Plus, a year spent abroad (I was a French major), opened my mind to others’ point of view, regardless of their backgrounds.

            But I had to get that expensive 2yr degree to get anywhere.

          • Kathy

            I was just thinking “it’s a four year degree.” Once you get past the entry level, a lot of times you need that to get your resume read.

          • AnneDH

            I think that’s more true today than back when I graduated from college in 1980. At least in the part of the country I’m in.

  • Kestrel

    I think we need an educational/societal paradigm shift. In an ideal world, boys would be engaging with their fathers in nature for the first ten years (at least) of their lives. They would be outside, moving, working with their hands, learning real-life skills. Sure, take time each day for math, science and reading basics, but then experience them in real world situations. Work in small groups, play in small groups.
    Making boys stay in small rooms with a lot of sitting and intellectual work is antithetical to who they are. All humans need freedom to move, explore the natural world, and be with those they love. That is the kind of world I wish we lived in.

    • AnneDH

      You might be on to something there. Boys are more physically active than girls overall; of course, there are exceptions on both sides, so the active girls should be allowed to follow that active boys’ path.

      I bet this is why so many are popping pills for ADHD- my active daughter was doing that in her school days. Didn’t help her grades much, either.

      We need to respond to different types of learning styles – a tall order.

      • 1Brett1

        I agree with what both of you are saying. I also wouldn’t want to make a distinction between what boys and girls need educationally; both girls and boys would benefit from the kind of experiential/exploratory educational approaches you both propose.

        In terms of the practical side, I wonder what this would look like and how it could be implemented? It is really a very different concept than what we currently have.

        I don’t know that spending time exploring the natural world/having movement integrated into the school day in such a way would have much effect on ADHD. it would be interesting to have that studied more closely, though. Teaching a child to develop strategies for dealing with their ADHD seems the best intervention (and should be tailored to the individual).

        • AnneDH

          “Teaching a child to develop strategies for dealing with their ADHD”, at least for my daughter, was/is done via visits to a psychiatrist.

          This, of course, opens up the ‘access to health care’ issue all over again.

          • 1Brett1

            Without knowing anything about your particular situation — and I hope your family and psychiatrist are able to help your daughter learn to strategize her daily life (and medication can be a valuable tool for some) — people go to psychiatrists generally for medication. I worked in the mental health field for over 35 years. It has been my experience that psychiatrists don’t spend a lot of time developing behavioral strategies; they mostly prescribe medication and follow-up to determine if the medication is effective/the dosage is of sufficient quantity to be therapeutically effective. Adjunct therapies through either a psychologist or some type of behavioral therapist are usually required.

            I hear you about the “access to healthcare” issue permeating this topic, as well.

          • AnneDH

            Well, at that time, some 10+- yrs ago, the psychiatrist did spend a full 50 minutes doing psychotherapy with my daughter, then would call me in to discuss my point of view of her progress.

            Nowadays, due to what ins. cos. are willing to pay for, a psychiatrist visit lasts 15-20 mins, to discuss medications.

            My daughter has been seeing a psychotherapist the last few years along with her less-frequent psychiatrist visits.

      • geraldfnord

        Some cultures do well with masculinity that has much more to do with staying indoors and making a living or (preferably) studying than with ‘roughing it’, which all cultures generally give up as soon as possible. (This tendency might be as problematic as all cultures’ moving toward white rice or white bread as soon as it becomes physically possible, not to mention more meat in all but a few, but it is there for a reason, for which see the arguments of the law firm of Salitieri, Poore, Nash, De Brutus and Short.)

    • pwparsons

      Think “Humans”, instead of “confining” education to dubious GENDER “preferences” or “competencies”. Whatever happened to Dewey’s “experiential” education? Project Adventure, Outward Bound, Waldorf, Montessori and other “Alternative”/”Life Skills” should/could frame our “educational” structures. As A. N. Whitehead said “There is only one subject matter for education, and that is LIFE in all its manifestations”. Back to (such) BASICS!

      • geraldfnord

        These were seen as inconsequential to “making more money”, and so is “stuff we don’t care about”.

        I’m not endorsing that opinion, but it seems to have prevailed; I do, however, have a bit of concern about all these methods of education that care about what the young want and do most naturally and are happiest doing and allows them the most personal growth in the areas that mean most to them when they are going to be released into a world that (unless they’re wealthy) doesn’t give a damn about any of that.

  • Charles

    When are we going to discuss the disappearance of the fathers in America?
    With so many (anecdotally) deadbeat dads and single-parent households, it’s small wonder that boys aren’t up to snuff. Young boys, especially elementary aged ones, need positive male role-models in their lives.

    • tuxedobob

      There seem to be very few good role models of any race or class today.

  • Coastghost

    NPR regales us this morning with news that almost half of 17yos. read for pleasure no more than once or twice a year. This is the NEW working level of literacy delivered by our high-tech society: what brilliance.
    Americans can no longer drive their sophisticated motor vehicles because stupid drivers can’t operate motor vehicles while interfacing with their wireless phones, even interstate traffic flow is being compromised by stupid cellphone drivers. Americans can no longer even walk down streets and sidewalks without consulting their stupid wireless phones, tripping over each other and jostling each other because being an alert pedestrian just requires too much attention.
    The proliferation of “smart technology” is succeeding in making us blithering idiots: yet another feather for the cap of our beloved sciences and applied technologies.

    • Ray in VT

      You seem be equating being distracted or highly engaged with ones personal devices with having a low level of intelligence. I think that such conclusions are unwarranted.

      • Coastghost

        I indeed call attempts to operate motor vehicles poorly at speeds of 50 or 60 mph with one hand and an attention not merely divided but utterly displaced (four-wheeled phone booths typically exhibiting velocities well below posted speed limits, for good and ill) indicative of just the kind of carelessness, insensitivity, inattention, and inconsiderateness that fall well within use of the rubric “stupidity” (stupidity conceived generally as the inverse of intelligence: NOT a “native ability” but an intellectual zone we each are able to wander into or out of moment to moment, hour to hour).
        Wireless phones seem possessed of a peculiar ability to inculcate stupidity and witlessness in the crania attached to them. (GPS would be superfluous almost if we but took time and effort to learn geography properly.)
        Applied technology: the habilitation of stupidity, hoorah hooray. (At least in its day television helped confine stupidity to hearth and home: now we are enamored of making stupidity mobile and portable.)

        • Ray in VT

          Was there more to that?

          Plenty of otherwise intelligent people engage in all sorts of inadvisable behaviors. This isn’t anything new, although the tools to engage in such behaviors may be.

          • geraldfnord

            For once, I’ll support Coastghost: he seems to be using ‘intelligence’ in a differential, not global, sense, as a matter of moment-to-moment capability rahter than some innate and unchanging attribute.

            Amusingly enough, this is one of the reasons I’m on the Left: I don’t think the Market should be the sole normative feature of society, and one reason is that it, at random, can exalt or degrade us on the basis of very changeable attributes—one bad day can wreck a career, one good one can enrich you for life, and time and chance happeneth to all. Societies are good partially because they serve as banks of energy that can keep people who are momentarily (say, aged 0-6) (or 14-23) stupid but can in fact come up with some fairly neat stuff at times, keeping people alive at their least capable allows them to potentially contribute more when they’re at their best—it’s why Ken-doh went for drilling with wooden, and then split bamboo, swords.

        • tuxedobob

          This sounds like a pet peeve of yours that really has nothing to do with the conversation at hand.

          • Coastghost

            With distressing frequency I learn here that my making any point whatsoever consists of having yet another “pet peeve” imputed to me.
            I would never have guessed that my peevishness is so utterly distinctive or that so many others making points here are not similarly afflicted.

          • tuxedobob

            It’s just that using your phone while driving really has nothing to do with boys underperforming in school.

          • Coastghost

            Teenage boys (whether performing or underperforming in school) are not immune to the culture of obliviousness that our tech gurus are giving us and which we are paying our subscriptions for.
            Smart technology is only equipping stupidity, and of all people on earth teenage boys can claim no credible exemption from modeling stupidity with regular regularity.

          • tuxedobob

            Which, still, has no relation to the topic at hand, which is what makes this seem more like a (random) pet peeve than anything else.

  • geraldfnord

    Maybe if being good at school weren’t the occasion for boys of continuous and sometimes extreme bullying it would be more popular among the non-autistic.

  • ian berry

    Dont worry, those boys are all going to make excellent drone pilots.

    • tuxedobob

      I’m not sure you understand how drones work…

  • creaker

    Watch – there will be an upcoming backlash of fundamentalism primarily focused on getting women back into the role of barefoot and pregnant and subservient. Just as there is in so many other countries.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that there has been some reaction in conservative religious circles somewhat along those lines. The Southern Baptist Convention called for women submit to their husbands, and wasn’t there some criticism of the Promise Keepers for some views or teachings on the role of women?

      • creaker

        There will be a huge number of disenfranchised males ready to have someone tell them why they deserve to be master of their castle again.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that some probably feel their status, power of importance are threatened. The same can be said for those who thought that the Civil Rights Movement was going to hurt them by giving others a more equal place at the table.

  • X Y & Z

    What ‘workplace’? The economy grew at a miserable 0.1% in Q1!

    • hennorama

      X Y & Z — F Y & I:

      G D & P, and employment are not equivalents.

      Regarding the ” ‘workplace’ “:

      B L & S data (Preliminary) from the Establishment Survey indicates that total nonfarm employment increased by 569,000 employees in Q1!

      B L & S also reported that there were 4.0 million job openings on the last day of March 2014.

      See:
      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm
      http://www.bls.gov/ces/cesbtabs.htm

  • Salty

    I see masculine traits and characteristics being marginalized in society every day, especially in our schools (I am a teacher of 25 years experience). I see boys being pushed to the back as we have pulled girls to the front. The media elite has been a key mover in this direction. How often do we see the adult male in a family seen as a strong, masculine, smart leader? How often are the males in the home portrayed as bumbling idiots? We have gone from “Father Knows Best” to “Married with Children” and “The Simpsons”.

    Another huge issue is that men are letting society down. too many men aren’t being responsible fathers. They set poor examples so our boys are growing up without solid role models. I say this as the son of a single mom. I experienced it myself. If it weren’t for my football coaches I probably would have been another negative statistic.

    Finally, I see the liberal elite wanting to weed out the natural leaders in society. With fewer leaders, more folks will fall into line behind the elite who like to tell us all how to live our lives.

    • J__o__h__n

      Married with Children went off the air in 1997. Does anyone still watch the Simpsons? Any more contemporary examples of the media elite’s conspiracy against boys?

      The elite are preventing leaders, so people are falling behind them, instead of the other leaders?

      • Jeff

        If you watch any sitcom in the past 15 years it portrays the female as the responsible, intelligent person and the father is lazy, fat and dumb. If the roles were ever reversed you’d see all sorts of boycotts about gender discrimination…even Married with Children was boycotted, banned and lost many sponsors (at the same time gained many more) for sexism and telling jokes that men often tell in private.

        • J__o__h__n

          And women complain that they are depicted as humorless. People should turn off the TV if they find it offensive and not blame it for whatever social ill the find objectionable. Both genders should read more anyway.

          • Jeff

            Holding reading up as above other forms of entertainment is another example of the feminization of our society. What makes a book “better” than other forms of entertainment like a video game, movies, board games, card games, sports, etc? I view a game as much more intellectually stimulating where you are interacting and responding rather than sitting idly by while someone else gives you a story.

            In fact check out the book “Everything Bad is Good for You”…here’s an excerpt from that book if books were invented after video games:

            “Reading books chronically under stimulates the senses. Unlike the longstanding tradition of gameplaying – which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical soundscapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements – books are simply a barren string of words on the page. Only a small portion of the brain devoted to processing written language is activated during reading, while games engage the full range of the sensory and motor cortices.
            Books are also tragically isolating. While games have for many years engaged the young in complex social relationships with their peers, building and exploring worlds together, books force the child to sequester him or herself in a quiet space, shut off from interaction with other children. These new “libraries” that have arisen in recent years to facilitate reading activities are a frightening sight: dozens of young children normally so vivacious and socially interactive sitting alone in cubicles, reading silently, oblivious to their peers.
            Many children enjoy reading books, of course, and no doubt some of the flights of fancy conveyed by reading have their escapist merits. Bur for a sizable percentage of the population books are downright discriminatory. The reading craze of recent years cruelly taunts the 10 million Americans who suffer from dyslexia – a condition that didn’t even exist as a condition until the printed word came along to stigmatize sufferers.
            But perhaps the most dangerous property of books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path. You can’t control their narratives in any fashion – you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you. For those of us raised on interactive narratives, this property may seem astonishing. Why would anyone want to embark on an adventure utterly choreographed by another person? But today’s generation embarks on such adventures millions of times a day. This risks instilling a general passivity in our children, making them feel as though they’re powerless to change their circumstances. Reading is not an active participatory process; it’s a submissive one. The book readers of the younger generation are learning to “follow the plot” instead of learning to lead. “

          • J__o__h__n

            I disagree that reading is a submissive process. I consider it a conversation with the author where I often question the book’s assertions. Leaders need knowledge.

  • LinRP

    As the mother of four sons I can tell you a thing or three about discrimination against boys in elementary school in particular. Girls are absolutely the favored students, by the nearly 100% of women teachers who work at that level of education. There has been a adulation of girls, almost a worship that they are “better” than boys (because they’re “easier” than boys) and more likely to succeed. No one can tell me that message doesn’t get through to the boys.

    I distinctly remember one of my son’s in the fifth grade coming into the classroom and being told by the female teacher, “Oh I have heard he’s one of the ‘good boys.’” Honestly, it was the first thing out of her mouth. I did have sons who could sit and attend, so they did fine in school, but the boys with more innate, natural physicality — not a good situation in most cases.

    This has been a crisis brewing in my nearly 30 years as a mother, I’m not surprised at the toll it’s taken on boys. The pendulum swung way to far in the support of one gender over another, and how we bear the consequences.

    And for the record, I was once arrested at a sit-in in support of the Equal Rights Amendment, so I get and lived the whole feminist thing. But fair is fair. Boys have been marginalized, treated poorly, and over medicated in schools for far too long.

    • AliceOtter33

      Agreed. I think there’s a perfect storm at work here: not enough male teachers, the rigidity of standards reform, and a steady pathologizing of behaviors that are actually found among both genders as “boy problems”. K-12 education is female dominated career. It’s hard not to see some natural bias on the part of female educators struggling to meet the demands of a system that de facto rewards a pretty narrow, old-fashioned sit-still-and-shut-up expectation of girls.

  • http://argonnechronicles.blogspot.com/ Dee

    Ms. Tyre is correct. Curriculum has been pushing downward and that’s even more the case wit Common Core. Many children, but probably boys especially, are not developmentally ready for this pushed-down curriculum. The idea seems to be that if we teach it earlier we teach it better, but in fact we are teaching what many are not yet ready for and therefore teaching them that they “can’t.” It’s hard to shake that message down line once it is ingrained.

    Also, as others have pointed out, school is much more sedentary than it once was. Recess was naturally a part of everyday school, sometimes 2 and 3 times per day. Kids, especially boys, can pay better attention if they are active. But we are cramming so much academics into the elementary school day that recess is shorter and shorter or nonexistent. And then we wonder why the boys can’t sit still, can’t pay attention. This is not rocket science. We are not working with the way boys learn and develop but against it.

  • Jeff

    I feel like schools are trending to be “anti-boy” as time goes on, forcing an entire class to sit still…punishing outbursts…fewer hands on tasks…lecture format…even a trend towards less competition between students. Even at the middle-school and high schools are forcing an indoctrination of socialism where everyone is a winner, everyone must think the same and there are fewer and fewer “shop” classes offered at many schools. School is pretty boring even for those boys who excel in that setting, almost all of it is regurgitating facts and being punished for thinking/acting outside the box…even computer programming, shop classes, science/math (subjects that appeal to boys at far higher levels than girls) are relegated to elective status while the softer sciences/arts like English, Psychology and Social Studies are forced upon each students and are required for a full 4 years in high school.

    • creaker

      You’re stepping all over yourself – “anti-boy” AND “everyone is a winner”. Which is it?

      • Jeff

        Boys thrive in a more competitive environment, by going to a “everyone is a winner” mentality then the boys see no reason to put more effort forth…why try hard if you’re rewarded anyway?

    • Ray in VT

      Those are some “interesting” views of boys, schools and agendas, all of which I pretty much totally disagree with.

      • Jeff

        What do you think is going on then?

        • Ray in VT

          Not some “anti-boy” socialist plot.

          • Jeff

            I’m just calling a spade a spade, there is no doubt the way teachers’ unions are run is a form of socialism…only seniority matters. Effort and talent matter only as much as not to be fired. It breeds sub-par performance…the schools rarely offer up the non-liberal viewpoint and it is a form of indoctrination (ever hear of the term living in academia vs the real world?). Also, you sort of proved my point, you’re so focused in on a single word you can’t see past it and can’t even stand up to have a real debate. You are a product of that system, thanks for showing us all how it can really effect boys and how they just can’t think outside the box.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that it is rather impossible to “debate” someone who is speaking of plots and throwing around “socialism” as you have. I think that you have a point of view, and it is one with which I pretty consistently disagree. It seems that you have an axe to grind and think that you’ve got it all sussed out and that it’s all of those other people that are the suckers. It seems to be a rather prevalent view among libertarians, although I tend to think that it is a product of a sort of arrogance and self importance that many who hold such views seem to have.

          • Jeff

            Good deflection, still no real discussion or salient points made about the real reasons for a decline in school among boys. Classic liberal debate tactics…finger pointing, deflections and even a run around when asked for a direct opinion. I’m open for a real debate when you’re ready…if you can manage it.

          • Ray in VT

            Which part of the plot would you care to discuss first? The part where it’s driven by women and the feminization of America or the part where it is socialistic in nature?

            I see no “real discussion” in your contentions, so I don’t really see the need to take the time to try to rebut your positions. I chalk it up more to my disinterest in your statements and a lack of what I see as the basis for them rather than any political leanings that I have.

      • 1Brett1

        And the usual suspects are saying, “you had me at ‘forcing an indoctrination of socialism’!”

    • Salty

      Good point. Boys like the competition and thrive when it is used properly, less competition = anti-boy. What’s difficult to understand about that? (25 years of, mostly middle teaching experience, inform my opinion.)

    • jimino

      Thinking like a conservative, this sounds to me like parents of male stupid jerks looking to find someone to blame for their and their offspring’s personal shortcomings, expecting the nanny state to make things better.

  • creaker

    Sounds like “boys will be boys” doesn’t play well in the current educational/work environment. Times change.

    • Joe Mahma

      So we should condition boys to be something other than what they are??? God help us all.

  • Joe Mahma

    .
    All I can say is, it’s a very good thing I don’t have a young son in the school system today because I would be on fire over the rampant over-policing of kids these days. Saying “yes ma’am” (as a joke) to another boy gets a one day suspension????? Because it “offends” the other boy!?!?! Kill me now.
    .

    • Jeff

      I think that’s another thing that schools are doing a poor job with, teaching kids how to interact socially. I feel like I learned 10x more about social interactions being on the football team than I ever did in the decade plus of K-12 in school education. You finally feel free to discuss things and interact without the normal school rules…where joking is a suspendable offense.

    • hennorama

      Joe Mahma — You go, girl!

      • Joe Mahma

        5uck my 6alls?

  • Coastghost

    Parents today are relieved to let robots raise their children for them, teachers are relieved to let robots educate their charges: surprise surprise.

    • Ray in VT

      Where can I get one of those kid-raising robots?

      • Coastghost

        Any device with internet connectivity suffices today.

        • Ray in VT

          So not really robots? Too bad. I was hoping to get some sort of Rosie robot maid to help out around the house.

          • Coastghost

            Robots today are “programmed machines”: they are not required to simulate human somatic existence or capability, since their appeal to us consists of depriving us of our somatic existence.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that “any device with internet connectivity” fits that definition. I do care for more vaguely humaney looking robots for interaction purposes, although they may be more properly referred to as androids.

  • MarkVII88

    Because boys greatly outnumber girls in terms of those who receive special education supports, is it any wonder why teachers seem to favor girls? What I mean is that teachers are human too and if you’ve ever been annoyed by someone else’s behavior it is only natural to take a more negative attitude toward that person and a more favorable attitude toward those who you may get along with better or who are easier to connect with.

    • L Martinez

      But how about when any kid, or group of kids ( of whatever gender) disrupts the classroom and keeps everyone else from learning?
      I have seen female students do this too

      • MarkVII88

        Of course, I’m speaking in general. There’s no reason why girls can’t be disruptive in class too. All I’m saying is that we’re getting good at identifying and assigning supports to those in school who need them. Students with issues requiring supports are more likely to disrupt the class and these students tend to be mostly boys. Since the trend has not been to segregate these students from the rest of the student body the class as a whole must deal with such disruptions, no matter how rare. And then we come back to my initial statement.

  • Rick Evans

    I went to school in the 1950s and for the most part never liked school. Despite that I have a physical science Ph.D. What worked for me mostly happened outside the classroom. I had a library card at 7 and a father who took my sister and me to the library regularly where I spent a lot of time in the 500 and 600 sections. I had a Golden Books science encyclopedia to satisfy my interest in science. Our South Bronx family invested in a set of general encyclopedias that got lots of use.

    By contrast in school the mostly female teachers had no interest in doing science and singularly focused on arithmetic and story book reading. I have never been interested in reading general fiction but that’s always been the interest of reading teachers. Even science fiction, adventure fiction or sports fiction popular among boys has always been treated as juvenile fiction by English teachers. Girl friendly relationship literature is the thing in high school.

    • L Martinez

      “Girl friendly relationship literature is the thing in high school” ?
      Too bad for that

  • AliceOtter33

    The love of movement is not a gendered issue!

    Recess, P.E., dance, music, theater – both girls and boys need more of all!

    My daughter plays soccer with boys and girls every day at recess – and is fortunate to go to a school that is all about extra recess!

    Meanwhile, we really need more male teachers!

    In addition to the need for more racial diversity among teachers, we need more gender diversity among teachers at all grade levels.

    More male teachers would benefit boys, but it would also enrich the experience of female students.

    My son has struggled a bit in kindergarten, but having a male kindergarten classroom assistant has been great! But other than this one male assistant teacher, he and my daughter’s three different elementary schools have had no male lead classroom teachers at all.

    • L Martinez

      You brought up something important up.
      Girls and boys need to be taught differently according to their gender or sex inferences.

      The same for people of different races and cultures.

  • Coastghost

    If “women are every bit as competitive as men”, why are female athletes prohibited from competition in professional athletics? Why is no female NBA team trouncing male teams year-in and year-out? Where is the female NFL league that is poised to win Super Bowl trophies over the next decade? What NHL team has the highest rate of female participation present, and how many teeth are these female hockey enthusiasts missing?

    • Ray in VT

      Is this supposed to be witty or something?

      • Coastghost

        Is “equality” supposed to be a tenable political ideal or something?

        • Ray in VT

          Find a lady who can toss a 100mph fastball and I think that you will find that at least some MLB teams will be interested.

          • L Martinez

            As long as they don’t have to pay her the same amount as a man

          • Ray in VT

            There was a woman from Japan who threw the knuckleball who was around Spring Training a few years ago. There was some talk of interest from some independent leagues, but I don’t know if anything ever came of it.

        • L Martinez

          There is no equality. it is a myth

      • L Martinez

        It is supposed to be sarcastic, i guess

    • L Martinez

      There are some women sports teams which don’t get the attention that men’s sports teams get. I am talking about women’s hockey, basketball, and football.The women’s teams don’t generate as much revenue as men’s teams. Without money, women’s sports cannot be as visible as mens’ sports. Young women and girls don’t often see women engaging in these sports and therefore don’t have the role models they need to be influenced to go into such sports. And the few women and girls who do go into these sports, it is a struggle to get money to keep the team going. Men’s professional sports, tend to be lucrative. After all, even that “bigot” Donald Sterling was slapped with a penalty of at least a million and it was less than the proverbial slap on the wrist to him.

  • Kathy

    I’d say that many of the same gender stereotypes that people are putting forth are exactly what’s leading boys and men to underachieve. Being an intelligent well educated person isn’t just uncool for boys, it’s also unmanly. Men are big dumb brutes who need to grunt out at recess, not study.

    Sadly, most of the “solutions” seem to reinforce these stereotypes.

    • Salty

      I gather this is trying to be a “support the opposite to prove the point” type argument. Clever!

      • Ray in VT

        Whatever Kathy’s intent, I do think that there are groups or elements in our society who do view being a man or manly in just such a way. A bunch of the guys who have worked on my brother’s farm view being manly as dippin’, muddin’ and watchin’ rasslin. Reading and studying to them seems to be for sissies. Now, this is just my impression from a few guys, so I am not generalizing, but such views do exist among some.

        • Kathy

          Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. There’s a lot of messages to boys that to be a Real Man(TM), you have to be ignorant and brutish. That may not be something the upper middle class listeners of NPR are particularly familiar with, but I run into it all the time.

          A lot of the “solutions” to fix boys amounts to embracing this stereotype. “Boys want to go outside and run around, not study!” or “boys are naturally more aggressive, we should stop suspending them for disrupting class.” Well, maybe we should look at all the ways that society tells boys this is how they should behave instead of embracing it as inevitable.

          • L Martinez

            Same for girls. Girls are taught to believe that it is “unladylike” to play sports or learn to fight.

        • 1Brett1

          Thumbs up for the “dippin’, muddin’ and watchin’ rasslin’” phrase!

          • Ray in VT

            Dippin’ ain’t just for the guys in the town where my brother lives. Apparently a bunch of the ladies do it as well. Very attractive. Nothing quite like a girl with tabackey stains on her lip.

        • L Martinez

          Stereotypes exist. In fact most people are stereotypes. Get over it everyone. It is only political correctness to deny it.

          • Ray in VT

            Stereotypes do indeed exist, and sometimes they have something of a basis in reality, but I think that we should try as much as possible to not let such views or preconceptions color our impressions of or opinions about people.

      • L Martinez

        That is the way it usually is.

    • L Martinez

      Another good point.
      And yet males will still go on to become the gender that will invent and design and build and develop the overwhelming majority of things and systems that everyone will use such as new technological devices, medical breakthroughs, etc etc.
      ,,not females who sit and study and are organized…

  • tuxedobob

    When I moved from Illinois to Massachusetts in 1993, I was struck by how much shorter the school day was. I remember high school in Illinois going from 7:45 to 3:15. When I moved here, it was more like 8:30 to 1:45.

    The school day needs to be longer. There needs to be more time in the day. Elementary school probably needs more downtime (recess), and high school probably needs more uptime. Classes such as PE and art are more active classes and could stand to see more school time than simply once per week.

    • L Martinez

      A lot of people would argue that for a few generations kids have been doing worse in school because there are to many “extra curricular” activities such as gym or PE and not enough time learning math and reading and writing.

      But it seems to me that it is always damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Years ago, there were those “President’s Council On Physical Fitness” commercials (which BTW were way before today’s “obesity epidemic” hoopla (which is actually overstated and a plot by the diet product industry to sell more diet and “health” products)) encouraging more physical education for kids whom were out-of-shape. And a lot of people claim that too much emphasis on sports has made kids more weak in the brain.

      • tuxedobob

        You’re really driving the sales of tinfoil, aren’t you?

  • Scott B

    There’s a couple of scientific things that are being missed. Not just missed, but denied. There ARE differences between male and female brains.

    One, females have a thicker corpus collosum, which lets the two halves of their brain communicate better. That’s why girls start speaking sooner.

    Two, regardless of sex, brains need time to process new information, even an hours between classes is a great help. It’s hard for even college students to retain information well when they have class after class. That stuff they learned in math class at 10am gets pushed out by the new information in science class at 11am. These kids have class after class after class.

    • macwebster

      This is an excellent point. For sure, the relentless class-after-class schedule is deadening to my son. There is no question that brains have gender differences – I thought that was squarely confirmed by the all new brain scan research.

    • L Martinez

      Try learning at an older age

  • ABDaigle

    I am tired of reading about the “poor boys” and what they are having to endure! Boys and girls BOTH need exercise, learn at different paces based on individual differences, have good and bad behavior, etc. Yes, there are differences, but we share much more in common. Concerning wages – women have done the majority of real work in the world for hundreds if not thousands of years. What is happening is not a loss of wages for men, but a shift in balance for paid and unpaid work. For the first time in history women are being compensated for their work. What we need is a reassessment of work in general, what we value and how it is compensated.

    • L Martinez

      Its all slave wages

  • M S

    A female friend of mine had a child a couple of years ago. The father of that child is a carpenter who makes extremely beautiful furniture, but his earnings were hurt due to the recession as well as his work being generally low wage. She subsequently went to work with him staying at home and she eventually left him taking the child…off to single-mother status. I recently reminded her that Jesus was a carpenter.

    • Joe Mahma

      Nothing scares me more that the expectations of women.

      • L Martinez

        Yes. They all want your money. Keep away from them.

      • Guest

        Why would it scare you?

    • skelly74

      Yes, but Jesus had no steady family like either…he wouldn’t be considered a “catch” today…regardless if he could walk on water. Show them the money, or hit the road.

  • MaryHelen Gunn

    Highly effective community organizing models partner employers (who need workers with certain skills) with community colleges (who strive to graduate employable students) and related government agencies (like Unemployment Services) – to create school-to-work curricula and hiring guarantees.

    Why not apply such models to middle-school and highschool education? If not all grads are college-bound, let’s preapre them for the work we know we’ll need. I know countless aging homeowners, not only Boomers but elders and GenXers too – who need various kinds of physical help at home, but can’t find affordable folks with skills to move furniture, complete one-off landscaping tasks, paint a stairwell, assist an elder with mobility needs.

    Why not develop programs with opportunities for young students to develop home-help job skills under skillful supervision and facilitation? Voc-Tech for the 21st Century’s aging US population! If they’ve got energy to burn, let’s channel that where it’s needed! Students could, as part of this, develop early skills and credentials for potential careers in social work, unionized home-health work, and much more.

    • L Martinez

      It might be seen as getting free labor from young people who are being taken advantage of because they need credits or work skill etc

  • macwebster

    Wow, your panel is missing the point. Stop talking about sociology and economics and get back to the problems in the ground game!!! There IS a difference in the brains, in developmental timelines, regardless of class. I and my fellow parents of teen boys can’t believe the challenges we face compared with our girls. Boys don’t have many extracurricular options that aren’t sports. As problems start to appear, the counselors are simply not equipped to analyze it – and they just suggest ‘counselors.’ My son is in a good middle class high school and I see firsthand the boys just are not getting integrated into coping with the kind of discipline high school now requires. They need more time to process, period.

    • adks12020

      “Boys don’t have many extracurricular options that aren’t sports.” Really? When I was in high school, granted that was in the late 90s, I played sports, played in band and jazz band, and had a host of other extracurricular activities available to me if I wanted to take part. I went to a small rural school in upstate New York. Boys may stigmatize some activities but that doesn’t mean they aren’t available.

      Also, sports can really help kids to focus and learn discipline. Burning off all that energy every day was very good for me. Without it I probably wouldn’t have been able to focus in school at all. I also would’ve skipped like some of my friends if I didn’t have to be there for sports despite the fact that I was a good student.

      • L Martinez

        Some schools have better facilities than others

      • L Martinez

        I really dislike how some people paint this as making it a “kinder and gentler world.”
        It is about getting rid of incompetence.

    • L Martinez

      Your boys will still end up dominating the world simply because they are boys

  • Anne

    My son, 10 years old, is constantly compared to his female classmates, who tend to be more organized, neat, and motivated. He is usually not very interested in much of the literature presented in school, and not interested in the math lectures. There are few hands-on activities in school, which might appeal more to active learners. Yet, my son LOVES school, his friends, lunch, recess, and all the after-school activities. As the work becomes more intense, and believe me, 4th grade is a lot harder now than it was 30 years ago, I’m so worried he will lose interest in school. He is extremely bright, and a voracious reader. He has read the Boston Globe every single day since age 5. He reads high school history and social studies textbooks. He loves legos, drawing, and playing outside. Though with all the homework, there isn’t much time for free play. We are a highly educated, two-parent family with many resources. He has a private tutor, and many supports to “help” him…..even though he is a very “normal” fourth grade boy. The teachers seem unable and unwilling to delve into some areas which might spark the attention of boys. Why do boys need to change who they are to fit into school?

    • L Martinez

      Good point.
      The irony is that your example with your own son seems to indicate that certain subjects are only a burden for boys to be put to learn because boys don’t have a natural inclination toward “neatness” “organization” and any topic that requires those abilities.
      It seems you indicate that boys are designed psychologically and physically for rugged play, and activities that involve action, and an imagination for games that involve war, driving cars, using building blocks (snakes and snails and puppy dog tails) etc.

      And yet you say that your son is not interested in math. Strangely it is said that women are the ones whom are behind men when it comes to math which is why women don’t go into engineering or science professions.
      You say that your son loves recess and after school activities. Some of that sounds like social activities. And it is said that girls are more “social” than boys are.

      It is confusing how males go on to dominate in the work world. They are architects , engineers, doctors, scientists, chemists, etc etc. And here we are saying that math is too much of a topic that requires concentration and organization for boys to be interested in or naturally good at.

      It seems to indicate that males may not actually be the ultimate best at math or science but they end up going into those professions anyway because they are not physically burdened with having to take time off from the job to raise a family.

  • X Y & Z

    “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative is part of President Obama’s unabashed race based agenda, aka “divide and conquer”.

    • harverdphd

      and will fail as did the war on drugs, the war on poverty, and the admonishments of Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson and other blacks trying to help blacks.

      • L Martinez

        Blacks are an un-helpable race

        • L Martinez

          Throw in Hispanics there too

  • M S

    It’s a shame the U.S. Federal Government conspired with our corporate elites to outsource our manufacturing jobs.

    • harverdphd

      Tell Obama

  • melaniecb

    I think this discussion missed a tremendously important point that is worth another show entirely. Lots of talk about boys from single parent households not doing well, needing tutoring, big brother/big sister kinds of supports. As someone working within the family courts system, I can say with confidence that there is a strong leaning toward cutting divorced dads out of child-rearing except for a few hours here and there, and making them monetary contributors only. All kids need dads, but since you are talking about boys and about bringing in outside supports, a significant focus MUST be placed on fostering supports from fathers as meaningful child-raisers FIRST. Fathers teach boys how to be boys. The role of a father simply cannot be replaced.

    • Salty

      Dad’s on the scene and engaged are crucial. I didn’t have one, I know. Boys without dads all too often don’t learn to be men, they just get to be bigger boys. It is time for men to be men and be responsible. But… our current welfare state discourages this.

      • melaniecb

        The men = bad paradigm tinges not only education discourse but also family discourse. There is an assumption that men don’t want to be involved; the default position is that they are not as central to child-rearing as moms, that are not natural parents. As a single mom, I find this offensive. It isn’t popular to say this, but it is very, very easy to push a dad out of children’s lives with restraining orders and charges of violence. These problems do exist and should be addressed. But the system has swung in the direction of reacting swiftly and harshly to excise dads from their children’s lives, and sensational cases are used as if they are emblematic of all dads. Shared parenting legislation has failed to reach our legislators for a variety of reasons, including the very powerful lobby of attorneys whose livelihood depends on fueling an adversarial system. Until we deal with this, our efforts will, I believe, fall woefully short. Tom, do a show on this issue!

  • Ion 412

    I believe the underlying way in which much of the discussions and solutions are framed in terms of polarization is what Ms. Peg Tyre was referring to. The ills that have held sectors of society back have required a tangible culprit in modern thought process. It is in that sense that we have gotten used to oppressing by contrast to redeem a previous ill, the culture of compartmentalizing, guilty conscience, and general force to resolve NOW! that undermines a real Humanistic fundamental change of principles. There is a real danger of chaos and perpetual oscillation by blaming ‘the other’ while keeping the fundamental culprit of oppression intact that seems to elude the discussion for lack of platform. In this sense, history is throwing up at us these policies playing out in forms of race, class, issues if we know how to read it. Even in your discussion it was said at one point in conclusion to the current imbalance that ‘those men [of lessor advantage] don’t make good spouses’. That, when a rational, scientific, conclusion could have, at best, been a look at the paradigm and understanding what elements cause disparity between the perspective of each.

  • skelly74

    Most boys are raised as cannon fodder. We need more war or they will overflow the streets and eat our youngling’s…and urinate on our toilet seats.

    • L Martinez

      Your last 6 words are true

  • mitspanner

    Government schools are collectivist training centers in which the student’s presence is like that of inmate in a correctional facility. That women supposedly thrive in that environment is a question that needs more examination. The surveillance state and the collapsing economy are the poison fruit that results.

    • Sy2502

      Government schools function the same way they have always functioned, and that was was set up by men for the education of boys. History is a wonderful thing, when you get to know it.

      • L Martinez

        Just like Orthodox cultures

    • L Martinez

      School has always been a place in which you need to sit and listen. To compare that with a correctional facility is taking things too far.

  • Ken Jones

    Implied but not discussed is that fact that men and women are NOT identical. Men – particularly young men – need relevance. When raised in a single adult household where that single adult is a woman, the boys note that they are not needed in the grand scheme of things.

    How are our ex-factory worker families and
    their children coping with 21st century unemployment?

    In the day, men had:

    1. Strength: emotional toughness,
    courage, self-reliance, aggression, rationality
    2. Honor: duty,
    loyalty, responsibility, integrity, selflessness, compassion,
    generativity
    3. Action: competitiveness, ambition, dominance,
    risk-taking

    • L Martinez

      It seems to indicate that men are emotionally frail and need to be humored about their “importance”

      • Alchemical Reaction

        What seems to indicate men are emotionally frail and need to be humored about their “importance”??????

        • L Martinez

          What “Ken Jones” said

  • Ken Jones

    How are our ex-factory worker families and
    their children coping with 21st century unemployment?

    In the day, men had:

    1. Strength: emotional toughness,
    courage, self-reliance, aggression, rationality
    2. Honor: duty,
    loyalty, responsibility, integrity, selflessness, compassion,
    generativity
    3. Action: competitiveness, ambition, dominance,
    risk-taking

    Ken

    • geraldfnord

      Yes, in the ideal…there was an awful lot of alcoholism, domestic abuse, fighting and mob violence to work out individual frustration,and general acting as if they could command by right (perhaps because they were told so, repeatedly and forcefully) even as other men had the right to command them.

      What’s silly to me is the way in which all of the good qualities were tied to having a job; I can’t shake the feeling (and I’m repeating myself now) is that the job itself was so unpleasant, dangerous, and well-paid that only by linking it to a self-esteem proper to all those good qualities could it be bearable. I think one can be independently wealthy and embody all of the above, most of which are classically aristocratic values—for example, who better to develop the capacity of self-restraint than one not restrained by circumstance—even as this is often not the case.

  • Sy2502

    How do boys now fare against boys of past decades? I ask because I wonder if their shortcomings are becoming apparent now only because they have girls to be compared against.

    • L Martinez

      Good question. Decades ago, girls were not supposed to go to school to learn to become doctors, or engineers, or scientists etc.

    • L Martinez

      However, in past decades there wasn’t as much technology to know about either. Now kids have to know about computers, the internet, virtual law..

  • TyroneJ

    I’m a college professor. The lack of independence is horrible these days for all college age kids,but it’s especially bad for boys due to their Mommy’s ability to instantly text & call them. The best advice I’d give parents is to not talk or text their college age kids any more frequently than once a week. Once a month for the boys.

    • Ray in VT

      My brother called me after my first week in college and told me to call our mom because she was worried because she hadn’t heard from me. She was worried, but I was having the time of my life. Parents do, I think, need to let the line out a little on the kids and let them take more chances and maybe fail at some things.

    • AnneDH

      I totally agree.

      I have one daughter who graduated from college a year ago and another in her Junior year.

      Although it was emotionally difficult sometimes for us, we knew that this was their first step into the world as independent beings & needed to be able to ‘find their own feet’ in this new, challenging environment away from home.

      As we see it, we had had our opportunity to influence & full time nurture them for the first 18 yrs of their lives; it was now time to let them go… letting them know we were available for them whenever needed, of course.

      As the final verse of ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water’ says:
      “Sail on, silver girl; your time has come to shine…’

  • Alchemical Reaction

    The sole problem is the mixed messages kids get. Pure and simple. It’s paralyzing. Adults are so full of !@#$

    • L Martinez

      Kids should be given an individualized education?
      In the military it is an insult if you are called an individual.

      • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

        Kids aren’t in the military.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    I’m not sure anyone is assuming that. The system is in a state of inertia.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Yes, and also students need to be able to address these things directly with the person they feel offended by.
    Walking on eggshells is no way to live, either. it’s impossible to predict what will offend someone. And just because an action offends someone doesn’t mean it’s “wrong”.

  • L Martinez

    If college isn’t emphasized for everyone, a lot of people would be afraid that there will be a disproportionate amount of minorities in jobs that don’t require a college degree . However what I have seen ( I went to college in the 80s), is that all those people whom decades previous to the 80s, would not have gone to college, were in college and they were bringing their lower-class manners into the college environment and making it like a badly run high school.
    It is more than merely “not encouraging” college for everyone since some people are meant just to get low-wage , or working class jobs.
    Colleges have lowered standards to accommodate a lot of people who should not be there

  • L Martinez

    A lot of people who grew up decades ago (the 20s , 30s, 40s, and even 50s ), would say it worked fine for them and that today, there are new learning methods that have produced generations of kids that cannot read or write. A friend of mine is in her late 60s and she says that in her day, she graduated high school knowing basics of reading writing and math. But today, kids are taught “creative thinking” and/or “critical thinking” and the teaching system has gone from the tried-and-true method of testing to pop psychology

  • L Martinez

    Hmm, You hit hard with that logic

  • L Martinez

    Some students need to be urged more strongly to behave

  • patinpa

    The argument is specious. It has only been in the last twenty five years or so that girls and boys have competed equally. In the past, girls were actively discourage, if not forbidden, to compete in most areas academically and financially. In 1972, I took the military’s aptitude test (along with the NMSQT, SAT, etc.) and outscored most of the boys in my class in math, mechanical knowledge and physics (even though I hadn’t had any physics since 8th grade and had never had shop. All repairs in our military household were done by my mother.) They got analyses that suggested careers in airplane mechanics or computers and I got airline hostess and teacher. Go figure. Medical, engineering and science schools have only begun including more than a token number of girls in the last twenty years. Face it – boys were only competing against boys in the past. They aren’t falling behind, they are performing pretty much as they always have. Girls have made gains because girls have finally been allowed to strive for them.
    There are problems with modern public education that do negatively impact boys more than girls: the death of PE and recess, the early start time in high school (there is a brain reorg somewhere in the early teens that means many boys quite literally don’t wake up before 10 am and can’t fall asleep at night. It wasn’t a big thing when you were leaning your dozy head against the belly of a milk cow but it is a very big thing if you are learning trig or history.) More mothers in the workforce and a more litigious society means no more recess and what idiot believes a child, especially a boy eight or older (another one of those reorgs happens at about age 7 to 8) to sit still for seven or eight hours a day? Hence the growth of ADHD diagnoses.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      I tried to find something to criticize in your argument but just found myself agreeing with you.

    • L Martinez

      Good statistical information there.

  • Ken Jones

    I do not think that the ability to easily join a team, follow a leader, and accomplish a goal is a sign of weakness. In-the-days before agriculture it was what brought meat back to the fire for the mother and the kids. It also made possible the storming invasion of Iwo Jima, the uniting of the tribes of Asia by Genghis Khan and in the bible, Jericho. The young men of today have the Arab Spring and our urban drug gangs.

    • L Martinez

      That is really long-term logic

  • Sy2502

    Why is this important to you? People can be smart and never publish anything, you know? And why is it an accomplishment to you only if it’s in math or physics? Human knowledge is a lot wider than that.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Why would we want them to be ordinary?

  • TonySandos

    As usual, the majority of the questions were aimed at girls and all the solutions were addressed toward both boys and girls, never on boys alone. Boys are also blamed again.

  • TonySandos

    Why do girls out perform boys in the formative years? Its culturally traditional for girls to be provisioned by their parent/parents until adulthood and boys to learn self sustainment. The majority are given an advantage up front and advanced in a education system that favors them

  • homebuilding

    There are many who make it their full time job to make certain that we all know that single mothers will, on their own, be a great parent.

    Growing evidence shows this to not be the case, universally. The manner in which both boys and girls, increasingly, do not have access to a present father reflects a growing variety of social pathology and difficulties.

    Yes, the mantra of the abusive dad is repeated, ad nauseum, whilst the majority of absent men are run off by women who wanted a twin sister for a husband–the entire process encouraged by ‘therapists.’

    We do so totally lack models and instruction for good couple and family life……and have decided that “give-up-itis” will take care of things. It will not.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      I agree completely, yet the situation seems dire!

  • L Martinez

    Well, you know if the women start acting that way, they will be criticized for being “b–ches” and “aggressive” and
    ” neurotic.”

    Recently Jill Abramson (executive editor of NY Times) asked to be paid as much as her predecessor, and mysteriously was replaced.

    http://www.wnyc.org/story/was-abramson-victim-double-standard/

  • L Martinez

    You’re right. But you seem to forget, that women are “forbidden” from combat, at least in writing.
    In reality women have fought wars since there have been wars, but they were not officially considered “soldiers.”
    Even in the most recent wars, Afghanastan, Iraq or whatever, women were put on the front lines because the “strongest, toughest, best” males all got killed or maimed, then the second-best men were put up front, and they also got killed or maimed and their numbers reduced, so what else was there to do but put women there?
    Of course the military is the kind of establishment that says that whatever is written down as protocol, that is what the military strictly follows, therefore the military does not acknowledge women on the front lines.

  • L Martinez

    That is something I previously mentioned.

    It is strange how boys reportedly don’t do as well academically as girls in school, but nevertheless go on to dominate in professions such as engineering, architecture, rocket science etc..

    It either means that males just will take over the work world in spite of the fact that females could do smarter work, or it means that for some strange reason, females lose their spatial and academic abilities when they reach adulthood.

  • L Martinez

    Yes, the fields of technology, and science are what have enabled inventions and innovations. Historically, women have had little to do with all that overall.

    I don’t know about “publishing” anything in journals, as to whether that is a main determinant of anyone’s intelligence (though it can be said that it would give the illusion that you are particularly bright) .

    • discountbrains .

      Its not an illusion at all. What nonsense! It shows someone is able to contribute to our body of knowledge. Why don’t u try it? Or is it just an illusion?

  • Vic Volpe

    My first report card — 1951. When I took it home, my mother was in shock. She went in to talk to the teacher and the teacher said, “He’s a boy. He’ll grow out of it.” [Twenty-five years later, I got my Master's Degree.]

  • homebuilding

    Discount, while I’d be a bit more charitable re Ashbrook, I do fully agree with you on your comment regarding inventions.
    And the “N” is in the millions. This is not an isolated statement about how my mom fixed the thermocouple on the hot water heater, all by herself!
    And, it must be said, the vast majority of inventions were brought to take the drudgery out of the lives of both men and women and to make it a safer place for all to work and live.
    If you are a male and don’t get the cooking and housekeeping classes that you want, do go to the principal and the school board to make such available to you–advocate for yourself, if your gender ascribed roles are a bit of a mismatch.
    If you are female and somehow you find yourself excluded from STEM classes or weld shop, do go out and advocate for yourself, as well.
    Simply stated, for the rest of my life, there will be far more female interest expressed in some areas and far more male interest may be expressed in others. Men and women do have some differences. Some of us are smart enough to pursue the best in complementary roles and tasks.
    To spend so much time and effort quibbling over details is to negate the progress of all the inventions mentioned above……meanwhile, I’ll do the dishes while you gas the car and check the tires for our trip, together

  • Regular_Listener

    I agree with caller Mike, and it is something I have seen also. In many cases, abuse of males and intolerant attempts to stamp out male behaviors are presented as compassionate, caring discipline and protection of supposed victims.

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Jul 30, 2014
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

Social media is changing how the world sees and talks about Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll look at the impact.

Jul 30, 2014
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Conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza says he wants an America without apologies. He’s also facing jail time. We’ll hear him out.

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The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

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On Point Blog
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In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

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