Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Study on Gender Gap in Math - it doesn't exist

The new study from University of Wisconsin looks at international data and claims,

"In summary, we conclude that gender equity and other sociocultural factors, not national income, school type, or religion per se, are the primary determinants of mathematics performance at all levels for both boys and girls. Our findings are consistent with the gender stratified hypothesis, but not with the greater male variability, gap due to inequity, single-gender classroom, or Muslim culture hypotheses."

It is important to look at their breakdown of data, it is extensive. It does discuss the status of gender gap within the United States and links it to the lacks of overall gender equality.

Now, if someone would do this type of study with international reading scores.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Differences in Brain Volume Affect Spatial Ability

A new study that claims that the different brain volume of males and females benefits males spatial ability. This might have to do with geometry? If you are a math teacher or someone doing research, this could be an up to date article to talk about.

Differences in Higher Ed Achievement

A working report on differences in higher education achievement favoring women. The authors state that the surprising information was that the gap was in all sub groups.

Could this be a result of a growing gender achievement gap in K 12 education?

Recognizing and acknowledging that there is an issue worth considering is a start. Then, getting teachers to talk about and examine what happens in the classroom is next. Then agreeing to implement some strategies and documenting their impact with gendered subgroups would be next.

It doesn't have to be stereotyping, just looking at quality teaching and how it affects groups.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gender Differences in Heart Disease

USA Today reports a study that shows that There are differences in heart related diseases. It seems to be broadly accepted and will be used to prescribe appropriate tests for men and women. Seems like differentiation to me.

Small Study from Africa on Second Language Acquisition and Gender Differences

An interesting study from South Africa that shows that girls out performed boys, on average, on second language acquisition, but that the difference was not statistically significant.  It goes on to say that boys and girls should be no differentiation in the ways boys and girls are taught.
It is good to see articles and research from multiple areas around the world.  No one study though should sway someone one way or another, as educators we need to consider multiple perspectives.
As for me, the higher scores of girls may not be significant, but need to be considered.  Differentiation is not just gender-based, but something based on the students that are in your classroom.  One must see, really see, the students that we teach and bring content and skills to them that matter or present in a way that matter.
For example, today, I was teaching about South Carolina and their participation in the Continental Congress.  Five, wealthy, white, men from the low country (along the coast) who, for the most part, did not want independence from Britain.  As I mentioned earlier, most of my classes, have 66% - 75% females and 90% Hispanic and African-American.  I had to draw out the background of those men going to the Constitutional Congress and the difficulty that was eventually faced as history unfolded.  Further, impressing upon them, and opening up a discussion, on taking advantage of opportunities that they have now ... even considering what might have been the case if the background of the participants were different.
Thoughts?

Gender Based Data in Canada

An article that looks at the decline of the performance of boys in math and science in Canada.  From the article:


Boys have fallen behind in science and lost their long-held dominance in math, and though the results are a Canadian first, the problem may be a familiar one: reading.
Reading has been a weak spot for boys for decades. The latest national standardized test results show the gap between girls and boys in reading is growing, and that it is spreading to math and science.
This issues seems to have a gendered layer to it.  No, it isn't just a single-gender issue, but, yes, single-gender classes could be part of a potential solution.  But a greater understanding of how to make reading engaging and important to boys is important.  But, for some reason, we just aren't concerned to the degree to really engage people in this conversation yet.

What have you done to bring this issue forward in your local setting?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Objects through space

From Shea at WSJ ... I still have to check the source, but more information on some basic differences that could impact classroom interactions.

From his column

Gender: Why Boys Keep Trucking

Innate fascination with propulsive motion may explain why boys gravitate to toys that move, like trucks.

After watching videos of adults cradling and striking balloons, male but not female 6-to-9-month-olds began to hit balloons more often. This suggests that males have an innate fascination with "propulsive movement," researchers say.

After getting acquainted with a toy balloon, 45 children—too young to label themselves by gender—watched split-screen video clips: On one side, a man or woman cradled a balloon; on the other, the same man or woman hit the balloon.

Boys tended to watch the people striking balloons more than girls did. After watching, they batted their own balloons more than before, while girls didn't change behavior.

There were no sex differences in how children handled the balloons before the videos started and no evidence that the parents of boys had promoted this play style.

If an innate fascination with propulsive motion exists, it may explain why boys gravitate to toys that move, such as trucks, without parental encouragement, researchers said.

"Male More Than Female Infants Imitate Propulsive Motion," Joyce F. Benenson, Robert Tennyson and Richard W. Wrangham, Cognition (November)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ACLU in Missouri

Their attack continues. Make no mistake, the ACLU is launching an attack and they are using recently issues political pieces dressed up in Science magazine for support, claiming that there is no scientific evidence. If you are looking at single gender education, make sure you have clear rationale and support of your school board.

Single gender in Texas

Austin School District taking the lead on public single gender programs
http://kutnews.org/post/austin-isd-hold-public-meeting-single-sex-schools

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Interactions in a Coed Classroom

After one week back in an 8th grade coed classroom, the first observation is that most of the disruptions come from interactions between boys and girls.  Not all, but most.  Easily 80% of the disruptions come from flipping someone's hair, taking a binder or pencil, moving something, or saying something to get their attention.  There are certainly distractions that come from side conversations as well.  Boys and girls are more equal on this I think.  In both cases, I plan on keep track for a week (after I put together a simply recording sheet.)
Do you have any observations or gut reactions?

Positive Article on Single-Gender from Ithaca New York

An elementary school is having success with single-gender classes in Ithaca, New York.  If you are interested in starting a program, articles like this would be good to share with board members and parents.

Florida School District to Consider Single-Gender due to Competition with Charters

Interesting that the drive is to respond to competition from charters and private schools (http://mobile.sun-sentinel.com/p.p?m=b&a=rp&id=1142791&postId=1142791&postUserId=42&sessionToken=&catId=6700&curAbsIndex=1&resultsUrl=DID%3D6%26DFCL%3D1000%26DSB%3Drank%2523desc%26DBFQ%3DuserId%253A42%26DL.w%3D%26DL.d%3D10%26DQ%3DsectionId%253A6700%26DPS%3D0%26DPL%3D3)

Perhaps this is within the realm of increasing choice (which is part of the federal regulations).

Study on SAT and Answering Questions

An interesting study looking at the SAT, answering questions, risk-taking, guessing, and penalties.  From the abstract:

We nd that when no penalty is assessed for a wrong answer, all test-takers
answer every question. But, when there is a small penalty for wrong answers and the task is
explicitly framed as an SAT, women answer signi cantly fewer questions than men. We see
no differences in knowledge of the material or con dence in these test-takers, and differences
in risk preferences fail to explain all of the observed gap. Because the gender gap exists only
when the task is framed as an SAT, we argue that differences in competitive attitudes may drive
the gender differences we observe.

Do you this in your own classroom?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Imbalance in Honors Class

I return to the classroom tomorrow, in coed classrooms.  In reviewing my class list, I noticed that in my honors course, 7 of the 25 students are male in one class and 8 out of 28 are male in the other class.  My regular classes have 5 out of 16 males and 3 out of 13 males.  Overall, this is the AVID team, so there may be some criteria for being on the team itself.  If this were the case, then it might mirror national stats about overall achievement and success of males in school.  If this isn't the case, then what brought out such an imbalance?  Random computer function?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

College Course on Gender Differences

University of Vermont offering an education course on difference. Hopefully more colleges will start preparing preservice teachers in the area of gender.  At least they can be aware of the debate.  I taught an on-line graduate course for two terms last year and half of the teachers taught in coed classes.  All found the information and discussion useful.  The time has come to prepare teachers, not avoid the issue or get caught in political wrangling.
http://www.uvm.edu/~summer/course.php?term=201206&crn=60857

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stress and Voice

Researchers surprisingly found a gender differences in stress responses during a study dealing with voice responses. Again, differences seem to be around us, what will educators do with them in the classroom. The issue of stress is critically important in the classroom.

Heading back to classroom - and coed classes

A personal note. I will be heading back to the classroom on November 11, 2011. And it is a coed classroom. I am thrilled to reconnect with students and have a chance to practice what I have been talking about for so long. More on what happens will follow.

Friday, October 21, 2011

India is focusing on girls

With many issues intertwined, including poverty, India is focusing on the education of girls. Using data and impact with an eye to gender, policy makers and teachers can make a difference.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Conference on Women, Aging and the Brain

Yes, a conference, October 18, 2011, focusing on women, aging and the brain.  Again, it amazes me that other professions are focusing on gendered issues, but when educators try to, we are called old-fashioned, sexists, or are trying to stereotype.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vermillion Parish Case Ends

The lawsuit between Vermillion Parish, LA and the ACLU is over. The school district agreed to not offer single gender classes in any of its schools until the 2016-2017 school year. The district says that the program ended due to decrease in parent interest.
Single gender options need support in how to create quality programs in order to meet the needs of students (which includes all teachers collaborating on strategies that affect subgroups differently.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Number of Students in Single Gender School in UK Increasing

The article notes that there is an overall increase in the number of students being sent to single-gender schools in the UK.  It also notes that the rise in boys is greater than the rise in girls.
Survey on why students pursue STEM with gendered ideas
http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2011/09/28/survey-stem-engagement-begins-early

Monday, September 26, 2011

Renewed Debate About Single Gender Education

Many of you may have seen an article run around education and news websites last Friday. The official article is, "The Pseudoscience of Single-S** Schooling" and it appeared in the journal Science (23 September 2011, Vol. 333, pages 1706-1707.)
News outlets (ABC, NY Times, Education Week - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2011/09/researchers_blast_psuedoscienc.html Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-single-sex-education-may-do-more-harm-than-good/2011/09/22/gIQABAQOoK_story.html?hpid=z4, SmartBrief - http://www.smartbrief.com/news/ascd/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=D96DEE95-EED8-46E5-8A86-81EFB2F5D50A&copyid=09E2187A-20AD-4ECE-AED9-6909674DCDB7&brief=ASCD&sb_code=rss&&campaign=rss, and even the Spartanburg Herald Journal - http://www.goupstate.com/article/20110922/ZNYT02/109223015?p=1&tc=pg) ran the story with headings like, "Study assails merits of single-sex education".
I encourage you all to read the actual article from Science magazine and at least one of the news reports so you can see how single-gender education is being discussed in wider circles.
But here is a brief synopsis and a bit of commentary on this current swirl.
1. The article itself is NOT a study. The authors are making a policy statement arguing against single-gender education and the current authorization to allow it under federal regulations of 2006. A study was not conducted by the authors. As such, the hype that this is a study is NOT the case. It is a policy argument.
2. There are four major headings: Little Evidence of Academic Advantages, No Evidence from Brain Research, Negative Impacts of Highlighting Gender, and Institutional Sexism Disguised as Choice. Again, you need to read the article (only two pages) to see their arguments for each.
2a. Little Evidence of Academic Advantages. COMMENT First, single-gender education does not have to be better than coeducation. It shouldn't be worse though. This is why schools should conduct reviews of their programs.  In South Carolina we provide the opportunity to conduct surveys of parents, students, and teachers. Second, while they claim that there isn't any hard data supporting single-gender, there isn't any hard data against it either. Further, there is some good information from surveys over the last three years that something positive is happening for parents, students, and teachers within single-gender classrooms. In news articles across the country, schools provide their own anecdotal information about the positive impact upon their own children. Third, we can NEVER say that single-gender is the actual effect for any success or failure of a child since there are many aspects within a classroom and there is ALWAYS the issue of CHOICE. This is the nature of single-gender education in public schools. To have a randomize assignment of students without the option of choice is a clear violation of federal law. Fourth, the federal government itself does not require the REPORTING of data and with budget cuts it is increasingly difficult to get reports that are not mandated by law.
2b. No Evidence from Brain Research. COMMENT This will always be argued by researchers. There are books and research reports that say that there are differences and then there are books and research that say their aren't differences. Either way, looking at international, national, and state data, there isn't equality in the performance of many subgroups - including boys and girls. As such, how we teach students is not being received in the same way by subgroups, including boys and girls. This isn't brain research, this is performance and discipline data. From this, we can look at reasons why and possibilities to affect our instructional practices to better reach all students and subgroups, including boys and girls. Understanding the potential of different tendencies for subgroups, including boys and girls, regardless of where they come from, can help inform teachers about how to best reach students. It is a way to continue to differentiate our instruction in any classroom. Single-gender education should NEVER be based upon the idea that boys and girls learn differently. And, teachers in single-gender classrooms, need to be particularly careful with the line between meeting the needs of students and stereotyping.
2c. Negative Impacts of Highlighting Gender. COMMENT The article asserts that "The strongest argument against SS education is that it reduces boys' and girls' opportunities to work together in a supervised, purposeful environment." This essentially is the real-world argument. It is important to remember that school is NOT the real world, but preparation for the real world. Educators group students according to age and focus on specific content areas for specified times often regulated by bells. This format isn't the real world either. But, we do it in order to prepare students as best we can for being successful in the real world. Remember our survey data regarding confidence, participation, effort, independence, etc. Student, parent, and teacher responses over the last four years have been very positive. Again, something positive seems to be happening in our single-gender classrooms where students are developing positive personal characteristics in order to be successful in the real world.
2d. Institutional Sexism Disguised as Choice. COMMENT Here the authors say that there is no data for the students who would best served by single-gender, that it is a "scheduling nightmare", and that training funds could be spent elsewhere. Each school determines, through looking at their data, about the specific areas of need or as a response to parent choice. That is one of the benefits of single-gender is that it can be utilized by schools in ways that they need specifically. It is true that scheduling can become difficult, but that isn't a reason to not try to accomplish something if there is a need and a desire at the school. Teaching children isn't easy. As for funds, there are ways to deliver training for all teachers in low cost/high impact ways, especially utilizing the web.  Further, providing improved instructional services for students is everyone's business and not just for single-gender classroom.
I welcome your thoughts about this current debate. Maybe it will blow by your school or maybe it will become a major issue. Either way, you need to consider the issue yourself and determine your own thoughts about the arguments for and against single-gender education.
Thank you for all you do for your students every day! They are the ones that matter in this conversation.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

All Boys School in New York

Article on a boys school in New York.
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20110906/NEWS01/109060321/New-all-male-high-school-focuses-structure-values?odyssey=nav%7Chead

Single-Gender Education Update from Washington Times

Article in Washington Times on status of single-gender, includes mention of South Carolina. http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/1/boys-in-one-class-girls-in-another-at-more-schools/

More on Washington State

A balanced opinion on the issues in Washington State.
http://blog.thenewstribune.com/opinion/2011/09/06/put-single-sex-education-in-principals-tool-box/

Spatial abilities affected by nurturing

A report with a title of Nurture Affects Spatial Abilities. Article requires payment.  I am trying to get access.
http://m.pnas.org/content/108/36/14786.full

Closure of Single-Gender Options in Washington State

From Washington State: their department of education is shutting down single gender programs.  Apparently, they are against their state constitution.  Those following single-gender education will be interested in this development.
http://kuow.org/program.php?id=24495

Hormones Impact Memory - Study

A study on how hormones from birth control pills affect memory in women.  One of the interesting parts is that Larry Cahill is quoted.  He has done much work in the areas of sex-differences and is often referenced by both pro and anti sex-difference groups as having a thorough and balanced position.
http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/News/2011/09/Birth-Control-Pills-Affect-Memory/

Girls Doing Better Than Boys with Language

Stressing biological influences, this article from Education Review looks at the issues related to boys and girls with language.
http://www.educationreview.com.au/pages/section/article.php?s=Breaking+News&idArticle=22051

Study from Columbia and Sweden on Competitiveness and Risk Tasking

A study that finds some differences in competitiveness and competition in some areas and not in others.

http://poliecon.com/2011/09/09/gender-differences-in-competitiveness-and-risk-taking-comparing-children-in-colombia-and-sweden-2/

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Report on STEM and Women

The Department of Commerce is getting into the gender act now with a report on the lack of women involved in STEM careers.  From the Executive Summary (note at the end they talk about some causes - but key is still how to teach content in a way that engages girls more.)

Our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. That leaves an untapped opportunity to expand STEM employment in the United States, even as there is wide agreement that the nation must do more to improve its competitiveness.
• Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.
• Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs – considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.
• Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.
• Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.
There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gender Difference with Emotions and Memory

Recent research that claims that men and women experience and remember negative emotion events differently.  This can impact the classroom when reading a text, viewing a video, or showing video clips and then having  a discussion, completing an assignment, or later taking a test.  Teachers need to consider the types of questions asked and the details desired.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gender and Mental Illnesses

This article looks at how gender and mental illness intersect.  It is interesting that other professions are considering how gender impacts their field and what can be learned from this.  However, in education, there is great controversy over the application of gender to benefit classroom instruction and interaction with students due to potential stereotyping.
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/08/mental-illness.aspx

Single Gender Education in Missouri

An article about a single-gender program in Kansas City, Missouri.  Year and year there are stories about schools turning to single-gender options.  However, adopting single-gender will not address potential gender based achievement gaps.  Schools as a whole have to take on this issue, not just teachers when they are teaching in a single-gender classroom.
http://m.examiner.com/exKansasCity/pm_69619/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=yYxRXr6y

Thursday, August 18, 2011

STEM for Girls: High Tech High Heels

Edweek blogs about a STEM program for girls and funding that they just received.  The program is called, High Tech High Heels.  You can visit it here:  http://hightechhighheels.org/index.htm.  Is this program creating a single-gender environment to better engage girls, trying to create a name playing on stereotypes or breaking stereotypes, or just seeking funding?
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/08/stem_program_targeting_girls_g.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gender and Alcohol

Another article about the intersection of gender and the medical community - in this case alcohol.  Better understanding how gender can impact our lives can help the variety of professions best meet needs.  Or is this stereotyping?
http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20110815/genes-play-role-in-how-alcohol-affects-men-and-women

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

China and Girls

China is focusing on girls and their dropout rate and lower literacy.  This seems to be clearly a case of cultural influences upon the performance of students.  Which goes to the case that gender differences in achievement across the world is NOT a biologically hardwired issue or even a purely cultural issue.  Both are important.  But only recognizing that gender impacts the performance of boys and girls within a specific time and place will we all begin moving forward.  
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/culture/2011-08/08/c_131036642.htm

Gender, Culture and Math

How do gender, culture and use of mathematical procedures interact.  Interesting that there are differences within the United States sample.  Overall the authors claim that differences are not as pronounced as thought, but we know from recent performance data that math achievement gaps between males and females are small.  The key not is to find out why we are losing females from pursuing higher level math classes and from performance in upper level math classes.  I suspect it has to do with "connection."
 From the abstract: 
This study examined the gender differences of U.S. and Chinese students in their solution processes of solving routine and nonroutine mathematical problems. Results of the study showed that overall there were statistically significant gender differences (favoring males) on both routine and nonroutine problem solving for the U.S. sample, but not for the Chinese sample. However, examinations of students' component processes (translation, integration, planning, and execution) for solving routine problems revealed that significant gender differences only exist for the execution component (computation skills) for the U.S. sample. A more elaborate qualitative analysis of student responses to nonroutine problems showed that male and female students exhibit many similarities in their solution processes of solving nonroutine problems. The present study suggests gender differences in solution processes for solving routine and nonroutine mathematical problems are not as pronounced as were found in previous research.
http://www.amle.org/Publications/RMLEOnline/Articles/Vol26No1Article1/tabid/503/Default.aspx

Single Gender Education in Indiana

And the articles about single-gender start for the year. Hopefully this one is legal.
http://wap.indystar.com/localheadlines/article?a=2011108090324&f=1242

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Note Taking and Gender Differences

Dissertation on gender differences and note taking and related performance.
From the abstract:
Results indicated that females recorded more information in notes and recall than males. Females also performed significantly better on measures of transcription fluency, working memory, verbal ability, and conscientiousness.
Perhaps there is a combination of expectations, seriousness toward schooling, and/or a potential female tendency to gather more details.  Perhaps we need to be sure to make graphic organizers available for all students, especially males?
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:131971

Friday, July 29, 2011

Comics in the Classroom

There has been some debate about the use of comics within the classroom, especially as a strategy to be better engage boys or to at least expand what counts as text for our students.  This article isn't gender based, but an interesting article from the classroom perspective.
http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_18562585

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Edweek blogs about acting out content.  There are several links to different studies.  From the blog:  researchers found that elementary mathematics students who acted out text in word problems were more accurate and less distracted than those who didn’t.
This is an important point for multiple reasons.  Clearly the need to move is important.  What is key here is that the movement is not just a "brain break" but is instructional!  Movement is linked with learning.  Yes, this is important for boys because of high activity levels, but also needed for girls because it is just good teaching!
 http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/07/13/36read.h30.html?tkn=LVRFWBCXg3ZGEFsx4ABylh%2F5%2Fmj8hvsUta9D&cmp=ENL-TU-NEWS2

Gender of the Teacher

This is a very common question:  does the gender of the teacher impact the learning of students.  This article claims, no.
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/170861/teacher-gender-no-issue-pupils

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Discipline

The gender breakdown is mentioned in the article, but most schools have a 60 to 75 percent rate of referral for males and 40 to 25 percent referral rate for females. This needs to be considered too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Science and Girls

Making science more "girl" friendly.  Some may say stereotyping, but from the article:  But wrapping scientific subjects — at least initially — around female-friendly topics could kindle interest in scientific fields under-populated by women, Kerger says.
We have to consider the impact that gender plays.
http://www.miller-mccune.com/education/making-science-girl-friendly-pays-gender-dividends-33777/

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Girls and Science

Take a look at the impressive results fromt eh Google Science Fair.  Interesting that they highlight the fact that "girls dominated."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gender Differences and Physics

A Study that is being presented at the ASQ STEM Conference states this in the blurb:

The conclusion of the study is that the contexts in which physics questions are presented can have an effect on student response, and can show gender differentiation. To encourage participation of all students, instructors need to be aware of the contexts in which they present their material.

* There is no link to the actual study at this time.  If you find it, please reply and post.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Site for Boys and Reading

An interesting article including an interview with the founder for a new website:  boysread.com.  We need to link those with a passion and expertise for this topic together and make something happen!

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_performance/2011/06/helping_boys_develop_a_lifelong_love_of_reading.html?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2

BPA, Mice, and Behavior - PBS Reporting

A study (http://www.pnas.org/) on the impact of BPA on mice, particularly male mice.  Clearly there is something going on here beyond stereotypes.  It is chemical.  But, we can't jump to the conclusion that the same is happening in humans.

The PBS report has a short interview with the researcher who led the study. 

From that interview:

And how does the maze relate to BPA exposure?
When these mice are sexually mature, their brains undergo significant remodeling that allows them to exhibit certain behaviors – like increased spatial-navigational skills in males. In humans, too, men tend to have a better ability than girls to locate in their environment – to know where they are in their environment, to remember where things are and where to find them. So when the males got to adulthood, we started them on behavioral testing in a maze that is well-recognized to test this ability. There are several holes and only one leads to the home cage. Non-BPA exposed males can almost immediately get to the correct hole. The BPA exposed male took quite a bit longer. They didn’t use the most efficient strategy and just wandered around randomly, aimlessly. When we tested the females, both the non-exposed and BPA-exposed females had similar responses. They were acting behaviorally like females.
Did they show any other signs that aren’t typical for males?
We wanted to test whether females could detect the compromised state of the males, so we set up a mate choice test. The way we assessed her interest is through preferential behavior – and in these mice that’s through nose-to-nose contact. We found that the females preferred the non-exposed males on a 2-to-1 basis.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Focus on Literacy for 3rd Grade

With all we know now about literacy gaps between boys and girls, we need to really start focusing on the needs and interests of boys and girls in every classroom in the primary grades in order to keep everyone engaged in reading.


http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/06/29/36literacy.h30.html?tkn=LTNF7ldOwZviTE7XD8MmC6W4V%2FIW32%2Bhgd%2B0&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1

Focus on STEM

They talk about getting people interested in STEM.  Interests have a gendered layer to it and we can incorporate this without stereotyping.  But there needs to be a starting point to get the conversation going.  I'd recommend the overarching concept of "Connection" for girls.  When planning lessons the teacher needs to think:  How can I get my girls (and boys) to connect with the content?  How does it matter to them?

If there isn't a clear and accessible format, develop connections within the class by building in opportunities to share opinion or comment on the ideas of each other in a Gallery Walk.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/06/sparking_stem_interest_is_key.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

Equity or Censorship?

Is denial really the answer? Is this censorship?
http://beta.news.yahoo.com/no-him-her-preschool-fights-gender-bias-122541829.html

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reading and Gender from Malaysia (survey)

Malaysia and Reading.
Educators can't be afraid of talking about gender and how it impacts what goes on the classroom.

http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2011/6/26/lifebookshelf/8862809&sec=lifebookshelf

Gender Differences Discussion in Australia

Now from Australia, nature and nurture.  The discussion about the potential "innate" differences and the impact of environment and socialization is critical.  But, it can't turn into an all or nothing debate.  Educators have work with boys and girls in the classroom.  Ignoring the results by gender in the classroom will leave educators ignorant about an important part of classroom dynamics.

http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/gender-roles-and-kids/story-e6frfkp9-1226082234452

Friday, June 24, 2011

Time for Action

Another report and discussion about boys of color and what to do.  Dr. Jones is right - it takes the will to act at this point.  Who is willing?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Funding: ending girls and math ... maybe looking at boys and reading?

An Education Week (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/05/house_calls_for_eliminating_mo.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1)post caught my eye:
Forty-three education programs would be scrapped under a bill introduced today by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee that oversees K-12 policy. Looking at the summary (http://edworkforce.house.gov/UploadedFiles/SUMMARY_-_Setting_New_Priorities_in_Education_Spending_Act.pdf) I found this from the Education and Workforce Committee:
• Women’s Educational Equity: The Women’s Educational Equity program promotes education equity for women and girls. The program received $1.8 million in FY 2008 and $2.4 million in both FY 2009 and 2010. Funding for the program was eliminated in the final FY 2011 budget agreement and the president’s FY 2012 budget request. Research has shown this program is no longer necessary; a March 17, 2010 article in Education Week noted the traditional achievement gap between boys and girls in math has closed, with the "percentages of both genders scoring ‘proficient’ or higher [being] roughly the same." On the other hand, that same article observes that "male students in every state where data were available lag behind females in reading."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Simon Baron-Cohen New Book

Baron-Cohen is a central player on sex differences and he now has a new book out (Zero Degrees of Empathy).  Worth seeing what he says now.  Click here or title to go to an article based on a talk he gave recently.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The other day my Google Alert provided me with a link to a report titled "Women in America" that was published by the White House.  After a couple of clicks I discover that there is actually a White House Council on Women and Girls.  Terrific.  I then do a search of the White House page to find the White House Council on Men and Boys.  Nope, doesn't exist.

So in this day and age of post Title IX, how can we have a White House Council for Women and Girls without a Council on Men and Boys.  Is it that the country is trying to bring equity and parity among women and men?  Reading lots of news reports today though we find that women and girls are in fact out performing men and boys in lots of areas.

Do we need a White House Council on Men and Boys?  If so, what would that look like?  What would they need to focus on?  If not, why not?

Link to the White House Council for Women and Girls:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg/

Link to the data page on women which includes the report:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg/data-on-women