Ch. 17

1.       30% of boys don’t live with their biological fathers.  Can public education ameliorate the negative effects of this statistic?

2.       Does hiring graduation coaches seem like a good use of taxpayer money, or can their role be met by others in the school system?  What do you think of this concept?

Ch. 19

1.  There were several disturbing statistics discussed in this chapter.  What did you find disturbing and why?

2.  Imagine this scenario:  after years of institutionalized racism (as opposed to sexism), African American men and women begin to outperform white men and women in every academic area regardless of socioeconomic rank.  Would college admissions officers wring their hands about there being too many black people at the school?  Doesn’t it seem that girls are being punished, in effect, for their own achievement?

Ch. 20

1.  How do you think the general public would react to the extensive inquiry into educating boys that the author recommends?

2.  What do you think about the author’s recommendations to parents?


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Replies to This Discussion

I think the author sheds some light that is important for parents to be aware of. Within the last few weeks, I've heard at least 3 moms with middle school aged boys who were complaining that their sons do not put effort into school. One mom was lamenting that her son has good grades but didn't bother to apply for Junior National Honor Society. I mentioned the book and just said that it seems to be a trend and there are many things going on in our society that seem to be negatively affecting boys' achievement.

I do wonder about the comparisons the author is making. When she says that 57% of undergrads are girls, does that mean that girls have raised the bar to a higher standard that boys cannot attain, or does that mean that boys have remained stagnant and girls have surpassed them?

I think the author makes a good point that regardless of whether more girls "deserve" to be in college, neither males nor females want to attend a college that is mostly women. Many women will meet their future husbands in college. She seemed to be suggesting that getting our boys better educated was not just an important goal for our sons, but also for our daughters who will marry them! Should we pour tax money into "graduation coaches" in order to meet this goal? I'm not wild about that idea. If a student is economically disadvantaged, he or she is not only in need of financial aid, but help in navegating the culture of the middle class and/or the wealthy. But if a boy comes from a college educated family and has a surrogate mom on campus to make him study, then I'm thinking maybe he should be allowed to fail and earn his way back when he's ready.
I just remembered that the "graduation coaches" were for high school. I was confusing them with the special programs that the Maryland school has for students (mostly boys) who were admitted even though their grades were not really up to par. Sorry, I left my book at my mother-in-law's over spring break!
Chapter 17..Question 1
As educators we strive to be positive role models to our students. When 30% of our male students lack daily contact with their biological fathers, we are challenged to support these young boys in their educational and personal growth. The influence of caring, yet firm, male teachers could help develop positive self images and growth of self-confidence in boys. Schools should make attempts to structure learning contact time for boys with male teachers. However, I do feel that it is not the gender of the teacher that is most important, but rather the ability of a teacher to relate to his/her students. If we want boys to be motivated and engaged in learning, schools need to provide experiences where boys can connect with teachers that will help open their minds and instill a passion for learning.
Chapt. 17 BTW, what happened to 18?

If it's just the boys who need help, why did Octavius have a 14 year old girlfriend that got pregnant? Positive role models don't exist for many of our young women too, who will be accepted by their community when they have a baby and repeat the cycle of poor parenting. And why, if boys need a male influence so desparately did they get a female to be Grisson's graduation coach? I'm glad he turned his life toward a more positive direction, but I found a lot of contradiction in this chapter.
If we add study skills to our curriculum maybe we don't have to hire graduation coaches. But if a child isn't convinced earning a diploma is important what difference will a graduation coach make anyway? The football coach can convince him if he doesn't do well in school he's not playing. Unless the boy has fathered a child and is struggling to support his family, like Octavius, what incentive does he have to work with a graduation coach? Motivation is elusive. If it's not important in his family, or his community, why or when will it be important to him?
Each of us needs someone who believes in us. Any connection that can be made with a failing student that will make them feel that their success matters would be of help. Someone who genuinely cares, male or female, I think, can make a big difference in a child's life. And there has to be trust. It takes time to develop that kind of relationship. It's such a complicated issue, really. If we could get one family member to make a difference in the way they championed a failing child's life that would make a difference. Can a school be that mentor? I doubt it.
Chapter 19:
It totally seems that girls are being punished! What's so great about having higher male to female enrollment at the university level? If the boys don't make it, they'll learn to. Why were these schools coddling the boys to the detriment of the girls who earned admittance but were rejected? That really ticked me off. Thankfully some of the schools reversed their discriminatory practices. Too late for some of the females, though.

BTW I loved chapter 18. The men couldn't figure out what set of values could build a better boy. Duh. We all learn from examples, role models...........what the hell are you guys doing to lead?

The author seems to assume that if a man isn't married it's because he's deemed unsuitable by a woman. Maybe some of those men just didn't want to marry. Why should they? Once married they'll be expected to earn a decent living, help with home management and child rearing. Do you think that appeals to many men? Nothing in this book indicates that the guys want to do much more than play video games, or play sports.

The idea that role reversal may evolve, and soccer dads will replace soccer moms, may really happen, if women even want to marry these men. Then I suppose it will all start over and men will want to again work outside the home and not spend their lives cleaning, chauffeuring, cooking and caring for the family. Experience is the best teacher; maybe things are evolving the way they must and will change when the men get fed up with their lot in live, and not at what is perceived as a need based on male to female ratios of high school graduates, college graduates,or even college enrollment. Remember the Beatles? "Let it be."
Chapt. 20:
The federal government is not about to channel any of it's military money to education. Second, they are spending money on the educational equity of girls and women because the National Organization of Women protested loud and strong and got things changed. The notion that the teachers "...changed the world for girls..." isn't as true as the fact that NOW got legislation passed that mandated curriculum and standards for schools be changed. So maybe we need a NOM?

I'll fight the good fight for our sons. I want all the boys to be able to succeed while being able to still be boys and have their development understood. I don't think it's all that difficult. Why can't we have more recess? Why can't the kids get breaks during the day to let off steam then return to academics? Let's be reasonable. We're jamming school down their throats and facing resistance.

Having men come to school with toolbelts on might help. And yes, men/dads need to step up to the plate. There are organizations for men who realize they have to stop the downward spiral too many of our boys are on, but not enough men are on board. Obama keeps emphasizing the need for parents to be parents. Tyre's advice to parents emphasizes that men be a part of school in any way they feel comfortable. It isn't happening. Maybe men didn't feel all that comfortable when they were in school and don't want to return for any reason. Or maybe they think anything to do with their child's education is the mom's job. Can partnering with parents help fathers see the need for their support?

I wonder what the rate of gaming is by gender. Are many boys locked into hours of gaming each day? Lots of factors are swirling around in my brain. I'm not sure Tyre has all the right ideas, but she has got us thinking, and I believe we will all consider gender the next time a student doesn't pay attention, creates a disturbance, or mentally drops out, to see if maybe we could handle things differently.

This was an interesting read that I will certainly pass on.



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