Build Buzz on Where the Girls Are

May 20, 2008

Today, AAUW released Where the Girls Are:The Facts About Gender Equity in Education, the most comprehensive analysis to date on trends in educational achievement by gender, race/ethnicity, and income. Many media outlets are already reporting this story.

You can help spread the word about AAUW’s new research by commenting on the stories and blogs, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, and Hartford Courant.

Upcoming television programs that will feature the AAUW report include PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and To the Contrary. Check your local listings for these broadcasts today and Friday, respectively, featuring interviews with AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE.

Blogs featuring the AAUW report so far include Education Week’s Eduwonkette, the American Council on Education, and Best Education Today. We encourage you to visit these sites and comment about the research or join the conversation here.

Copies of Where the Girls Are may be downloaded free from the AAUW website.

By:   |   May 20, 2008

7 Comments

  1. Veronica says:

    Just blogged it myself. :)

    I generally stay out of big media comments…far too gross in there!

    Great job everyone!!!!

  2. Ken says:

    No serious researcher doubts the role of race and class in achievement, but as poorly as Hispanic and Black girls are doing in this country compared to White and Asian girls, the performance gaps between Black and Hispanic girls and boys are even greater than those between White and Asian girls and boys, so the AAUW’s continued insistence that gender is not a factor is simply not substantiated. Further, according to USDOE stats, there were 2.1 MILLION more women than men enrolled full and part time in US colleges and Universities in 2003. The gap grew to 2.3 million in 2004. The AAUW can tease out the data all it wants, but the fact remains that many more women are attending college and getting degrees of virtually all types than men. I’m waiting for the AAUW to take on the back door affirmative action programs going on at colleges and universities in order to recruit more males to campuses precisely because of the data above. But then we already know that won’t happen, don’t we? Because that might mean that the AAUW might have to acknowledge that just maybe there is a little problem with the boys after all.

  3. Ken says:

    Sorry to be a buzz kill :)
    This is from USA Today:

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/05/our-view-on-gen.html
    Our view on gender and education: Yes, university women, there is a boy problem
    Males at all socioeconomic levels are falling behind in school.
    Looking at the college graduation numbers — where women earn about three-fifths of all degrees — you’d think a higher-education group with the mission of “advancing equity for women and girls” would be celebrating.

    Instead, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) seems intent on trying to debunk something that’s virtually irrefutable: that men are falling behind women at all levels of education, and that this is creating societal problems that need to be addressed.

    In a highly publicized report released Tuesday, the AAUW asserts that:

    * What have become known as the “boy troubles” are a myth.

    In case they’re not a myth, the gap is limited to poor and minority children.

    * Regardless, feminists are not responsible.

    They’ve got the last one right, but the other two are simply nonsense.

    The facts show that gender gaps start to emerge in elementary school and widen in middle school. Over the past 30 years of federal testing, girls’ advantages on verbal tests have widened while the boys’ advantages in math have narrowed. Girls end up graduating from high school at higher rates, earning far better grades and reaping most of the academic honors. This trend continues into college — the key to economic success in today’s economy — where women are earning 62% of associate’s degrees, 57% of bachelor’s and 59% of master’s.

    As for the contention that the gaps are a function of race and income, not gender, that can’t be true when researchers in urban, predominantly black school districts such as Chicago are learning that girls outperform boys from the same families, same neighborhoods and same schools.

    While the problem is particularly acute among low-income, minority males, it’s hardly limited to them. At colleges that draw heavily from white, working-class families, men often make up as little as 35% of the student body.

    As for white boys from wealthier families, studies of high-income K-12 schools show that boys lag behind girls academically and yet enroll in college at about the same rates. Why is that? For one thing, wealthy parents can almost always find a willing college. For another, to maintain a gender balance, many colleges now resort to offering affirmative action admissions to males.

    A typical second-tier private college is stocked with overachieving women and average or underachieving men. By remaining silent about admissions practices while pointing to the equal college-going rates, the AAUW undermines its credibility.

    A dated, fringe accusation that feminists bear responsibility for boys’ troubles appears to be a genesis of the group’s latest report. Yet that charge is so obviously false that it hardly merits rebuttal: Boys are falling behind in parts of the world that never experienced a feminist movement.

    True, plenty of boys are doing fine in American schools, and many are high-achievers. Unfortunately, as a whole too many are lagging, a trend that becomes obvious in the college-going rates.

    The message here is pretty simple: Help the children. A generation ago, those most in need were girls. Today, they are boys.

    The AAUW should relish the successes girls and women have achieved rather than trying to impede attempts to help boys.

  4. Diane says:

    You’re not a buzzkill, Ken. You’re just tedious and predictable. So, for that matter, is the USA Today blog you posted. Seems to me the AAUW report is calling for something pretty basic, and simple, and right. Educate all our children. Help the ones falling behind, which happen to be boys and girls from low income homes — black and white. Why is that so problematic or hard to understand? Saying there is a generic boys’ crisis is quite frankly a simplistic and downright lazy analysis. Saying there is a crisis amongst poor children, boys and girls, and among children from racial and ethic minotiries, is a more targeted analysis. And when you have a target, you can take much better aim at a solution that might actually work.

  5. Ken says:

    Diane,

    Did I touch a nerve? Why the need to personalize an attack toward me? Further, I’ve not used the word crisis, which seems to be a major hang-up for the AAUW.

    You conclude that only you (and the AAUW) know who has problems, “boys and girls from low income homes — black and white..” I think that exemplifies a “generic, …simplistic, and downright lazy analysis.” The situation is in fact, much more complex than that simple statement. This isn’t really about what’s right for you. It’s about a political viewpoint that research can not support. Some of the bloggers from the AAUW are writing now that they are happy that there is this “discussion” and “debate” on this topic, but I actually doubt that’s true. The AAUW went for a headline that summarizes its position and political aims, which is a sad commentary. There are any number of statements that could be made about the state of boys and girls in schools today. Among the least true of them is that boys are doing just fine, well except for SOME boys and girls.

    I have worked in public schools for 25 years, from rural to urban and from poor to rich districts, and no matter what demographic you study, when you look at groups of students of similar ethnic and economic variables, girls are outperforming boys, and it’s even more pronounced the poorer the children are. This statement in no way implies that we shouldn’t help every child, as you assert. But, it acknowledges that there is a real gap between what is happening between girls and boys in public schools. We are in an information society and all kids should be doing better. The AAUW can’t have it both ways on the issues, selectively pointing to problems in the areas where girls are behind and calling for solutions, while unilaterally lumping any problems with boys into the same framework as girls in order to shift focus away from boys and more toward race and class.

    The fundamental message that the AAUW sends with these types of reports is that only girls and women can be victims. Boys’ problems are part of a GROUP problem, and I’m not sure the AAUW is the best organization to speak to issues about which its mission may be opposed. Stick to fighting for causes for our daughters, sisters, wives, friends, and mothers. They still need help. If, as you claim, you are really interested in the welfare of boys too, then at least do no harm to the boys, because that is exactly what these headline grabbing political screeds do, and unless you have a son or brother struggling in school while confronting a system that is often hostile to him and how he learns, then you may likely never “get” the calculus on the topic. Unless, of course, you can get out of the way of political bias.

  6. frank harvey says:

    AAUW has lost alot of credibility with the 1992 “study” — even more, now. Do what you want to, but your poor information and male hatred are visible.

  7. Scott66 says:

    Only with a concerted effort could the AAUW reach the conclussion it did from its own research. The data is clear, there is a problem in the education system for boys across all socioeconomic levels. By denying such a problem exists the AAUW is purposefully trying to block efforts to help boys. This makes the AAUW a hate group pure and simple.

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