There are many issues that concerns education that all educators should be aware of. One of those issue happens to be are boys in crisis. This is important for all early childhood educators to know because in their classroom they are going to have a class full of children and almost half of them will be boys. As teachers we should know how to help all of our students to succeed and grow up to be productive members of society. Our job as teachers is to insure that we are teaching the state standards and that the students are meeting those standards in order to move up in their education. John Dewey believed that all children learn differently and that education should not be resolved around curriculum, but it should be revolved around the abilities of the student.
In the following pages I will be discussing both sides of the debate on boys’ crisis and my belief on the issue. First there are a couple articles and a book that support that boys are indeed in crisis. In each of these sources, they talk about how times have changed. It used to be known that girls were considered in crisis, but after a drastic change in the ways school are ran boys are now suffering and being place as the ones in crisis. Then there are a few articles that disagree with boys’ crisis. Most of the articles talk about how boys are doing fine and they are only a little behind academically. Also one of the articles talks boys scoring higher than girls in almost every subject. Lastly, I will reveal my beliefs on the issue as well as how I plan to implement my beliefs in my practices as and early childhood educator. The Debate
There are many people in the United States whom agree with the statement boys in crisis. One article talk about how boys are getting left behind girls academically. There is a news article that talks about the gender gap and how boys are lagging. Also there is a book that discusses how boys are in crisis not girls. In the article written by Dan Haley, he talks about how girls are scoring higher than bays in almost every subject and some it is more obvious like reading and writing. He discusses how in 1992, there were study that showed that girls were being short changed by the school and how behind they were in math and science. After the media took a hold of the story of girls lagging academically, school started to change. But, instead of just catching up to the boys, they achieved higher than the boys. “A new gender gap is widening, this time in reading and writing, and boys are on the bottom end.” (Haley, 2009) Haley believes that there should be a movement for the men, just like they had for the girls. Test score showed even more how girls are better academically in many areas such as reading. “As a public policy issue, this has barely made its way into radar screen of policy makers.” (Haley, 2009) He thinks that the boys’ crisis has to do with not a how boys are being taught, but more about schools not trying to teach the children the way they learn best. “Unless k-12 leaders get serious about changing the way they teach boys, we’ll all suffer.” (Haley, 2009)
Next in the news article written by David Kohn, he talks about how girls are leaving the boys behind academically in school. He starts off talking about how girls use to become nurses and teacher, but nothing high than that. After the equal opportunity laws were passed girls we able to become doctors and principal. Now a days the boys are the ones that need a little more help in school because they are lagging behind. “Far more boys than girls are found at the very bottom of the academic rank.” (Kohn, 2003) Many states have reported that boys are getting out of school and the girls taking over. It has been proven that “Girls outperform boys in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, and graduate school.” (Kohn, 2003) He believes that boys are getting mixed message on what will make them good students and what will make them good men. Kohn talks about how boys are expected to be athletes and don’t get supported for doing well in school. “Boys are falling further behind girls in reading and writing, and still, there's no public outcry the way there was for girls, and we wanted to find out why.”(Kohn, 2003) Boys’ crisis will not end unless people stand up for them as they once did for girls. Lastly, in the book written by Christina Hoff Sommers which talks about how the tables have turn from girls in crisis to boys. “Students who dominate the drop out list, the suspension list, the failure list and other negative indices of non-achievement in school are males at a wide ratio.”(Sommers, 2000) She talks about how boys rather rush through their homework to be able to go outside and play unlike girls who take their time to prefect their work. Boys are suffering in education more than ever because everyone believe that girls were in crisis and teachers started to focus on their needs and stop focusing on the boys needs to succeed. “Studies showing the existence of a serious educational gender gap adverse to boys began to surface.” (Sommers, 2000) The boys’ crisis also has to deal with boys not having enough contact with their teachers because they “believe that there is no one they can turn to for help” (Sommers, 2000) Sommers believes that “we should raise boys like we raise girls.” (Sommers, 2000) That way we can get them out of crisis. However, there are people that disagree with the statement boys in crisis. There are many articles that talk about boys having trouble in school, but it doesn’t mark them in crisis. There are articles that talk about how schools focus more on girl needs than on boys. Also there is a study that says that boys are scoring higher than girls in some areas.
Deborah Perkins-Gough wrote an article that discussed why boy are falling behind girls in school. She believed there were many reason and one was, “today’s classrooms are too structured, ignoring boys’ energetic natures and their need for physical movement.” (Perkins-Gough, 2006) Most schools want the children to sit still and be quite in order to learn. For boys they need to be able to move around. It isn’t easy for them to be in a quite environment and that is why they are always being disciplined. In the last decade it is proven that boys are scoring higher than they did before according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. They even say that in some areas boys are achieving higher scores then girls, but other areas they are scoring less than girls. In her article she does admit that there is a “gender gap in education attainment in the areas of grade promotion, high school graduation rates, and college attendance.”(Perkins-Gough, 2006) She talks about how education policymakers should not focus on boy crisis, but rather look at the gaps among students of different races and class. They should also take in concentration that, “In the past 30 years, the numbers of boys labeled as learning disabled or as having ADHD has "exploded"; boys now make up two-thirds of students in special education.” (Perkins-Gough, 2006) she believes that policymakers, educators, and parents should not worry about boys being in crisis because they are doing just fine. They need to be more concerned finding more reach on how to help all children learn through their learning styles. The next article discusses that boys and girls are different and that many schools are too girl friendly. In this article it talks about the point of view of Michael Gurian. He “believes that boys are not being well-served by what he calls our "girl-friendly" schools.” (It's a male thing, 2006) 70 to 90 percent of boys are receiving grades that are no higher than D’s and F’s, that boys are 90 percent of the discipline problems and are 80 percent of the high school drops out. They also make up less than half of a college campus. In Gurian believes this has to do with the fact that schools are more girl-friendly. When he says girl friendly he means, “success in school comes more readily for students who can read and write well-areas in which girls tend to do better than boys.”(It's a male thing, 2006) Gurian say that boys work better and learn better when they are allowed to move around. The reason they are more likely to be in trouble is because they have to sit still. He also finds single-sex classrooms beneficial because it can focus on a gender based instructions where as other look at the reduction of distraction in the classroom that you have when both boys and girls are in the same class. Gurian’s solutions for boy to be at the same level as girl is to “address the needs of boys include some physical changes in classrooms, as well as modifications in curriculum and learning materials.” (It's a male thing, 2006) Many would not agree, but more research is being done to prove that Gurian is right. Boys are not in crisis, but need their learning styles met in order to succeed. Lastly, we have an article written by Muna Husain and Daniel Milliment talking about how boy crisis is a myth. They discuss how they “step back and assess the validity of “The boy crisis” in US primary schools by analyzing the gender gap in math and reading.”(Husain, 2009) In figuring out their conclusion that boy crisis is a myth they did a nationwide test on students from kindergarten to third grade. This test let them see if boys have gained or lost ground in the first four years of their academic careers. Even though this test is similar to how other people figure out the racial achievement gap, Husain and Millment did not just focus on the average achievement gap, but they also focused on the differences across the distribution. Conducting their test this way they end with the result that “boys outperform girls in math across virtually the entire distribution by the end of third grade, and gain ground across the entire distribution over the first 4 years of school.” (Husain, 2009) This proves that the conceptionof boy crisis in the United States is indeed unclear do to the fact boys are better in math.
Advocacy for one side of the Debate
I disagree with the statement boys in crisis for the following reasons, schools are more girl-friendly rather than boy, boys learn in a different way than girls, and depending on how a child is raised can affect how they do academically. It is true that boys are having trouble in school, but that doesn’t quite mean that it is a crisis. That just shows that boys have needs that are different to girls. When it is saying that boys are in crisis, it is actually saying that boys are in an uncertain and painful period of time that must be addressed in a timely matter in order to avoid disaster. In my opinion that does not sound like what boys are in crisis. They do need helped academically and behaviorally, but in each article I read that disagreed with boys in crisis talk about how boys are a little behind or are scoring higher in subject compared to the girls. To me this proves that boys are not in crisis.
Ethical standards are always thrown around when policy makers are making new policy. What is the best way to handle certain situations? The ethical standard I believe that would best support my given position of boys’ are not in crisis would be the principal of fairness. I believe that it is unfair for schools to only meet the needs of the girls’ population leaving the boys to having trouble behaviorally. If schools were fair they would try to adapt the way students are taught to fit the needs of both the boys and girls. The UN rights of a child states in article 3 “The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them.”(UNICEF, Factsheet) I believe this support my debate because it is not in the best interest to title boys in crisis. Boys need teachers to teach them in the best way that will help them learn instead of teaching the boys like they teach the girls. Another right that the UN gives children is talked about in article 28 the right to an education. This is because boys are still learning and are benefitting from the education even though girls in some case are doing better academically. People need to realize that education means to acquire knowledge in a school type of setting and both boys and girls are doing so even at different rates.
As an early child care provider I will take into consideration that boys and girls are different when it comes to the way they learn. In my classroom I will meet the needs of all my students by having times where it is quite and the students must listen to lectures. Also I will have times where students can talk to each other and move around the room doing hands on activities. This will help all of my students succeed and be on the same page. There are many leadership roles a teacher may find themselves using in their teaching career. In my practices I will be using transformational leadership because I am creating an environment that will help all of my students. Also I want to be able to inspire my students to adapt to learning together that fit everyone learning style and maybe help the students to succeed no matter how they are taught. Using this leadership in my class will help not only the students, but it will help my fellow teachers that might have my students in years to come. Also I will be providing a servant leadership because I will focus on the needs and goals of my students to achieve their potential success and above. These are the best leadership skill to enhance the way my classroom will be run and how it will benefit the students in the long run. This will also help to keep both the boys and girls falling into the category of being in crisis. References
Anonymous (2006). It’s a male thing. American Teacher, Vol:90 Issue 4. From http://wilsontxt.hwwilson.com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/pdffull/04575/168yt/dsv.pdf Haley, D. (2004) Leaving our boys behind. The Denver Post. Pg. B-07 From http://www.lexisnexis.com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/?shr=t&csi=144565&sr=HLEAD(Leaving+our+boys+behind)+and+date+is+August,+2004 Husain, M. and Millimet, D. L. (2009). The mythical ‘boy crisis’? Economics of Education Reviewer, vol:28 Issue1 38-48. From http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VB9-4S7J5M1-2&_user=56861&_coverDate=02%2F28%2F2009&_rdoc=1& _fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000059542&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=5686