Sunday, August 27, 2006

Boys hurt by female teachers

Research news:
Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women.

That's the upshot of a provocative study by Thomas Dee, an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College and visiting scholar at Stanford University. ...

Dee says his research supports his point, that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student's academic progress.

His study comes as the proportion of male teachers is at its lowest level in 40 years. Roughly 80 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are women.

Dee's study is based on a nationally representative survey of nearly 25,000 eighth-graders that was conducted by the Education Department in 1988. Though dated, the survey is the most comprehensive look at students in middle school, when gender gaps emerge, Dee said.

He examined test scores as well as self-reported perceptions by teachers and students.

Dee found that having a female teacher instead of a male teacher raised the achievement of girls and lowered that of boys in science, social studies and English.

Looked at the other way, when a man led the class, boys did better and girls did worse.
This trend is going to continue. The public image of male elementary school teachers consists of weirdos like John Mark Karr, the accused JonBenet Ramsey killer. Even if it turns out that Karr never hurt anyone, men who match his profile won't get hired, and schoolboys will get shortchanged.

I have girls, so I don't really mind personally that the schools have a feminized curriculum. But we also need educated boys.

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