Economic Woman

Econometrics, gender, equity and more.

Posts Tagged ‘education

The real crisis in education

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The feminist blogosphere is positively gleeful this morning over the release of a report debunking the “boys’ crisis” in education. The Washington Post has published a decent breakdown of Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education, published by the American Association of University Women, but the executive summary and full report are also online and quite readable.  

The report points out that women’s gains in education have  not come at the expense of boys. Women have made significant progress in all educational indicators over the last few decades, but boys’ scores and graduation rates have also been steadily improving. But they also say that 57 per cent of undergraduate degrees awarded in the United States are going to women.

Boys are improving, but girls are improving more, to the point where they have surpassed boys. There’s certainly been a lot of ugly anti-feminist backlash on this, so I hate to go against the party line, but I think if it were girls that were making progress more slowly than boys, we would say that girls were “falling behind.”

Anyway, this is not the most important part of the report, which is an attempt to refocus on the definite inequalities in education. There is a crisis, but it’s about race and class:

As this report demonstrates, however, neither girls nor boys are unilaterally succeeding or failing. The true crisis is that American schoolchildren are deeply divided across race/ethnicity and family income level, and improvement has been too slow and unsteady.

As Feministing points out, the media coverage of the “boys’ crisis” discounted this, with its “magazine covers with sad looking white boys.” As in so many cases, the focus needs to be on race and class.

Written by Allison

22 May 2008 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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