Some thoughts on the education gap

Started by bluegrass, Aug 08, 2006, 05:34 AM

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bluegrass

I think the problem is even bigger than people are realizing.

My daughter has just finished three years at a Montessori school; two years of preschool and a year of kindergarten.  During those three years, the girls have vastly outnumbered the boys.  The worst ratio was 10:1 (that's right, 19 girls and two boys), and the best ratio was 2:1.

Last week she just finished up a week long summertime daycamp at a local church.  On Friday they put on a show for all of the parents to close out the camp.  A quick headcount showed a girl to boy ratio of 2:1.  A friend who's a teacher at a local Hebrew school and Jewish community center, and has been for years, says that while it varies, he generally sees a representation of 2:1 girls to boys as well in most of his programs.  Another thing I noticed was that among some of the boys whose families I know, their mothers were volunteers helping to run the camp.

These are all little kids.  They aren't driven by academic interest or hard work, their participation in programs and private schools like these are driven primarily by the efforts of their parents.  

The only person who's come back to me and said that his boys are in classes where there are more boys is in the public elementary school system.

I can't help but come to the conclusion that where education and community involvement are concerned, parents are simply much more highly motivated to get their girls out there than they are their boys.  That is, if it's a private school that might require more effort and economic resources, parents are much more likely to seek them out for their daughters than they are for their sons.  At the Montessori school another thing I note is that a substantial number of the boys who attended over the years had an older sister who went before them.

I started trying to do an internet search to find some stats on gender representation in private schools, but I haven't been able to find anything really - no stats at all I mean.  In my experience in researching these sorts of gender issues, that tells me that likely when I do finally find some relevant stats, they'll confirm my hypothesis.  It's simply been my experience that if statistics do in fact confirm female privilege - especially in female dominated education - the findings will be obscured.
"To such females, womanhood is more sacrosanct by a thousand times than the Virgin Mary to popes--and motherhood, that degree raised to astronomic power. They have eaten the legend about themselves and believe it; they live it; they require fealty of us all." -- Philip Wylie, Generation of Vipers

CaptDMO

Quote from: "bluegrass"
I think the problem is even bigger than people are realizing.

My daughter has just finished three years at a Montessori school; two years of preschool and a year of kindergarten.  During those three years, the girls have vastly outnumbered the boys.  The worst ratio was 10:1 (that's right, 19 girls and two boys), and the best ratio was 2:1.


Is it realistic to think that the males of that age group were out playing, exploring, or even being allowed to be kids?

The Gonzman

I sent my kids to Private Catholic School, which I shopped around for for over a year.  They both did very well, and likewise in college, but I specifically chose one that wasn't infected by a bunch of new-agey nonsense and codswallop.

My experience is not typical, therefore, but I tell you this much - if I had my way, any parent who sent their sons to Publik Skule would be convicted of child abuse
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am the MEANEST son-of-a-bitch in the valley.

bluegrass

Quote from: "CaptDMO"
Quote from: "bluegrass"
I think the problem is even bigger than people are realizing.

My daughter has just finished three years at a Montessori school; two years of preschool and a year of kindergarten.  During those three years, the girls have vastly outnumbered the boys.  The worst ratio was 10:1 (that's right, 19 girls and two boys), and the best ratio was 2:1.


Is it realistic to think that the males of that age group were out playing, exploring, or even being allowed to be kids?


Not in my neighborhood.

I mean, not that they're not allowed to do that, but I live in a semi-suburb that's largely populated by middle to upper middle class professionals; doctors, lawyers, "educators."

My school district usually ranks in the top three in NY state.  These people are the child smothering, over-scheduling, academically competitive vicarious over acheivers you read about.  Most people wonder about sending their kids to a year of preschool before kindergarten.  Here it's pretty common to send them to two years.
"To such females, womanhood is more sacrosanct by a thousand times than the Virgin Mary to popes--and motherhood, that degree raised to astronomic power. They have eaten the legend about themselves and believe it; they live it; they require fealty of us all." -- Philip Wylie, Generation of Vipers

bluegrass

I have to say I'm becoming pretty intrigued by this topic.  I've been checking with other friends who either have young kids or teach young kids and it's becoming somewhat like a clear trend:  when it comes to private school or private programs like soccer camp or summer daycamp, the girls outnumber the boys by a typical ration of 2:1.

And we wonder why men are outnumbered on college campuses?

I feel that this could make an excellent research article topic except for one thing:  I can't find any sources on the net where anyone has tracked something as straightforward as the gender ratio among preschools or private schools.  I'm going to dig some more when I have some more time, but isn't that striking?  A disparity as dramatic as that with a current and ongoing public debate about gender gaps in education, and not one person seems to have noticed something as huge as a 2:1 ratio like this.

One place I think I can start, though, is with the little Montessori school my daughter went to.  I imagine it would be pretty easy to have them track through their records over the last several years to identify a trend.  The upside is they've been doing this for 30 years.  The downside is the sample is exceedingly small.  Then maybe through them, I can do the same with the other Montessori elementary and middle schools in the area.

Anybody got any other ideas?
"To such females, womanhood is more sacrosanct by a thousand times than the Virgin Mary to popes--and motherhood, that degree raised to astronomic power. They have eaten the legend about themselves and believe it; they live it; they require fealty of us all." -- Philip Wylie, Generation of Vipers

hansside

Very interesting bluegrass. Please continue your research in this area.

dr e

According to the National Honor Society the ratio of girls to boys who are members is just about 2:1.  They said it has been that way since the early 90's but haven't kept records before that.  No one would hazard a guess about the ratio in the 50's, 60's or 70's.  My memory was that it was about 50-50.  So the girls were 2:1 in the 90's and were in need of special privileges.  Yeah, right.
Contact dr e  Lifeboats for the ladies and children, icy waters for the men.  Women have rights and men have responsibilties.

whome112

bluegrass:  I've been noticing this in most voluntary education things for quite some time.

Look at Sunday Schools too: You'll see the same difference ... about 2:1 girls.
They were talking about a high-school summer camp for potential doctors on the TV news the other day: There was one boy and about 10 girls.

I could go on and on and on ...

There is a falling off of the boys in all of the non-mandated education areas of society.

What this means is ???

I'm not sure. I don't like it though. It looks bad and looks like we may well see much bigger problems and soon.

whome
ay what you mean: Mean what you say.
http://jwwells.blogspot.com

bluegrass

Well what I'd say first off is that when you're looking at voluntary educational activities for the preschool and elementary age children, what you're seeing is a disparity driven by the parents.

I mean, what else could it be?

The other thing is that you don't hear a peep out of educators about this even in the face of the college gender gap.  Nobody's saying,

"Oh well I teach preschool and there the gap is 5:1."

But I also see it among the parents.  For instance, at the summercamp show I was talking about, no one made a comment until the one and only group where the boys outnumbered the girls came on.

But most parents approach as nothing more than a little of a head scratcher.  "Hunh, that's funny.  Let's go get some ice cream."

But one thing that I'll have to avoid talking about is the fact that if in fact this is a phenomenon driven by parents -- and I think it is -- that since the mothers are the primary parent in so many cases, it's mothers who are largely marginalizing boys relative to girls in education.

It's pretty shameful really.
"To such females, womanhood is more sacrosanct by a thousand times than the Virgin Mary to popes--and motherhood, that degree raised to astronomic power. They have eaten the legend about themselves and believe it; they live it; they require fealty of us all." -- Philip Wylie, Generation of Vipers

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