Business Week has a really good article about the gender gap in education. (Not that I read Business Week, but it was lying on a table at work and had this story on the cover.)
“It may still be a man’s world. But it is no longer, in any way, a boy’s. From his first days in school, an average boy is already developmentally two years behind the girls in reading and writing. Yet he’s often expected to learn the same things in the same way in the same amount of time. While every nerve in his body tells him to run, he has to sit still and listen for almost eight hours a day. Biologically, he needs about four recesses a day, but he’s lucky if he gets one, since some lawsuit-leery schools have banned them altogether. Hug a girl, and he could be labeled a “toucher” and swiftly suspended — a result of what some say is an increasingly anti-boy culture that pathologizes their behavior.
“If he falls behind, he’s apt to be shipped off to special ed, where he’ll find that more than 70% of his classmates are also boys. Squirm, clown, or interrupt, and he is four times as likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That often leads to being forced to take Ritalin or risk being expelled, sent to special ed, or having parents accused of negligence. One study of public schools in Fairfax County, Va., found that more than 20% of upper-middle-class white boys were taking Ritalin-like drugs by fifth grade.”
If you’re interested in this stuff, there’s a good book by Christina Sommers called The War Against Boys. Oh, but, girls, don’t go getting a big head or anything… You still need us to squish your spiders and open your tightly-sealed jars ;)