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May 29, 2006 - 11:52 am

Reader Bob informed me of this editorial in the a href=”http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/editorials/article/0,2777,DRMN_23964_4734140,00.html”iRocky Mountain News/i/a on the gender gap in graduation rates between boys and girls in Denver public schools. The difference? 9% fewer boys are graduating from high school. Believe it or not, the school system is finally turning its attention to this problem: br /br /blockquoteNearly everyone involved with education is troubled by the large and persistent gaps in academic performance among racial and ethnic groups. Now the similarly large gap between boys and girls is beginning to get the serious attention it deserves as well. br /br /But it’s when you look at both factors simultaneously that the real puzzlement begins. A emNews/em report last week of the graduating class of 2005 in Denver Public Schools found that girls in any ethnic group are more likely to graduate from high school than boys in the same group. And the gaps are so large that black, white and Asian girls all graduate at higher rates than white boys. br /br /We are probably on safe grounds ruling out any intention on the district’s part to discriminate against white boys, so what else is going on? And not only in Denver, but in other big-city districts that have similar patterns? /blockquotebr /br /Okay, what safe grounds would that be–that white boys are not discriminated against? Was a study done, did you ask the white boys what they thought? How will “experts” ever figure out the problem if they have already closed their minds to the possibility that their preconceived ideas about boys just might be wrong? Could it be that the schools are run mainly for the benefit of girls? Could girls have been told for the past thirty years to get ahead and get an education while boys are told education is for girls? I don’t know–just a guess. But I guess it is easier to say the whole situation is puzzling then to open up a real dialogue with boys and their feelings about school.

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