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Topic: Reactions to Globe and Mail Editorial and Backmann Response
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Reactions to Globe and Mail Editorial and Backmann Response
Posted: Jan 8, 1999 2:23 PM
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[Note: The following are responses I received to the editorial in the
Globe and Mail newspaper and the response to the editorial by John
Bachmann, that I posted a week ago. The title of the editorial was "Where
have all the smart men gone? To university -- where they are now greatly
outnumbered by women." There are also two short articles about this issue
at the end.]


I somewhat agree with John Bachmann's reply, but I don't think it answers

Some other suggestions I would make would include:

1.) There is a definite problem with African American young men being sent to

2.) Men still dominate in several highly paid occupations that do not require
a college degree: the building trades, computer programming and repair,
sales--corporate, high end items such as cars, and illicit drugs.

Combine Bachmann's answer with mine, and you can see that many women believe
that they have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get a well paid job,
whereas many men see that their dads were goof-offs in school and still ended
up with higher paying jobs than their moms. (Whether the dads be literal or
the figurative ones of the hood.) The irony is: the more woman that go
through medical school, the lower wages that will be paid doctors.


The comment at the end of this post, suggesting that our current
elementary school practices favor girls, made me stop & think. I guess
I would want to see some research on this, since it seems to me that the
active, constructivist approach we've been adopting would favor active
free-thinkers. I don't think I've seen any research which places more
girls in that category than boys, but rather the other way around.


An interestinng observation, but I think the underlying reason is not on
the author's list: it is the increasing preoccupation of males in the
three countries with the "Macho" image and with sports, a natural
combination. Learning is not "cool" for boys, and is not seen as the
pathway to the future.

It is helpful to look at race. The dominance of educated females over
males among African-Americans has been known for a long time, possibly for
the above cultural reasons. Caucasians are just catching up.


It is interesting the fact that in Brazil it has occurred the same
phenomenon. The average of woman at the University has been superior than
that of man. But I think that it has to do with the fact that in our day
the man's role is not clear enough for him and also it has to do with the
way of earn money. I suppose that people who take jobs more free from
patterns and that present more risks get more money. They don't need to be
graduates . So, the money and the power continue to be in man's hands. But
culturally we are going to face a big problem, because, I think if the
things get this way, women will be more reflexive and will understand better
life and themselves and so the gap between man and woman will enlarge.


From the National Education Association's "Advocate," Vol. 1, No. 3,
January 1999, p. 9

Women are increasingly outnumbering men on the nation's college campuses.

Census figures show that there are slightly more college-age men than women,
but, according to the U.S. Education Department, there were 8.4 million
women and only 6.7 million men enrolled in college in 1996.

"We need to be concerned that higher education is losing poor and minority
men," notes Arthur Levine, the president of Columbia University's Teachers

From Academe Today, January 6, 1999


A glance at the winter issue of "The Public Interest": The real
gender gap in schools and colleges

The idea that female students are "shortchanged" by schools and
colleges is a myth that has been promulgated by women's advocacy
groups, writes Judith Kleinfeld, a professor of psychology at
the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. While there is a gender
gap in American schools and colleges, she writes, it favors
girls, not boys. Girls receive higher grades and more academic
awards "from grade school through graduate school," while boys
are more apt to have behavioral disorders and low attendance
records. At the university level, women earn more bachelor's and
master's degrees than men do, writes Ms. Kleinfeld, and
"African-American college women vastly outnumber
African-American college males." In some colleges, "the gender
imbalance in favor of females" is so great that administrators
"have quietly developed affirmative-action programs for males,"
she writes. Although studies show that boys outperform girls in
mathematics and the sciences, those are the only areas of "male
advantage," she writes, and "females are catching up." There is
a far greater gender gap in reading and writing, where girls do
significantly better than boys, writes Ms. Kleinfeld. Addressing
the educational needs of girls is important, but distorting the
problems faced by females "distracts us from the real problem of
low educational achievement among African-American males and
boys more generally," she concludes. The journal is available in
many libraries.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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