School Choice & Charters Opinion

No Differences Between Girls and Boys?

By Richard Whitmire — August 28, 2011 1 min read
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That’s the conclusion of a new book, The Truth About Girls and Boys, written by ‘boy troubles’ skeptics Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett.

Title sound familiar? They just reversed the “boys and girls” in Sara Mead’s famous Education Sector piece. Can’t help but wonder how Mead feels about that. (I later contacted Mead, who was unaware of the book and said she didn’t care about the title similarities.)

A Q&A with Barnett, where she maintains that gender differences are negligible and the push for single-sex schooling unwarranted.

I have my own doubts about single-sex schooling as a solution, but suggesting there are no significant learning differences between boys and girls (or at least none that couldn’t be solved if parents stopped giving girls dolls and boys toy guns) defies facts. Have they not seen the 50-state figures on literacy gender gaps? Have they not looked at campus gender gaps, with 62 percent of two-year degrees going to women, 57 percent of four-year degrees?

There’s one huge gender learning difference: At a time when most students need some post-secondary study, girls are getting the message; boys aren’t.

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