Failing at Fairness: How America's Schools Cheat Girls

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Failing at Fairness is a powerful indictment of sexism in America's classrooms. The findings from twenty years of research by two of America's most distinguished social scientists show that gender bias in our schools makes it impossible for girls to receive an education equal to boys'. Girls are systematically denied opportunities in areas where boys are encouraged to excel, often by well-meaning teachers who are unaware that they are transmitting sexist values. Girls are taught to speak quietly, to defer to ...
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Overview

Failing at Fairness is a powerful indictment of sexism in America's classrooms. The findings from twenty years of research by two of America's most distinguished social scientists show that gender bias in our schools makes it impossible for girls to receive an education equal to boys'. Girls are systematically denied opportunities in areas where boys are encouraged to excel, often by well-meaning teachers who are unaware that they are transmitting sexist values. Girls are taught to speak quietly, to defer to boys, to avoid math and science, and to value neatness over innovation, appearance over intelligence. In the early grades girls, brimming with intelligence and potential, routinely outperform boys on achievement tests, but by the time they graduate from high school they lag far behind boys - a process of degeneration that continues into adulthood. By the time girls enter the working world, the damage has been done. Our daughters, tomorrow's women, learn that to be female is to be passive and deferential: We have, effectively, made girls second-class citizens in a world whose survival will depend on their contributions. The implications are devastating: If the cure for cancer is incubating in the mind of one of our daughters, we may never find it. Professors Myra and David Sadker have produced a comprehensive, compelling, and essential resource.

The Sadkers, top researchers in the field of education for 20 years, have charted how, from elementary school through college and into the working world, girls are systematically denied opportunites in areas where boys are encouraged to excel, often by well-meaning teachers who are unaware they are transmitting sexist values.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gender bias in the classroom from elementary to graduate school is the subject of this comprehensive examination by two professors of education at American University in Washington, D.C. As educators and parents, the Sadkers argue that ``sexism sabotages girls at school,'' using studies, statistics and anecdotal histories of female students to demonstrate how girls and women are cheated out of opportunities to excel academically and deprived of chances to build self-esteem. While the Sadkers emphasize the educational shortchanging of girls, they see boys paying a price also, particularly those who do not fit gender stereotyping. This important study is a timely resource, since gender equity is currently an issue in fair-testing concerns of such standardized tests as the SAT for college admissions and scholarships. Feb.
Library Journal
In a book that is being billed as a shocking expose, two education researchers try to discover why girls start out so far ahead in school and end up so far behind by college.
Booknews
The author's have long been involved in training programs to combat sexism and sexual harassment. They pile evidence on top of evidence showing that even the best teachers spend more time actively teaching and interacting with the boys in their classrooms than they do the with the girls, that tests are biased, and that girls receive messages of their inferiority from all sorts of educational materials and popular culture as well. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
Virginia Dwyer
This book lends itself to strong adjectives. It's "unbelievable" that so much bias still exists in educating girls and women, that educators contribute so much to it, and that it begins so early. The sexism the Sadkers describe is frightening in its power to erode female confidence and performance. The Sadkers chronicle studies of textbooks, methods, tests, and behavior that show how girls are called on less and admonished for behavior that boys are allowed. They are still encouraged to be passive, compliant, and frivolous; they may be ignored, insulted, and threatened by classmates and instructors. Incidents cited here by women, girls, fathers, mothers, and teachers argue for assertive, even aggressive vigilance to identify and stop behavior that says girls are less valuable than boys. The Sadkers offer some relief to teachers and parents by showing that awareness accomplishes much and by citing tested counter techniques to be used in the confrontation of sexism.
WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women
It is wrong to expect that if our son and daughter attend the same class and listen to the same lectures, they will receive equal educations? According to this book it is. Drawing on 20 years of research, Myra and David Sadker show that from elementary schools through graduate programs, the education that female students receive is inferior to that of their male classmates. This classroom bias is sometimes overt, with instructors openly demeaning the girls in their classes; most often, though, inequalities come out in subtle ways, with boys receiving more instructional attention and girls being complicated more often for appearances than for the intellectual content of their work. Failing At Fairness has and should cause a good deal of controversy; it is hard evidence that something in our schools is terribly amiss.
—FGP
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684195414
  • Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/14/1994
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Hidden Lessons 1
2 Through the Back Door: The History of Women's Education 15
3 Missing in Interaction 42
4 The Self-Esteem Slide 77
5 High School: In Search of Herself 99
6 Test Dive 136
7 Higher Education: Colder by Degrees 161
8 The Miseducation of Boys 197
9 Different Voices, Different Schools 226
10 The Edge of Change 251
Notes 281
Recommended Reading 327
Index 337
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