The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do

The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do

by Peg Tyre


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The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre

From the moment they step into the classroom, boys begin to struggle. They get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls; in elementary school, they’re diagnosed with learning disorders four times as often. By eighth grade huge numbers are reading below basic level. And by high school, they’re heavily outnumbered in AP classes and, save for the realm of athletics, show indifference to most extra­curricular activities. Perhaps most alarmingly, boys now account for less than 43 percent of those enrolled in college, and the gap widens every semester!

The imbalance in higher education isn’t just a “boy problem,” though. Boys’ decreasing college attendance is bad news for girls, too, because ad­missions officers seeking balanced student bodies pass over girls in favor of boys. The growing gender imbalance in education portends massive shifts for the next generation: how much they make and whom they marry.

Interviewing hundreds of parents, kids, teachers, and experts, award-winning journalist Peg Tyre drills below the eye-catching statistics to examine how the educational system is failing our sons. She explores the convergence of culprits, from the emphasis on high-stress academics in preschool and kindergarten, when most boys just can’t tolerate sitting still, to the outright banning of recess, from the demands of No Child Left Behind, with its rigid emphasis on test-taking, to the boy-unfriendly modern curriculum with its focus on writing about “feelings” and its purging of “high-action” reading material, from the rise of video gaming and schools’ unease with technology to the lack of male teachers as role models.

But this passionate, clearheaded book isn’t an exercise in finger-pointing. Tyre, the mother of two sons, offers notes from the front lines—the testimony of teachers and other school officials who are trying new techniques to motivate boys to learn again, one classroom at a time. The Trouble with Boys gives parents, educators, and anyone concerned about the state of education a manifesto for change—one we must undertake right away lest school be-come, for millions of boys, unalterably a “girl thing.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307381293
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 08/11/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 547,135
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

PEG TYRE was, until recently, a senior writer at Newsweek specializing in social trends and education. She has won numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize, a Clarion Award, and a National Education Writers Association Award. She lives in New York City with her husband, novelist Peter Blauner, and their two sons.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Trouble with Boys     1
Notes from the Front: The Edina Experiment     17
The Scope of the Problem: It's Not Just Your Son     23
The Doubters: Why Some People (Mistakenly) Say Boys Are Doing Just Fine     35
Preschool Blues: The First Signs of Trouble     51
Notes from the Front: Fixing the School, Not the Boy     79
Kindergarten: The New First Grade     83
Requiem for Recess: Yes, They Need It-More Than You Think     101
Pay Attention: Your Son, His Teacher, and ADHD     107
Notes from the Front: The Wilmette Solution     117
Good-bye, Mr. Chips: The Vanishing Male Teacher     125
Boys and Literacy: Why Johnny Can't (or Won't) Read     135
Thinking with a Boy Brain: What Brain Science Tells Us     163
(Video) Games Boys Play: The World of Electronic Distraction     183
Single-Sex Schooling: Could It Be the Answer?     201
Notes from the Front: Project Earthquake     225
Smart Boys Who Get Bad Grades: Are Schools Biased Against Boys?     231
Boys Alone: How We Devalue What Boys Need     241
Notes from the Front: Learning to Be a Man     251
College: Where the Boys Aren't     255
The Future: Telling the Truth AboutBoys     279
Notes     289
Acknowledgments     299
Index     300

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