Sunday, June 04, 2006


I think that the ladies have caught up:
Women now earn the majority of diplomas in fields men used to dominate -- from biology to business -- and have caught up in pursuit of law, medicine and other advanced degrees.

Even with such enormous gains over the past 25 years, women are paid less than men in comparable jobs and lag in landing top positions on college campuses.

Federal statistics released Thursday show that in many ways, the gender gap among college students is widening. The story is largely one of progress for women, stagnation for men.

Women earn the majority of bachelor's degrees in business, biological sciences, social sciences and history. The same is true for traditional strongholds such as education and psychology.

In undergraduate and graduate disciplines where women trail men, they are gaining ground, earning larger numbers of degrees in math, physical sciences and agriculture.

"Women are going in directions that maybe their mothers or grandmothers never even thought about going," said Avis Jones-DeWeever, who oversees education policy for the Institute of Women's Policy Research.

"We're teaching girls that they need to be able to explore every opportunity that they are interested in. It's good to see that is happening," she said.
But the news isn't so good for male students:
The enrollment of men in professional degree programs is declining.

"There's every reason to celebrate the success of women. And one has to be concerned about what's happening with men," said Russ Whitehurst, director of the Institute of Education Sciences, a research arm of the Education Department.

Researchers say that men, for different reasons, are not enrolling in or completing college programs with the same urgency as women.

One reason is a failure by schools to teach boys well at en early age, leading to frustration by high school. A second is a recognition by young men that they can land, if only temporarily, some decent-paying jobs without a college degree.

Boys need to have their aspirations raised just as girls have, said Tom Mortenson, senior scholar for The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. By middle school, he said, many boys are tuning out and the problem is only getting worse.

"Women have been making educational progress, and the men are stuck," he said. "They haven't just fallen behind women. They have fallen behind changes in the job market."
The findings were part of a 379-page report, "The Condition of Education," a yearly compilation of statistics that give a picture of academic trends.

The consensus around our junior high school here in California's "Imperial" Valley is that there is a difference in how boys and girls act in the classroom. Just about everyone agrees that girls are better behaved, more motivated to learn, and are generally "easier" to teach.

Related: Joanne Jacobs
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