boy problems

Study: Kindergarten Rigged Against Boys

Photo: Sean De Burca/? Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Is the End of Men nothing but a vast conspiracy against boys enacted by female elementary school teachers? The (male) head of economics at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business thinks so.

In a study published in the Journal of Human Resources, Christopher Cornwell analyzed data on 5,800 elementary school students, finding “for the first time,” that “gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.” This based on his findings that boys do better on standardized tests than their grades would suggest. Girls are only getting ahead when it comes to “non-cognitive” skills like their docile and obsequious “approach to learning.”

“You can think of ‘approaches to learning’ as a rough measure of what a child’s attitude toward school is: It includes six items that rate the child’s attentiveness, task persistence, eagerness to learn, learning independence, flexibility, and organization. I think that anybody who’s a parent of boys and girls can tell you that girls are more of all of that.”

All the elementary school teachers unjustly rewarding girls for having neat Trapper Keepers and not biting anyone on the playground may be screwing boys over for life.

“The trajectory at which kids move through school is often influenced by a teacher’s assessment of their performance, their grades. This affects their ability to enter into advanced classes and other kinds of academic opportunities, even post-secondary opportunities … It’s also typically the grades you earn in school that are weighted the most heavily in college admissions. So if grade disparities emerge this early on, it’s not surprising that by the time these children are ready to go to college, girls will be better positioned.”

Cornwell won’t go so far as to say the Kindergarten teachers are sexist, but he can’t help but notice how many girl-favoring elementary school educators happen to be women.  

“The most common question we’ve gotten is whether or not the gender of the teacher matters in regards to grading students,” Cornwell said. “But that’s a question we can’t answer because there’s just not enough data available. As you can probably guess, the great majority of elementary school teachers are women.”

He concludes that women have always done better in school, but now, thanks to the pill, that advantage is reflected in higher education and the work force. Our takeaway is that women should probably get used to men casually mentioning their SAT scores in conversation.

Study: Kindergarten Rigged Against Boys