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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 [Kindle Edition]

Peg Tyre
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a spinoff from her 2006 cover story for Newsweek, The Boy Crisis, Tyre delivers a cogent, reasoned overview of the current national debate about why boys are falling behind girls' achievement in school and not attending college in the same numbers. While the education emphasis in the 1990s was on helping girls succeed, especially in areas of math and science, boys are lagging behind, particularly in reading and writing; parents and educators, meanwhile, are scrambling to address the problems, from questioning teaching methods in preschool to rethinking single-sex schools. Tyre neatly sums up the information for palatable parental consumption: although boys tend to be active and noisy, and come to verbal skills later than girls, early-education teachers, mostly female, have little tolerance for the way boys express themselves. The accelerated curriculum and de-emphasis on recess do not render the classroom boy friendly, and already set boys up for failure that grows more entrenched with each grade. Tyre touches on important concerns about the lack of male role models in many boys' lives, the perils of video-game obsession and the slippery dialogue over boys' brains versus girls' brains. Tyre treads carefully, offering a terrifically useful synthesis of information. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

While the nation’s schools worked diligently to improve the academic performance of girls—including closing the achievement gap in math and science between girls and boys—few noticed the slow and steady decline in the academic performance of boys. The reading and writing achievement gap between girls and boys continues as boys also stack up unfavorably in every measure from school discipline, to graduation rates, to grades, to college admission. Newsweek reporter Tyre examines troubling statistics that detail the academic decline of boys and cites psychologists, sociologists, brain researchers, and others to explain the reasons behind the numbers. Tyre examines how schools—and broader society—have changed in ways that shortchange boys and how gender politics is affecting reactions to the dire statistics. She focuses on boys' specific problems—fidgeting in school, scattered attention, reading problems, and a shortage of male teachers. Through vignettes, Tyre offers advice to parents concerned about their sons. Most important, Tyre asks the ultimate question: how to help boys without jeopardizing the advances of girls. --Vanessa Bush

Product Details

  • File Size: 1277 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0KHW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,368 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have a boy in school, here's your next "must" read September 9, 2008
Ever since women got the right to vote in 1920, they've been on the march. In less than a century, they've muscled their way into the same jobs traditionally reserved for men --- and they're already earning 70% of a man's salary for that work. Why, at this rate, they'll.....

Stop! Hold the presses! At this rate, girls will grow up to be a ruling class. And today's boys will grow up to work in auto-body shops (not that there's anything wrong with that) and dream of advancing to the manager slot at Burger King (ditto). Why? Because boys are falling behind in school --- and not just because they develop a little slower, read a little later, blah blah blah.

The system is failing boys, Peg Tyre says. A feminized curriculum, behavior norms that disadvantage boys, schools with few men on the faculty, a misguided belief that kids are ready to learn at an earlier age --- Tyre rolls out a laundry list of reasons.

I take Peg Tyre very seriously. First, because she's been there --- she is the mother of two boys. At Newsweek, where she covered education, she wrote a story about boys falling behind in school. It struck a nerve --- parents of boys tended to think only their lads were not doing well --- so she dug more and wrote this book.

I'm the father of a girl, and while I'd like her to have every advantage, what's happening now may not be good for anyone. Just one of Tyre's conclusions:

"At all but the very highest income levels, our country is bifurcating into two groups: educated women and less educated men. That division will have massive implications for the way our children live their lives --- their opportunities, their career choices, what they do, who they marry, how they raise their children, if they can afford to retire."

Strong stuff.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a former boy this book is disturbing. September 12, 2008
Peg Tyre has written a revealing and somewhat alarming book on the condition of boys in our schools and society. The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents and Educators Can Do is insightful. Quite simply, in society's rush in the 1980s and 1990s to support our girls both socially and educationally we have apparently put the boys at a disadvantage.

Among the many points Tyre makes, boys mature on a variety of scales later than girls. In our rush to improve standardized test grades, activities such as recess have been virtually cut from the daily school activities. Boys are genetically designed to run, throw, explore, and test their abilities. In modern America, this has normally been achieved through physical play some of which occurred at school. Among other things, this allowed the boys to burn off that abundant energy. In our current educational environment the morning and afternoon recesses have been scrapped so that additional study time could be found. The normal physical play at lunch has also been eliminated in most schools. This one factor has aggravated boys' natural restlessness and caused problems with their ability to pay attention. Our response has been to drug them. Insane!

But Peg Tyre also points out that male educators are in woefully short supply as teachers during the elementary grades. Boys may lack positive male role models in their personal lives due to the national plague of absentee fathers and this is aggravated when male role models are missing at school.

Peg Tyre isn't the only game in town on this subject though her book is quite good.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Boys are simply treated as defective girls." December 29, 2008
Peg Tyre has written a remarkable book about a problem that many of us have sensed (but failed to articulate and complain about) for years: our young boys are being shortchanged from the first day that they enter a school building. Not too many years ago the concern in public education was how to prepare girls to grow into women able to compete with their male counterparts in the work world. That was a legitimate concern and, much to the credit of this country, a tremendous, and very successful, effort was made to correct the problem. But as always seems to happen, the pendulum continued to swing their way long after females had achieved educational equality. The momentum created to correct the initial problem was so strong that it eventually placed male students at a disadvantage, a new problem just as serious as the one it corrected.

I have personally observed much of what Peg Tyre describes in "The Trouble with Boys." For what it is worth, I can offer anecdotal evidence of my own that the problem Tyre describes is a serious one. I am the father of two daughters, both elementary school teachers now, and the grandfather of one granddaughter and two grandsons, all of whom are elementary school students. Because I am convinced that learning to read well, and as soon as possible, is the key to anyone's future, I encouraged my daughters to become readers and have done the same for their children. It is in observation of their children that I first became aware of just how different so many little boys are from little girls when it comes to their early schooling.

According to Tyre, the problem for little boys begins as early as preschool because they are physically and mentally less mature than little girls their age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Reframed my thinking
This book helped me reframe my thinking about raising sons but also raising daughters. It challenged me and informed. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh
5.0 out of 5 stars All good
Arrived, quickly, clean, great condition. Will use again in future.
Published 1 month ago by Manga_Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars best book written to help frustrated mothers of boys to ...
best book written to help frustrated mothers of boys to understand what is happening to their children in our school systems. Read more
Published 5 months ago by P Tyre
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME BOOK
Every mother with a boy in the school system should buy this book.
Published 9 months ago by meliss325
5.0 out of 5 stars A Call for Change
It is refreshing to have the author not blame the victims--the kids today--but rather the educational system that no longer meets their needs. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Angelo Gambatese
5.0 out of 5 stars Peg Tyre Is A Treasure
The subject matter is challenging and controversial. Peg Tyre provides a balanced and nuanced account of much of the research. Plus she writes well. Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. Lowy
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting
I think she makes really interesting points and brings to light a lot of research done over decades on this subject. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Sabrina Buttons
5.0 out of 5 stars So very interesting!
Peg Tyre answered so many questions I have had regarding young boys and education. This book should be a real eye opener for parents with "problem" or... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mockingjay
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I made me understand a lot about how my son is "wired", and work more towards helping him without going against his "boyish nature". Read more
Published on May 18, 2013 by Seville
5.0 out of 5 stars Read if from Library
Read if from Library but loved it so much I wanted to pass it around to my friends so bought a hard copy.
Published on April 9, 2013 by T. Hudon
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More 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.


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