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.)
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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