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Failing At Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls Paperback – March 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
The authors look at considerable evidence of gender inequities in the classroom and suggest ways to reform the education system. QPB alternate selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Garin Rubenstein The New York Times Required reading for anyone interested in sex bias.
Patricia Ireland President, National Organization for Women Provides hard evidence of the discrimination women face from the first day of school.
Naomi Wolf Author of The Beauty Myth We need many more books like this one, that draw into the foreground the fact that sexism in the schools is crippling America's leadership and productivity.
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The book is strongest on presenting the history of educating women, and defining specifically how girls are still getting shortchanged. The authors clearly lay out their analysis of what is wrong with girl's education. The weakness of the book is in the last chapter "The Edge of Change". The solution to any problem requires change, and this change requires a rethink of how we treat half the population. It challenges our habits, our culture, our intellect and our pocketbook. And , unfortunately, the Sadkers are a little light and fuzzy when suggesting solutions. This is forgivable given the scope of the problem.
If you are a parent of a girl, or if you are or want to be a good teacher, I encourage you to read Failing at Fairness.
This book starts with an axe to grind, and never lets up for a moment. It is a terrible disservice to my mother, all three of my sisters, my wife, and both of my daughters, all of whom have been brilliant in school and very successful beyond graduation. Their blue-collar backgrounds didn't stop them for a moment.
It's not the system, but the strength of the individual's desire to learn that really matters. And family encouragement influences that far more than any system can.
Instead of this book, I recommend that you buy 'The Midwife's Apprentice', read it with your daughters, and ponder what it says about plucky girls and their chances for advancement in any age.
I also recommend spending time with 'Anno's Wonderful Multiplying Jar' for an introduction to the great fun that can be had with mathematics. The pictures are enchanting, and the way it introduces a child to the concept of " n! " is priceless.
Finally, Jules Pfeiffer's classic 'The Phantom Toolbooth' is the best introduction to the joy of learning I've ever read. If you don't like the genders of the main characters, I recommend that you type it into a word processor, use the software's "replace all" utility to change the names and genders of all the characters, and print it out for reading with your daughters. The message is the joy of learning to solve meaningful problems, and it has nothing to do with gender.
Digging into these three delightful books with your daughters will do more for their educational success--and future quality of life--than anything the authors of "FaF" have to tell you.
Bon voyage, and be sure to say hi to the Mathemagician for me.