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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 Hardcover – September 9, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307381285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307381286
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jesse Kornbluth on September 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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