What is the thesis of the essay "How the Schools Shortchange Boys" and does the author give enough support to validate his claim?How the Schools Shortchange Boys by Gerry Garibaldi.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The thesis of this essay is that schools have become "feminized" in ways that set boys up to fail.  The essay says that the educational system has been set up in ways that favor the way girls and women think and that devalue the ways that boys and men think.

As a man who has never taught below the high school level (except volunteering at my kid's K and 1st grade classes), I do not know if the author's thesis is true.  I do have some concerns, though.

My biggest concern is that there is essentially no evidence that is anything but anecdotal.  Anecdotal evidence is where you just pick some statistic or thing you've heard and say that it proves your point.

Garibaldi presents the following anecdotal evidence:

  • 65% of boys and 73% of girls got diplomas in the HS class of '03.
  • Kenyon College has affirmative action for boys.
  • All Garibaldi's Special Ed students have been boys.
  • Brandon doesn't like Ms. Waverly.
  • Garibaldi doesn't like working in groups.
  • He says texts show girls in good ways and boys in bad ways.

The problem here is that none of these "facts" prove anything.

  • There could be other reasons why boys fail more than girls and why they don't go to college as much (and he does not give any numbers on the college thing or on other years for the HS thing).
  • He gives no stats on numbers of boys vs. girls in Special Ed.  Even if he did, he would have to prove that boys do not really have more learning disabilities.
  • The other three are just his subjective opinions or are isolated things.  Does Brandon hate Ms. Waverly because she's a woman or because she's a jerk or because he's a jerk?

So my overall point is that you can't tell from an article like this because there is very little in the way of proof.

And now my answer is probably longer than the article itself... but I get into stuff like this where I get to criticize other people for not proving their points.

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