Fidgety Boys, the US Economy, and Recess
On April 29, 2014, David Leonhardt posted
At the New York Times online site, my comment elicited nearly 300 "Recommends," but the Times "pick" of comments noted that the problem is parents no longer control their kids. ("When I went to school boys who ran around the room were told to go to their seats and sit down. . . .") Another Times "pick" expands on this theme (" In the mid-1800s, at the turn of the last century, and up until a couple of decades ago, boys were able to sit for much longer periods of time than they do now. For that matter, in Shakespeare's time boys who went to school were at their desks from morning until early evening. . . .")
To be fair, the Times also "picked" this comment:
What fidgety boys need is recess. So do obedient girls. But this seems lost on a reporter whose area of expertise is economics, not young children.
Making good on the promise of graphs and such, the article included a graph provided by two sociologists listed as education expert at Third Way, a group focusing on influencing politicos with "moderate policy and political ideas." And quotes a third person associated with Third Way, the founder of the original third way group known as New Democrats that helped elect Bill Clinton. A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute is also quoted, along with a link to her article in Time, What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed.
Certainly it's not surprising that a money guy goes for research such as School Context and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement. And reaches this conclusion: [I]n an economy that rewards knowledge, the academic struggles of boys turn into economic struggles.
I need convincing that ours is an economy that rewards knowledge. There's a whole lot of evidence that who you know counts much more than what you know. And these days knowledge is very narrowly defined by outfits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the U. S. Department of Education, The National Governors Association, as well as the opinion column bunch at The New York Times.
If David Leonhardt wants to know about fidgety boys, I'd recommend he contact the Alliance for Childhood, who publish things like A Research-Based Case for Recess
I sent a letter to the Times. I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of publication. But as Stephen Krashen demonstrates, we must keep trying.
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