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The Trouble With Boys, by Peg Tyre

In author information, Book Reviews, nonfiction, social science on September 4, 2010 at 8:05 pm

A Surprising Report Card On Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do.

Peg Tyre, a former staff writer for Newsweek magazine who covered social trends and education, has come to understand after much research and countless interviews with boys, parents of boys, teachers, and experts that boys are falling behind academically at an alarming rate.  Tyre’s research reveals that boys are expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls.  The elementary years leave boys diagnosed as having attention problems and learning disorders four times as often as girls.  Boys are twice as likely to be held back, too.  Our boys are seriously behind girls in reading and writing, and falling further behind each year.  The cheer rises for our achieving girls, but what about our boys?

From the preschool years onward, Tyre chronologically examines the issues parents of boys face (or will face), from misinformed individuals who claim boys are doing “just fine” to schools or teachers promoting the medication of  boys for a disease largely unheard of before the 1950’s.  In both affluent and poor schools in a sampling study, close to 20% of white elementary aged boys line up to take stimulants to get through their school days.  In the words of the author, “Either we are witnessing the largest pandemic in our country since influenza struck in the United States in 1918, or school aged boys are being over-identified and overdiagnosed.”  (Tyre does not deny that treatment and/or medications help some boys.  She only notes the obvious conclusion when viewing the numbers.)

The Trouble With Boys does not stop at pointing out the problem.  It offers many possible solutions, some currently being employed in a few schools, and many more being researched and considered, realizing that the trouble may not be with boys, but with the way the educational system deals with boys.   The conclusion is clear from the data presented.  If we are to stop the educational system from failing boys (both literally and figuratively), we must act quickly.

Recommendation:  ****_  Very informative without reading like stereo instructions, an easy read.  I would encourage parents of boys, whether they are struggling in school or high achievers, to educate themselves on the state of affairs in the educational world and its effects on our sons.

~Moira

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