Friday, May 2, 2014

Fidgety Kids ?

The title certainly caught my eye
A Link Between Fidgety Boys and a Sputtering Economy
I read this NY Times article "closely" in a CCS-sort of way.  I questioned the "facts vs the opinions" in the article and wondered about the "arguments" the author used to defend his points.  I also read this article under the lens of a mom, auntie, and teacher with lots of boys AND girls who fidget!
I read...and my mind was reeling in golden thoughts....
The gap in behavioral skills between young girls and boys is even bigger than the gap between rich and poor. Really? I thought as I continued to read. I thought we had closed that gap a bit...
By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys, according to a new paper from Third Way, a Washington research group. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between the sexes. By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A’s and B’s or better. Only 31 percent of boys do. Oh my, I thought as I got to this part.  That is quite a gap.  I wonder, however, does it cut across all subject areas?  Does this mean in math and science? Does this include computers and health?  What about girls who don't (according to some studies) answer as many questions? Does this happen in all schools?  Does it happen across all socioeconomic groups???????What is wrong with me?  I don't see this.  I see lots of fidgety girls and boys!
To put it another way, the American economy — for all its troubles (and all of the lingering sexism) — looks to be doing pretty well when you focus on girls. The portion of women earning a four-year college degree has jumped more than 75 percent over the last quarter-century, in line with what has happened in other rich countries. Median inflation-adjusted female earnings are up almost 35 percent over the same span, census data show — while male earnings, incredibly, haven’t risen at all. I really did not believe this at first.....but then I started, at least in my early morning mind, to argue that some, maybe most of that gain might be in "correction" after many years of earning far less! Then, I started to argue with myself and think that most of us do not see our kids, colleagues or friends with gender, race, or religion determined limits.
At college graduation ceremonies around the country this spring, women in caps and gowns will easily outnumber men. Seriously, I wondered, do boys finish later? What happens to them?  Is there also a gap coming out of HS?  Is it college problem or could it begin long before when they fidget as beginners. Why do girls fare better? Are girls less fidgety in other parts of the country?   
"....In today’s economy, being tough and being strong are not what leads to success.” Being tough and strong are important for resiliency I would think....but I must agree that is not what our schools are about is it.  Or, does the author mean physical strength?   
So thanks to some early morning reading of the NY Times online and thanks to some heavy duty thinking all day long, I looked at my students and pondered the facts vs. opinions in this text.  I must admit that at least among my students, FIDGETY is not a gender specific quality. They all seem to focus and learn best with differentiated instruction that focuses on hands on learning.  Perhaps, it's not about gender as much as it is about what we do in school to make sure all kids learn...but then I guess I am responding in an argument that would likely make the CCS gurus smile.  I am reading critically and thinking deeply.  I leave my reading with more questions than answers the way they would want it!  

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