The American Association of University Women has taken a closer look at 35 years worth of SAT/ACT scores, graduation rates, and standardized tests. Their biased, yet statistically accurate, conclusion is that girls are doing better and have closed any academic gap that once existed between them and boys. Bridging this gap has not been at the expense of boys; in fact, both boys and girls are doing proportionally better than before. The AAUW recommends that focus be put on the academic inequality of race and income. The data seems to indicate that minorities and children of poverty are more likely to be disadvantaged academically- a huge gap exists between their graduation rates and test scores and those of wealthier whites.
Linda Hallman from the AAUW was on NewsHour on PBS last night. She suggested that more of the budget be dedicated to small class size, which I have shown is not a simplistic answer to boosting grades. She will be answering questions, along with Tom Mortenson of the Pell Institute for Student of Opportunity in Higher Education, about the gender gap and other questions on education. Their answers will be posted on pbs.org tomorrow.
In other news…
The Guttmacher Institute surveyed over 2,200 students in the 2002 Survey of National Family Growth, and the results were quite interesting. Among other things, the survey indicated that teenagers are not replacing oral sex in favor of the riskier vaginal sex. Which is shocking because there are all these scandalous rumors spread by Oprah that teens go wild at oral sex parties. There are a few teens who engage in oral and anal sex to “save” their virginity, but on the whole this survey suggests that the practice isn’t rampant.
On the other hand, the survey gives parents all kinds of other things to panic about. Half of all the represented 15-19 yr olds were no longer virgins, and slightly more than half had engaged in oral sex. Anal sex was only 11% – a figure that is thankfully hard to imagine.
I know that oral sex has it’s risks too, but I almost wish these kids were substituting it for the actual thing. Teens are stupid. If this survey is accurate, they’re probably having their sex unprotected and spreading STDs and watching Juno like it’s an instruction manual.