Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Graduation Gap

The Rocky Mountain News has a story about graduation rates for the Denver public schools, and the results are shocking in that they're not what we usually hear about minorities and graduation rates:

Black girls graduated last year from Denver Public Schools at a higher rate than white boys and far outpaced black boys in the class of students who started the eighth grade in DPS. (boldface mine--Darren)

I'm wondering where the sensitivity training advocates are, because it's pretty obvious to me that there's some institutionalized sexism and racism in the Denver schools. Those teachers need some training on how to reach, communicate with, and teach, boys.

Sarcasm aside, something very interesting is going on in the DPS. Is it something good that they're doing with girls, something they're doing wrong with boys, both, or is it something else entirely? And is the methodology used in the Rocky Mountain News' analysis of the data valid? I'm not qualified to answer that last question but the Denver schools deserve some close scrutiny, whether for good or for ill.


Onyx said...

Teaching boys is a challenge. EVERY year that I have taught I have had more boys than girls. Research shows that males benefit from having male teachers in all male classes. I have 3 sons, so go figure. I am the token female in my household, even the dog is male.

Think public education, predominately female. There aren't enough males in classrooms and for many reasons, pay being one of them, lack of respect another

Darren said...

I'm quite sure there are more women in K-6 education, but I thought the numbers were much more balanced in 7-12 education. I have no facts on the subject handy, however, but that's definitely the impression I have.

Duez said...

I agree with not enough males in the classroom. It isn't balanced at my high school - mostly women teachers.

But, isn't it possible that in the DPS there were just a higher number of black females that achieved this year? In a study of one year it is not enough to give us a real trend. Sorry.

Darren said...

The higher number wouldn't necessarily mean that the percentages who graduate would be higher. But like you point out, and I implied with my comment about methodology, there might not be a lot of "here" here.

Anonymous said...

Last week I attended the graduation ceremony for East High School, a DPS school. The school is very diverse and I saw more blacks and hispanic graduate than white students. When the top ten of the class were announced, 9 white girls and 1 white boy stood up.


Darren said...

Austin, very interesting.