Christy, I agree the relationships between gender, education and the labor
market are critical. Your point about boys dropping out and still being
economically self-sufficient was historically true for some boys, but I
believe it is less and less the case in our current economy, especially for
minority and lower SES boys. However, your concerns about the salary
as related to educational level are supported by the following statistics.
These are the median salary levels for all full-time workers:
HS Degree: Males - $30,868 Females - $21,963
BA/BS: Males - $49,982 Females - $35,408
MA/MS: Males - $59,966 Females - $45,968
Professional: Males - $90,653 Females - $55,460
It is important to note that when I first began working with this chart in
the mid-80's, I was able to make a statement that "Men with high school
degrees earned more than women with Master's degrees." Obviously, there
numerous variables that explain these stats, from the fact that they are
medians, to careers associated with degrees (as you point out), to time in
the workforce, unions, etc. They do generally reflect that women earn just
over 70 cents for every dollar men earn (it was in the mid-60's 15 years
ago). Among other variables, that narrowing of the wage gap is explained
both career choices, as well as declining wages for men over the past 15
Title IX, the Women's Movement and gender equity efforts have clearly had
impact on these statistics over the past 30 years. Economic
has to be one of the explicit goals of education, along with healthy
development and well-being. That said, I wanted to respond to your
"Who isn't concerned that huge numbers of *both* boys and girls drop out or
are "pushed out" of school?
It is clear that Title IX has had both a direct and indirect impact on this
issue for girls. Teen pregnancy prevention has been effective, as well as
the supports available for teen mothers. I mention this because the
graduation rate for girls who postpone pregnancy is 96%. The indirect
connection here is the inverse relationship between girls participation in
athletics and teen pregnancy.
As far as boys go, I have not witnessed a groundswell of concern about
high dropout or discipline rates. I am referring specifically to boys
because I believe we have to be intentional about gender and the
variables behind these concerns. When talking about dropout rates, we have
done this with girls by addressing pregnancy. We are not doing so well
boys. I know for a fact that in a number of urban districts throughout the
country, the administrations have deliberately ignored boys'
disproportionately high dropout, suspension and expulsion rates. "Out of
sight, out of mind" has been the modus operandi.
These are not simply issues of race or class, either. I believe it
a default attitude about many boys...those who don't "make the grade."
process of "filtering out" or "dealing out" or "pushing out" begins as
as elementary school. All of my teaching was at the elementary level in
residential and day treatment centers for emotionally disturbed
children...90% of whom were boys. Such programs and many alternative
programs throughout the country continue to be, by default, single sex
classes and schools.
I strongly believe that gender equity is about providing access and
opportunities that lead to economic self-sufficiency and well-being. It is
obvious why Title IX and other efforts have been needed and effective for
girls and women; we cannot afford to let up now. At the same time, a
collective consciousness regarding the needs of boys is required,
particularly when it comes to well-being and academic achievement.
PO Box 2174
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
"Caring schools are safe schools."
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Thu May 23 2002 - 10:59:42 EDT