Tag: why boys fail


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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Read to Your Boys


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I discuss one of the underlying reasons why young boys are trailing behind their female peers: Low reading comprehension. As noted last week, young…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I discuss one of the underlying reasons why young boys are trailing behind their female peers: Low reading comprehension. As noted last week, young men (and women) who have difficulty reading will also struggle with math and their other studies, contributing to low academic achievement and exacerbating the nation’s dropout crisis.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, MP3 player or smartphone. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast Network and Zune Marketplace.

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This is Dropout Nation: Cleveland Public Schools’ Special Ed Population


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With two of every three of its high school freshmen dropping out before graduation, Cleveland Public Schools is one of the nation’s worst traditional public school systems. But the extent…

With two of every three of its high school freshmen dropping out before graduation, Cleveland Public Schools is one of the nation’s worst traditional public school systems. But the extent of the district’s academic failure extends beyond its regular classrooms. The district labels far too many of its children — especially young men — as learning disabled and keeps too many of them out of regular instruction. Considering that the “learning disabilities” are mostly issues that don’t prevent them from learning at the same rates as their peers, this means that many Cleveland students are being condemned to dropping out and lives of poverty.

Thirteen-point-five percent of Cleveland’s students in 2006 were labeled as learning disabled, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This is an increase over the 12 percent of students labeled learning disabled in 2000 — even as the district’s population has steadily declined. Even worse, almost all of them — 7,185 out of 7385 special education students — spend 60 percent or more of their school day outside of regular classroom instruction. This is important because special ed students are getting far-less-rigorous instruction than the already-abysmal instruction received by their peers in regular classrooms.

For Cleveland’s male students, being part of special ed is almost a way of life. Nineteen percent of the district’s black male students and 16 percent of their white counterparts are labeled as special ed cases.  This is versus (an almost abysmal) 9.9 percent of black females and 9 percent of white females. Latino male students fare no better, despite their sparse presence: Fourteen percent of Latino males are labeled as either being mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, stricken with a “specific learning disability” or considered developmentally delayed. Just 8 percent of Latino females are considered special ed cases.

As Cleveland debates a round of school reform measures — including the shutdown of eight local schools — the district and the parents who send their children to its schools should address this widespread condemnation of young children to abysmal education settings. The district’s status as a dropout factory won’t change until it comes to grips with the underlying reasons why so many students are being relegated to the proverbial short buses.

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