- Dear Abby
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This is in regards to your editorial, "Closing educational gap starts early," (June 8), highlighting the progress that is being made on closing the educational gap in our region. Unfortunately, your piece and many others on the topic overlooks a critical dimension of the gap - boys are falling behind, and at an increasing rate. And this is true not only of low-income and minority boys, but boys at all economic levels and ethnicities.
As documented by Francis Wardle in earlychildhoodnews.com and Peg Tyre in "The Problem With Boys," in recent decades our elementary education system has been revised in ways that work against some basic characteristics of boys; they learn verbal, reading and writing skills more slowly than girls, and they need more movement and physical activity to tolerate, let alone enjoy, a school day.
Schools, particularly the earliest grades, are predominantly taught and staffed by women who value and promote the behaviors, cultures and even books that they relate to, which too often work against what works for boys. And the increasing priority given to standardized tests focuses on achievements that may be beyond some boys, while taking time from phys-ed and recess, which are essential to keeping some, perhaps many, boys engaged in school.