Backyard Conservative Anne Leary links to this report in the Chicago Tribune regarding a study of public elementary schools in suburban Wilmette, Ill. Guess what it found? A huge gender disparity in the learning accomplishments of boys and girls. Girls’ grades were consistently higher in grades 5 through 8 on a range of subjects across the board: reading, weriting, spelling and math. Girls as a group were consistently more likely to receive A’s, while boys were consistently more likely to receive C’s. Some 71 percent of the district’s special education students were boys, and boys represented the majority of discipline referrals and suspensions.

But instead of snidely (and Pollyannish-ly) concluding, “Why that doesn’t mean boys are doing worse–it means girls are doing better!” like our friends in the feminist establishment, the Wilmette school system seems to actually want to do something about the problem. The Tribune story notes:

“During the 2005-06 school year, only 18 of the district’s 155 teachers were men, according to the report. Most of the 18 taught 7th and 8th grades, with no men teaching in kindergarten through 3rd-grade classrooms.

“The report states that the percentage of male applicants who are hired as teachers is low, and that analysis suggests ‘the evaluation criteria used for selecting teachers may reinforce these gender disparities.'”

The school district also seems to recognize the politically incorrect fact that, uh, boys’ brains are different girls’, so boys need their own style of teaching, one that incorporates games, competition, and letting students move around in the classroom into the learning process:

“- From the report by Wilmette Public Schools District 39: ‘The more words a teacher uses, the more likely boys are to “zone out,:” or go into rest state. The male brain is better suited for symbols, abstractions, diagrams, pictures and objects moving through space than the monotony of words.'”

Oops–did I hear someone say, ‘Larry Summers'”?

Anne comments:
“Those of us who asked these questions years ago were demonized as ‘dangerous’. One of their recommendations is more competition in the classroom. Hopefully this…report will not be shelved to gather dust, like so many before it.”