Boys vs. Girls: The Gender Gap at School and at Home

I read an article in The New York Times this week about the gender gap in gifted and talented programs. Surprise! There are more girls than boys in these prestigious programs all over the city.

Never mind how every NYC parent you meet seems to think their kids are G&T (which always makes me think of Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally. “Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.” Newsflash, parents: Same goes for kids being gifted or talented).

Seriously though, is anyone really surprised by girls out-performing boys at Kindergarten age? Particularly, moms of young children?

Not me. Reading this article was like reading an anthropomorphic study on my home. An example:

“Have you heard the expression, two wrongs don’t make a right?” (the kindergarten teacher) asked Sidney (a little boy in her class).

“Three lefts make a right,” he replied.

Jasper could have said this. Actually, maybe he did say this. Yesterday? Last week?

“Sitting still, that’s where a lot of our gifted guys get into trouble,” (Terry W. Neu, an assistant professor at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut who studies achievement among gifted boys,) said, adding, “If they are not moving, they are thinking about moving.”

Uh, duh?????? As we say around our house, “we like to move it, move it.” Although, in our case, it applies to the girls as well.

J & N Running Wild

The fact is, at least from our Brooklyn address, boys are a whole different ball game. The little girls in Jasper‘s class, even a year ago in Pre-K, were all about organized play. They were already trying to direct each other (and the boys). Their games of duck-duck-goose seemed an oasis of ordered calm. In the classroom, more of the girls could write their names, color in the lines, or make a passable tadpole person. Meanwhile, over in Boys Town, there were a lot of explosions, playing dead, running around laughing maniacally, lots of silly stuff. In the classroom and out.

I don’t have anything particularly political to say about this article. Despite the fact that we are a two-mom family, trying to raise a strong, thoughtful little boy (and a strong, thoughtful little girl). I liked that it seemed an accurate reflection of what we see at home. And since we’re rooting for both of our kids, I guess we’ll just have to keep trying to figure out how to keep motivating them. The boys are lagging for now. But remembering that the girls have the dread teen years ahead of them, and all that entails, I have to say, “Go go go.” The boys will be there soon enough, in their own time.

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1 Response to “Boys vs. Girls: The Gender Gap at School and at Home”


  1. 1 Arthur Boehm June 5, 2010 at 8:38 am

    The thing about (straight) males is, you DO get the Chrysler Building–but you also get every war that’s ever happened. A reasonable trade-off?


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