FAILING AT FAIRNESS

HOW AMERICA'S SCHOOLS CHEAT GIRLS

A telling investigation by the Sadkers (Education/American University) of why girls metamorphose from intellectually eager first-graders into socially compliant high-school and college students who score 60 points below their male peers on SATs and achievement tests. As a result of usually—but not always—unconscious gender bias, it seems that neither girls nor boys receive their educational due. The Sadkers have been examining gender equity in the classroom for some 30 years and—with the help of some refined observation techniques—have been able to track the behavior that sends girls' self-esteem plummeting. Classroom videos reveal teachers—even those who consider themselves sensitive to issues of gender—praising, challenging, and paying attention to boys far more than to girls. Boys excel in showmanship, waving hands wildly to get attention; girls retreat, becoming quieter, learning to hide intelligence and scholarly skills in order to be popular. Meanwhile, textbooks and standard visual displays—even those revised in the light of feminist pressure—show few if any role models for girls. Interviews with students uncover that boys would literally rather die than be girls, while girls find boys' lives attractive in many ways. Sexual harassment also becomes an issue in high school and college, when girls find they often have no recourse when they are touched, grabbed, or called ``bitches'' by male classmates. The authors include a sympathetic chapter on the pressures boys feel growing up in a world where women are creating new lives, and where men are resentfully reliving the old roles (``Today's school boys are learning lines from a play that is closing''). Powerful evidence that girls give up their intellectual potential as gender bias is perpetuated in the classroom. (Charts; illustrations—not seen.)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 1994

ISBN: 0-684-19541-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1993

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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