- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006

Female high school students are treated more leniently and are less likely to be punished than their male peers, a 17-year-old Massachusetts senior says in a federal complaint about gender bias at his school.

“The system is designed to the disadvantage of males,” Doug Anglin, a student at Milton High School in Milton, Mass., told the Boston Globe this week. “From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders and listen to what they say, you’ll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this.”

Gerald Anglin, Doug’s father and a Boston lawyer, helped write the complaint, which was filed last month with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The complaint cites “statistical anomalies” in males’ grades and standardized testing performance, as well as “a generalized perception” that male and female students are treated differently by the mostly white, female teaching staff, Gerald Anglin said yesterday.

“There’s been a request that the Department of Education use its expertise to suggest some remedies … to correct the situation,” he said.

The complaint recommends “altering the work force,” “injecting flexibility” into course selections, using “pass-fail” grading and correcting negative impressions of male students.

Milton school officials disputed claims that girls are treated more leniently than boys but said they would revisit the issue and reinstitute a mentoring program for lagging students.

A Department of Education spokesman said the agency received the complaint but had no further comment.

This month, The Washington Times examined the issue of male “academic underachievers.”

“Boys are suffering,” Harvard Medical School psychologist and author William Pollack told The Times. “They are sitting in classrooms where they can’t perform at the same level as girls and so cannot compete with girls,” he said. “The bottom line is that they are suffering both academically and emotionally.”

Studies show that boys receive most of the “D” and “F” grades, create 80 percent of classroom discipline problems, account for 80 percent of high school dropouts and make up less than 44 percent of the college population.

Suggested solutions include making classrooms smaller and more action-oriented, and teaching boys and girls separately.

About 200 public schools already offer single-sex classrooms and this week, officials at an Arkansas high school said they will start teaching ninth-grade core subjects in single-sex classrooms this fall.

If boys and girls are taught in separate rooms, a lot of the distractions are eliminated, Renee Parker, assistant principal of Hope High School, told a Little Rock television station.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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