Letter to the Editor submitted by Susan McGee Bailey, Ph.D., to The New York Times in response to "The Complaint Gap" op-ed which ran July 15, 2006. (unpublished)
John Tierney needs to brush up on his facts (The Complaint Gap, July 15). The gender equity legislation he refers to, the Women’s Education Equity Act, was passed in 1974 and the first grants were awarded in 1976, a decade and a half prior to the 1992 report, How Schools Shortchange Girls, which looked at the ways gender influences educational content, expectations, participation, and outcomes.
Misrepresenting the report as something that focused on girls to the detriment of boys has been going on for years, but the report’s contributors clearly argued that understanding girls in schools can also improve education for boys. As Tierney indicates, socio-economic status (SES) is the single best predictor of educational achievement; educators have long known this and the report devoted an entire chapter to discussing the ways gender, race, and SES interact. Children need an education that addresses economic, racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender differences. It is not an either/or issue.