On October 8, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Peg Tyre visited Elmhurst College to share insights from her research on boys and education.
Speaking to a capacity crowd, Tyre described how boys struggle in the classroom. In preschool, they’re five times more likely than girls to be expelled; in elementary school, they’re four times more likely to be diagnosed with learning disorders. They account for only 43 percent of Americans enrolled in college.
She also offered a number of suggestions, most fairly simple and low in cost, to make schools a more hospitable place for boys to learn. These included making sure that school and classroom libraries had boy-friendly books, whether The Guinness Book of World Records or Captain Underpants; that recess and gym class be considered as necessary to every schoolday as lunchtime; and that men be more of a presence in schools, if not as teachers then as classroom and school volunteers, either as parents or members of the community.
A nationally renowned writer and thinker about education, Tyre specializes in making complicated research and thorny education policy questions accessible to parents—the most passionate and motivated stakeholders in the national debate about education reform.
In her 2009 book The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do, Tyre notes that while the emphasis in education beginning in the 1990s was on helping girls succeed, especially in math and science, boys were increasingly lagging behind, particularly in reading and writing. That achievement gap between girls and boys continues, and boys also don’t compare favorably in other measures of academic success, such as graduation rates, school discipline and admission to college.
Much of Tyre’s research comes from her two decades in journalism, where she wrote cover stories for Newsweek and features and analysis for The New York Times. Tyre also has written for or been written about in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNN.com, Salon.com, Time.com, People, U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post. She also is regularly asked to conduct teacher training at public and private schools around the country, and leads workshops for parents on education issues.