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The Problem

-Fewer than half of students in school and college receive grades appropriate to their knowledge. This according to Nancy Cole’s research as President of the Educational Testing Service.
-Behavior is unrelated to learning and knowledge. School behavior is no predictor of success in the workplace. This according to numerous sources, including Department of Labor studies and Columbia University’s Richard Arum in Academically Adrift.
-Our smartest students don’t go to college. As one K-12 teacher explained, “When we include behavior in grading students, we send our ‘C’ students to college and our ‘A’ students to McDonalds.”

Societal Impact

-We need more college graduates. The U.S., like other advanced nations, needs 50% of its young people to have a four year college degree for economic prosperity of the 21st century. At just 32%, we are falling further and further behind.
-STEM worker shortage. The U.S. lacks millions of STEM workers. The U.S. has to import college educated STEM workers.
-Marriage and family crisis. Young women are not able to find economically suitable husbands, single parents are increasing, families are in crisis.
-Death by Despair. The suicide rate has tripled in the last 20 years, as has other deaths by despair such as drug overdose and intoxication, according to the CDC.
-Diversity. The problem affects black and Latino boys the worst.
-The other half loses. The other half of our young people who do not choose to go to college, or who do not qualify, see their wages and financial future decline. According to economist Enrico Moretti’s The New Geography of Jobs, people with a high school degree do better economically when living in communities with a high percentage of college graduates.

Gender Impact

-Boys get worse grades. As a result of grading on behavior, boys get significantly worse grades than girls in every school district and higher education institution in America, even though they learn as much and test equal to girls.
-Over 20 million smart males left out of college. These are smart males who test and learn the same or more than students in college. They have been denied access to, and graduation from, a four year degree institution.
-Can’t get to economic prosperity. We can never get to the necessary benchmark of 50% of our young people with a college degree without graduating more boys.
-Women lose too. Women lose both economically and in their quality of life. We need more smart women to go to college too.
-Violation of Title IX. Grading on gender-based behavior is a violation of Title IX, discriminating on the basis of sex against boys.

Top left, Paula Hogard of Framingham State University was Chair of the LERN Board of Directors when the Board approved a motion to support grading based solely on learning and knowledge. LERN leaders active in The Boys’ Initiative, sponsored by the Gender Equity Network include left, educator Perry Harker of Carteret College; lower left, Joe Miera of the University of Nevada Las Vegas; and bottom right, LERN’s Senior Vice president Julie Coates.

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