Both boys and girls are disadvantaged by the current education system through stereotypes educators hold about gender. Cookie Monster may teach young boys, but throughout their education, girls earn higher grades than boys in all subjects and age groups, according to a 2013 study from The Journal of Human Resources. The study also concluded that teachers rewarded a more stereotypically “feminine” attitude toward school — such as sitting still or being more attentive — through higher grades. Despite these advantages, girls face difficulties of their own in the educational system. A study conducted by Allyson Jule, a Professor of Education at Trinity Western University, in 2004 found that boys talked nine times more than girls did in the classroom and were encouraged to do so by their teachers. Extrapolating outward from the classroom, this muting hindered girls’ chances of success in the business world. Ultimately, stereotyping gender in education hurts both boys and girls, albeit in very different ways.
In 1999, a high school senior named Adnan Syed was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. While many of his family and friends never believed that he committed the crime, the jury pronounced him guilty, and Syed spent the next 15 years of his life behind bars. In late 2014, Syed became the subject of international attention through the podcast “Serial.” Hosted by investigative journalist and “This American Life” producer Sarah Koenig, “Serial” examines every aspect of Syed’s case in an attempt to finally prove his innocence — or confirm his guilt.
AltSchool, a fledgling private education group, is taking steps toward the future by changing the definition of school itself. Instead of being one location where all students go to learn, AltSchool is connecting all of their locations across the Bay Area through an online platform which combines personalized learning with a “micro-school model.”