Last week Harvard President Lawrence Summers attempted to provoke thinking and discussion over why women are underrepresented in some sciences and technology by posing a number of ideas, including "the possibility that such differences may stem from biological differences between the sexes."
This is quote from the New York Times, not Summers, since there appears not to be an exact transcript of his comments. Women walked out. Women protested. Harvard lost millions of dollars in donations every day following the talk. NOW called on Summers to resign. US Senators asked him to apologize.
Apologize he did. Dollars and image trump the search for truth any day of the week.
Summers is right of course. There are learning differences between males and females. Boys and Girls Learn Differently by Michael Gurian is currently the best and most popular reference on this.
The outcry and denial of neurological differences is a huge setback for education, at least in America. Exception: the blogs, thank goodness. See, for example, Robert Paterson's Blog for another approach to the current educational crisis, the newly created (by Dan Pink) "well curve."
Lekshe, in an email to us, correctly notes "It's easy to write a story about Summer's gaff. But people gaff all the time. I am more interested in the idea that male and female brains might be different, and what comes out of that."
The reason more boys are into technology, for example, has EVERYTHING to do with neurology. Judith Kleinfeld most notably has explained that the bell curve for boys and girls is different.
The row has sent us 21st century educators into hiding. We were about to release our research on why boys get worse grades than girls. Having second thoughts this week.....