Carpe Diem

Department of Education’s biased reporting on gender equity

As a follow-up to my earlier post, my AEI colleague Christina Sommers points to these very interesting data on “AP Program Participation and Performance Data 2012.”  In its June 2012 report on “gender equity in education,” the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education has a short section on “AP Enrollment by Gender,” where they report these data points (emphasis added):

1. Girls outnumber boys in enrollment in AP science, AP foreign languages, and several other AP subjects.

2.  In AP mathematics (calculus and statistics), however, boys have consistently outnumbered girls by up to 10,000 students.

Here are some AP facts that the Office of Civil Rights conveniently fails to report, probably because it doesn’t fit the narrative of female under-representation/inequality/discrimination, which exist now only in a narrow, and decreasing set of subject areas:

1. Almost 267,000 high school students took “Calculus AB” classes in 2012, so the fact that boys (138,588) outnumbered girls (128,406) by 10,182 is pretty inconsequential.  A more honest and accurate representation of the data would be to report that more than 48% of the students taking “Calculus AB” Advanced Placement classes in 2012 were female.

2. For all AP classes in 2012, girls (1,172,624) outnumbered boys (927,324) by 245,300 students, and represented 56% of the high school students taking AP classes.

3. For AP classes by subject in 2012, girls outnumbered boys in 22 out of the 34 AP subject areas.

4. In certain subject areas, girls outnumbered boys in significant numbers: by 206,000 for AP English classes, 56,000 for AP history classes, 32,000 for AP biology classes (a STEM field), 11,300 for AP environmental science classes (another STEM field), 58,000 for AP psychology.

Bottom Line: As I pointed out on the previous post, the OCR’s concern for gender disparities in AP classes seems very limited to STEM areas like math, but they report data in a distorted way (“boys have consistently outnumbered girls taking math AP classes”) that isn’t even totally accurate. And the OCR conveniently fails to report all of the AP subjects where girls outnumber boys by numbers far greater than 10,000, and they fail to report that girls outnumber boys by almost 250,000 in total for all students taking AP classes. And they fail to report the fact that girls outnumber boys even in AP fields like biology, which is a STEM field! In other words, the “statistical disparities prove discrimination” dogma is applied very selectively and inaccurately, and only applies when a statistical disparity favors boys or men.

5 thoughts on “Department of Education’s biased reporting on gender equity

  1. Hey—you create a bureaucracy to fight discrimination against women, it’s going to CONTINUE to fight discrimination against women no matter how much things might have improved. If we ever get to the point where women are actually favored in the workplace, and gain the upper hand in appointments to senior executive positions (not so far-fetched, given the current disparity already in college and especially graduate and professional school enrollments), this agency will still be faithfully discharging its mission: to complain. There are more entries for men than for women in the Dictionary of Historical Biography. They can complain until the number of entries are at least equal, which given the dominance of men historically, should give them something to complain about for a long time to come. There will probably still be a majority of males in the NFL in 100 years. They can complain about that. This is the problem when there are no sunset provisions for bureaucracies. Have you ever heard of a bureaucracy applying to be dissolved because it has accomplished its mission?

    • Yes. Thomas Sowell became disillusioned with the Civil Rights movement because it went too far. The Office of Civil Rights is, at this point, more accurately called the Office of Arbitrary Cosmic Justice.

  2. The male IQ distribution curve is different than the female curve: at the very high and low ends there are twice as many males as females. (see http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/sexdifferences.aspx)

    This mere psychometric fact explains more of social history and everyday reality than all college “social science” departments and governmental agencies put together ever could.

    But I sense the social engineers know this all too well: policy is purposefully geared toward augmenting social strife and antagonism between the sexes and racial groups. By being forced to negate what we all know to be true, from experience and common sense, cognitive dissonance swells within us to unsustainable levels — and we thus become lobotomized zombies, ready to be manipulated and herded toward whatever destiny has been decided for us.

  3. Class rankings are heavily influenced by AP classes so a good stat to look at is how many girls are in top 10% of class vs boys. I suspect we would see a significantly larger number of girls vs boys in the Top 5%, 10% and 20%.

    Plus isn’t there a recent stat showing girls graduating in higher numbers consistently for many years?

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