Educator Claims 'Damning Evidence' Against Games, Offers Little

An evenhanded study last month about kids and schoolwork found "nothing evil about video games," but not a Kansas educator, who bootstraps those findings to his claim that games are responsible for the widening achievement gap between boys and girls.

John Richard Schrock, writing for The Wichita Eagle speaks of seeing "mostly women's faces" when he lectures at Chinese universities ("except in the forestry schools,") and that colleagues in Europe anecdotally describe the same thing. From there, he makes this leap: "Whatever is depressing boys' school performance is cutting across cultural and political boundaries and widely disparate educational systems."

He then goes back 15 years ago, when boys and girls' academic performance started to diverge. "This decline in boys' scores coincides with the emergence of video games," Schrock states flatly.

"[E]ducators and computer enthusiasts are in denial, trying to find fault with [last month's] study or somehow deflect the damning evidence," Schrock writes. "There are now more women in the American work force than men, in part because of layoffs. But the academic decline in boys began 15 years before the recession. If we are going to stop this educational slide of males, we are going to have to take the electronic toys out of the hands of our young boys."

I'm not too exercised about this because, in the end, this is a local piece, and the guy is stating - in a little more heated way - what the Denison University researcher said in the first place, that kids time in front of consoles should be controlled. We hear a lot of that in our comments and, really, who would disagree with that?

But it's connecting a lot of dots to say college classrooms from China to Europe are full of girls because of a global attention-deficit pandemic caused by video games. The workforce has changed. Opportunities for women have increased. Competition for desirable jobs and for enrollment in leading universities is more keen, generation to generation. These could be factors in any perceived or real achievement gap between the genders, too.

Oh, I'm not backing up any of this with data, trends or studies. But neither did Schrock.

Are Video Games Causing Achievement Gap? [Wichita Eagle via Game Politics]