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Volume 4 Number 8
New teacher induction . . . what does that have to do with me, a veteran educator?
It Takes a Community
to Induct a Teacher
August Columns
August Articles
August Regular Features
August Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

Letters to the Editor...
unnoticed, important information in the Arkansas Benchmark

The "Arkansas Benchmark Exams" contain an
important finding which has gone unnoticed.
When math and literacy data are plotted,
using 4th-grade and 8th-grade data,
essentially every line declines for every
district. This may be evidence the problem
is in our children, not a result of
disparate teaching methods and finances.
(Schools have never been able to produce
this kind of duplication, even under court
order.) The scores are higher before
puberty, fall during puberty, and continue
to fall following puberty. I suggest this
is part of the "secular trend," the
increase in size and earlier puberty in our

In the early 90s, I produced an
explanation for this decline: "Simple
Explanation for Out-of-Hand Kids,"
Northwest Arkansas Times, "Opinion," April
15, 1993. I suggest increasing testosterone
participates in human evolution (Rivista di
Biologia / Biology Forum 2001; 94: 345-
362). Periodically, testosterone increases
too much; this may be one of those times.
People of higher testosterone are
increasing. People of higher testosterone
are more aggressive and sexual; they make
babies faster. Given time, they will
increase in percentage within a population.
This increase in the percentage of
individuals of higher testosterone is, I
suggest, the cause of the secular trend.
(Some say the "trend" is due to increased
nutrition; increased calories simply
accelerate reproduction.) As the percentage
of individuals of higher testosterone
increases, their characteristics increase.
I suggest this is why we are seeing yearly
declines in education.

It is known that testosterone is
significantly connected to learning
disabilities: "Salivary testosterone levels
in 264 children without learning
disabilities (133 males, 131 females) were
measured and compared to that in 32
children with learning disabilities (25
males, 7 females). The presence of learning
disabilities was significantly associated
with higher salivary testosterone."
(Physiology & Behavior 1993; 53: 583-6).
Another study, with the caveat that the
subjects were 47,XXY males, found a
relationship quite similar to the findings
of the literacy section of the Arkansas
Benchmark Exams: "The findings indicated
that verbal IQs measured prior to puberty,
during puberty and at mid-adolescence were
strongly related to relatively early
pubertal onset and testosterone levels."
(Clinical Genetics 1992; 42: 31-4).

I suggest a continuum exists with very high
levels of testosterone causing "learning
disabilities" and lesser amounts adversely
affecting the ability to learn. [At some
point, testosterone levels are actually
beneficial to learning; this may be why
women are doing better in mathematics and
sciences at colleges and universities.]
This will affect individuals, groups, and
genders differently. Blacks and males
produce more testosterone than other groups
and educational achievement directly
parallels these levels. Before we use our
scarce money to make children from small
towns leave their homes to go to large
towns, lets make sure we are right. I do
not think negligent teachers, lack of
money, or "the boys are doing poorly at
school because we want them to do well in
sports" are the real reasons for the
ongoing decline in education in Arkansas
and the U.S.A. Environmental "fixes" are
not going to solve this problem or make all
children equal.

James Michael Howard

1037 North Woolsey Avenue

Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-2046

James Michael Howard,,

This month's letters:

  • School Linking, 8/29/03, by Tia Hind.
  • testing reading performance, 8/25/03, by Byron Harrison.
  • Question, 8/20/03, by ivan cheng.
  • insurance and hospitalization , 8/14/03, by Lewis Blalock.
  • Accreditation, 8/12/03, by Gordon Fulwood.
  • ATD American Co., 8/08/03, by Jerry Zaslow.
  • restricted postings, 8/05/03, by Terri.
  • unnoticed, important information in the Arkansas Benchmark , 8/05/03, by James Michael Howard.


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