Why are Boys Failing and Who’s To Blame?

Why Are Boys Failing in School?

Thank you to Dad Friend, Adverlicio.us, for sending me this article.  He’s Canadian so he’s follows the news both there and here.  In this case, the story is the same (as it is worldwide); the puzzling yet largely ignored phenomenon of failing boys and the politics over past decades of boys versus girls in terms of  success both inside the classroom and in the boardroom.  It’s a pendulum that seems to swing towards one side or the other, never managing to get both sides to “succeed.”  Who is to blame?  It is parenting?  Is it the images in textbooks?  Are expectations of boys lower in our society? I think we’ll need all six parts to get a handle on this!

The full article is here and this is part 1 of a 5 part series.  Key paragraphs are below.


Failing boys and the powder keg of sexual politics


From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

Compelling statistics show boys rank behind girls by nearly every measure of scholastic achievement, yet the phenomenon is as polarizing as it is puzzling. Part 1 of a six-part series.

  • It’s a controversial shift – fuelling a complex battle of the sexes – but these days boys are the ones making news, for falling behind and flunking out, from the U.S. to China, from the U.K. to the Philippines, from New Zealand to Canada.
  • Theories abound to explain the new gender gap in education – slower brain development, video games that zap away study time, peer pressure, a lack of male role models at school and at home, and sons parented differently than daughters.
  • Here, a hill of data suggests that boys, as a group, rank behind girls by nearly every measure of scholastic achievement. They earn lower grades overall in elementary school and high school. They trail in reading and writing, and 30 per cent of them land in the bottom quarter of standardized tests, compared with 19 per cent of girls. Boys are also more likely to be picked out for behavioural problems, more likely to repeat a grade and to drop out of school altogether.
  • While men and women are enrolling in university in record numbers, the proportion of women attending is significantly higher. Men make up just 40 per cent of university undergraduates, and they’re much less likely than women to graduate from the college or degree program they start.
  • Yet the phenomenon can be as puzzling as it is polarizing. Some see it as proof of society’s forgotten boys – that while diligent efforts went into helping girls learn, boys were disregarded, left to find their own way in a feminized education system.
  • … despite the giant strides women have made in higher education – outpacing men with their degrees and grade point averages – boys grow up to be men and, as The Globe documented in its series on Women in Power last week, it is still a man’s world. Men run the vast majority of countries and companies, and even when women have the same level of education, men still bring home more bacon.
  • Compelling insight comes from Statistics Canada’s ambitious Youth In Transition Survey, which in 2000 began tracking 30,000 15-year-olds at 1,000 schools and 23,000 youths between the ages of 18 and 20. It finds that while overall marks, reading ability and study habits are the top three predictors of which teenager will go to university, parental expectations rank fourth.
  • Nearly 70 per cent of parents said they expected their 15-year-old daughters would complete a university degree. Yet only 60 per cent had the same expectation of their 15-year-old sons.

p.s.  Part 2:  Is the lack of male teachers as role models to blame?

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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