Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do our young boys need help in school as well?

Okay over the last few days I've been reading about what is called a boy crisis in American schools. (This may be related to the recent creation of the White House Council on Women, I'll get to that in a later post.) What this crisis describes is the state of boys in our education system and how it may be letting them down.

You have people on one side saying that there is a crisis and citing how there are fewer boys with diplomas and degrees, how young boys are committing suicide more often, fewer boys attending college, and so on.

On the other you have people who insist that there is no boy crisis because the education system has been all about boys in the past, how the gender gaps aren't as big as the supporters claim, saying the supporters are just back lashing against the fact the girls are catching up and in some places passing boys, and saying that attention should be paid to boys and girls.

And of course you have each side crying sexism at the other.

I have to say that I'm still new to this and will try to come back with my own thoughts on the education situation with today's boys.

In the meantime if you have any info pertaining to it by all means please share.

7 comments:

frau sally benz said...

I am definitely on the camp that there's no boy crisis. Even though there are problems with the education system that fundamentally work against boys' gender norms and health issues (like ADD/ADHD), I think the balance does tip in their favor more often than not. That's why I think it's okay to focus on the issues that affect girls' education (teacher practices, girls' confidence, etc.) first, but we need to acknowledge that at some point it all needs to be balanced out.

I also want to stress that there is a bigger issue being avoided by this whole boy vs. girl crisis, and that's the fact that schools with large minority populations are the ones in even more crisis. This annoying battle is so trivial and ends up being a moot point if the needs of these schools are not being met. Boys AND girls are suffering in those schools b/c they don't have the resources they need to start with.

I realize you know all of this already and I'm sort of preaching to the choir, but it's just starting to annoy me that I keep seeing this everywhere and people don't point out right up-front that there is a bigger issue here. The first one, two, three times I saw the story I thought it would be good to spread the word, but now it's just becoming annoying.

Ok, sorry, that was a lot. I'm off my soapbox now!

Danny said...

Very well but from what I've seen the gap that girls lead boys in was and still is bigger than the gap that boys lead girls which (which is shrinking) and thats a big problem to me.

I'm glad that you do acknowledge that boys do need help (because there are quite a few feminists that say boys don't).

I have to admit that I don't see as much discourse on minority population when it comes to funding for education.

And don't be scared to bring your soapbox over.

BigFred said...

Danny, I'm really excited to see what you'll post on this later. I think I may do some posts about this also. I don't have an opinion at the moment as to whether there is a boy crisis, if you will. I can say there are problems for both.

frau sally benz:
I also want to stress that there is a bigger issue being avoided by this whole boy vs. girl crisis, and that's the fact that schools with large minority populations are the ones in even more crisis. This annoying battle is so trivial and ends up being a moot point if the needs of these schools are not being met. Boys AND girls are suffering in those schools b/c they don't have the resources they need to start with.


I completely agree with you there. I'd also like to stress, because I hear so little of it when education topics are brought up, the major differences between rural and urban education environments.

Pelle Billing said...

I think there is a growing boy crisis in the West. Christina Hoff-Sommers has already written about the US crisis (The War Against Boys). In the UK, the awareness of this crisis goes back a decade or more. In Sweden, people are just beginning to realize that almost 2/3 of the students in colleges and universities are girls, and in schools girls are doing better than boys in almost all subjects.

The proof is out there, and at this point the sceptics are the ones who have to demonstrate that there *isn't* a boy crisis.

Danny said...


The proof is out there, and at this point the sceptics are the ones who have to demonstrate that there *isn't* a boy crisis.


Not only that Pelle I would also like for those skeptics to explain how now that there are so many programs targeted at females only and boys are behind why do they continue to insist that the playing field is still slanted in favor of boys.

BigFred said...

So Danny, I've got my first post up on the "boy or girl crisis." It's more of introductory post, before getting into deeper territory.

Danny said...

Thanks fred. I've been a bit off balance this last week and have not even started to work on that topic yet. Take it and run.

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