Why Is This Happening?
For decades, establishing gender equity in schools meant helping female students achieve at the same level as their male counterparts. However, recent research indicates that the tables have turned, and more boys are now struggling academically.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), otherwise known as the Nation’s Report Card, reports that girls in elementary and secondary schools across the US consistently outperform boys in reading and writing. In particular, girls outscore boys with an average of 24 points higher on writing assessments. At the same time, the perception that boys significantly outperform girls in mathematics and science has been shaken. Recent NAEP findings show that while boys are still in the lead, the gap between male and female achievement in math and science has been steadily shrinking.
When you look at the big picture, the statistics are cause for even more concern. Seventy percent of special education students nationwide are male. High school graduation rates indicate that 72 percent of girls graduate compared to 65 percent of their male counterparts. This trend continues into college, where males make up less than half of undergraduate students, and for every 100 men earning BA degrees, 133 women do.
These statistics leave parents wondering why one gender is flourishing and the other is struggling. Dr. William Pollack, PhD and author of Real Boys, believes many of our nation’s schools are failing to meet the needs of male students by not giving enough attention to the problems boys are having with certain academic subjects such as reading and writing. He also suggests schools are not necessarily offering curricula or teaching methods that meet boys’ needs and specific interests.