Schools aren’t well suited to boys, says Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail, in Gender Gap, an Education Next interview. Gender roles still limit girls, especially in math and science, responds Susan McGee Bailey of the Wellesley Centers for Women, principal author of the 1992 AAUW report How Schools Shortchange Girls.
Dropout and graduation rates, grades, and many test scores show boys are lagging, says Whitmire.
(Males) go to college at lower rates and then graduate at lower rates. . . . As of fall 2007 (in Minnesota), degrees earned by gender were bachelor’s: 58 percent female; master’s: 69 percent female; PhD: 53 percent female. Nationally, 58 percent of those earning bachelor’s degrees and 62 percent of those earning associate’s degrees are female.
Both Whitmire and Bailey agree that male and female students do best in schools that provide extra help immediately when students slip behind, instead of assuming that they’ll catch up later.
The research is clear, Bailey says.
Schools that set high standards for all, involve parents, provide firm discipline and an orderly, encouraging environment, and where teachers are respected and engaged are more successful. Such schools do not as easily fall into the black hole of differential expectations for girls and boys, or one racial or ethnic group over another.
Women earn less than men at every educational level, Baily points out.