Title IX for boys

Stereotyped as troublemakers, boys do worse in school than girls and are less likely to go on to college, writes Glenn Harland Reynolds in Title IX for our boys in USA Today.

Girls are quieter, more orderly, and have better handwriting. The boys get disciplined more, suspended more and are turned off of education earlier.

Female teachers also give boys lower grades, according to research in Britain. . . . More and more, it’s looking like schools are a hostile environment for boys.

Hiring more male elementary teachers would help, writes William Gormley, a professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. “Boys perform better when they have a male teacher, and girls perform better when they have a female teacher,” according to Stanford Professor Thomas Dee.

Yet our K-12 teachers are overwhelmingly female — only 2% of pre-K and kindergarten teachers are male and only 18% of elementary and middle-school teachers are.

. . . If schoolteachers were overwhelmingly male and girls were suffering as a result, there would be a national outcry and Title IX-style gender equity legislation would be touted. Why should we do less when boys are the ones suffering?

Many boys — and girls — are growing up without a father in the home.


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  1. Not really a new story, since Christina Hoff Summers book “The War Against Boys” came out. The stats are true in the posting, but assuming a boy manages to graduate from high school, they are at least 1 to 1.5 grade levels behind in math, and close to two grade levels behind in reading.

    Schools today just aren’t designed for males, or should I say, they’re not designed around the way males conduct themselves today, compared to say 30 or 40 years ago, when discipline could still be enforced in schools (i.e. – corporal punishment).

    • lightly seasoned says:

      Why does the job not attract men?

      • Elementary school teacher? It doesn’t traditionally pay enough to support a family, it’s traditionally a ‘nurturing and womanly’ job, and for at least 20 years people have been looking askance at male elem. teachers, thinking of them as probable pedophiles.

        There is a great guy K teacher at our neighborhood school. Parents beg to have their boys (and girls, but boys especially) put in his class.

        • Mark Roulo says:

          But what has *changed* (if things have …)? Were K-8 teachers 18% male 30 years ago? Or higher? Or lower?
          The “probably pedophile” is new in the last 30 years, but I wonder if that explains this (if anything needs explaining … if 18% of K-8 teachers were male 30 years ago then we don’t have anything to explain about a change in the mix).

          • I would be interested to see the stats on that. My guess is that elem. school teachers have been overwhelmingly female for a very long time, but our cultural expectations of children have been changing. I have no data to back that up though, so I would like to see whatever data there is.

          • GoogleMaster says:

            I have my elementary and junior high yearbooks from 1972-1978 (but not where I can get to them right now). I don’t remember encountering all that many male teachers, even back then, but what we did have back then in both elementary and junior high was male principals. Elementary had a female AP, but junior high had at least one male AP.

            Also, nowadays it seems it takes a whole team of APs, whereas back then there was one principal and one or two assistant principals for the whole school.

          • GoogleMaster says:

            Just checked my old yearbooks.

            In elementary, we had 1 male principal, 1 female AP, between 31 and 33 female teachers, and 1 male teacher (3%), except for my last year when we had 2 male teachers.

            In junior high, we had 1 male principal, 2 male APs, 41-45 female teachers, and 15 male teachers (25-27%).

  2. I started school in the early-mid 50s and had two male ES teachers; one taught 6th grade for one year before moving to HS and the other taught 7th and 8th grade math and science. We had one male HS teacher, who was also the principal for the whole 1-12 school. Of course, many kids went to Catholic schools, where all of the teachers were nuns, at that time. Many of their high schools were sex-segregated and had nuns in girls’ schools and brothers in boys’ schools.

    Since I have two close-age pairs of kids, with 7 years between the pairs, I noticed quite a change in the age of teachers when my younger kids started. Many of the older teachers had retired and were replaced by decades-younger teachers, who didn’t seem to like or understand boys (and non-girly girls) anywhere near as well. Normal boy behavior was increasingly defined as unacceptable and often pathological; they seemed to see boys as defective girls. Boy behavior and interest were not helped by the removal of boy books and replacement by chick lit and more artsy-crafty, touchy-feely stuff – which my daughter also hated.

    I wonder if it has something to do with the increasingly sex-segregated and adult-supervised play and activities, when the young teachers were kids. My older kids’ teachers had grown up in the 50s and early-60s, as I did, and I certainly played with all of the kids in the neighborhood; both boys and girls and in a fairly wide age range – with no adult supervision beyond toddlerhood. Families are also smaller and more people don’t have extended families nearby; maybe that has an effect.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    I coached youth soccer going on twenty-five years ago. I was careful then. Today, I wouldn’t get within ten feet of a kid unless I had a cop, a notary, the kid’s parents and fourteen archangels–or however many there are–watching and prepared to be sworn in court.