The War Against Boys still rages, writes Christina Hoff Sommers in the revised edition of her 2000 book.
The boys are losing, writes Nathan Glazer in an Education Next review. Schools continue to ignore boys’ “distinctive characteristics” and “the gap in school achievement between boys and girls” is “even more substantial and troubling.”
Sommers describes trends in education that hurt boys, including “the
decline of recess, punitive zero-tolerance policies, myths about juvenile ‘superpredators,’ and a misguided campaign against single-sex schooling.”
“As our schools become more feelings centered, risk averse, competition-free, and sedentary, they move further and further from the characteristic sensibilities of boys,” she writes.
“The movement to give special attention to girls and their needs was part of the grand drive to equality that has dominated American life and politics for decades,” writes Glazer, a Harvard professor emeritus in education and sociology. “But the drive for equality for the sexes was accompanied by a litigious and bureaucratic fervor that often went beyond common sense.”
Career tech programs that have engaged boys are under pressure to enroll more girls, Sommers writes. Few girls sign up for welding or pipefitting. Few boys want to be cosmetologists or child-care workers.
The Obama administration hopes to use the $1.1 billion Perkins Act to push more girls into “nontraditional” vocational and technical training, notes Glazer.
Sommers points out that in 2010 women made up 64 percent of graduate students in social science, 75 percent in public administration, 78 percent in veterinary medicine, and 80 percent in health sciences. Will that attract the attention of politicians and of bureaucrats enforcing Title IX?
Thirty-two percent of 27-year-old women have earned a four-year degree, compared to only 24 percent of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.