Toronto’s Globe and Mail has launched a six-part series on the educational gap between boys and girls. The statistics are shocking:
They earn lower grades overall in elementary school and high school. They trail in reading and writing, and 30 per cent of them land in the bottom quarter of standardized tests, compared with 19 per cent of girls. Boys are also more likely to be picked out for behavioural problems, more likely to repeat a grade and to drop out of school altogether.
Those numbers are scary, but what do they mean? Experts are polarized. Some think boys are being left behind as educators rush to help girls succeed. Others believe girls have always gotten better grades; it’s only our attention that has shifted.
Feminist scholars point out that while girls are outstripping boys in school, they’re still growing up in a world where they can expect to earn less money, hold less political power and have less freedom than their male counterparts. What are those straight A’s really good for if the boy you trounced in the junior high spelling bee sails past you to the executive corner office twenty years later?
On the other hand, only 40 percent of college freshmen are men. A generation of substantially more educated women will surely tip that balance of power in interesting ways.
Are you concerned about your son’s future? Is he being well-served in school, or left behind the girls in his classes?