January 18, 2006
What explains the chasm in achievement between boys and girls - and the decline in the percentage of males on college campuses - and why isn't anyone paying attention? Richard Whitmire, who by day writes perceptive editorials for USA Today, explores the issue in this New Republic article. Whitmire identifies poor reading skills as the major culprit. He points to genetic differences that give girls a verbal edge, and to societal factors that discourage boys from picking up books, as effectively fueling males' education decline and leading many young men to avoid college. According to Whitmire, rather than obsessing about the gap or trying one of myriad fads, educators should implement high-expectations instruction that eschews excuses and focuses on getting all kids reading. In this way, some schools have already been able to eliminate the gender gaps in their classrooms. (Some schools weren't even aware they existed!). That's good news for males, and for females, too - especially "any sorority sister seeking a date to the next formal."
"Boy trouble," by Richard Whitmire, New Republic, January 23, 2006 (free registration required)