USA Today has a balanced editorial today on the problem of boys lagging behind girls in college admissions and overall academic performance. The undeniable facts are that in every socio-economic class and among all races, boys as a group are not up to par with their female peers in academics--although the problem is particularly pronounced among minorities and the poor. But some feminists are trying to dismiss the problem as "manufactured" and are insisting on gender equity in studies intended to focus on problems unique to (or, at any rate, more pronounced with) boys.
The paper speculates that the root cause of this gender gap is that today’s economy places higher value on literacy skills. It skirts away from the question of whether the educational establishment in this post-feminist era is geared in a way that intentionally favors girls. That case has been made persuasively in other articles and studies cited on this blog. Polemically there is much in this line of argument that is appealing and could prove useful . . . but perhaps the USA Today approach is even more useful in this case. To sum up their argument with their own words:
Promising ideas for addressing those problems include giving teachers courses on how boys and girls learn differently, adapting teaching techniques and reading assignments to restless boys, and experimenting with same-sex classrooms. The KIPP charter schools have found innovative ways to erase the stigma that reading is for girls.
In other words, look at what is working where it is working and apply it. Forget about the debate over what is causing the problem (and dismiss those who say there isn’t one). Just get serious about saving our boys. Even feminists have sons and, I presume, love them and want to see them prosper. I’d be willing to bury my hatchet if they would.