No, it’s not what you think.
After decades of pushing and prodding young women to step out and compete with men, the pendulum has now swung the other way. An editorial in The Detroit News bemoans the dearth of young men in colleges these days. The editorial references a recent study that points to systemic failures in K-12 education which cause boys to check out of education altogether.
There are methods besides affirmative action — rejected by the voters — to make school, and ultimately college, more welcoming to boys. Among them: Fashioning school days around the needs of boys, including physical activities to balance desk-based learning. As school budgets shrink and global competition requires more demanding curriculums and learning from students, recesses have been less commonplace.
Teachers also need to rethink how they teach boys, whose language abilities develop more slowly than girls. Students who have strong language skills tend to do better in tests — and thus, boys are less likely to excel.
School districts and the state also need to examine the needs of young men to help them stay in high school. Male students struggle more with impulsive behavior and long-term thinking, experts say.
Thus, studying for a long-term payoff — a college degree some eight years away — is tougher for some boys than it is for girls. So schools should invest in short-term incentives to keep young men in school.
And the nation needs to rethink its emphasis on desk-based jobs in which some young men lack interest. High-tech trades and job creation are needed for the millions of men who lack an aptitude or passion for sedentary work.
The feminization of education may have inspired a generation of girls to reach for the stars, but at the cost of leaving behind a generation of boys. The system needs to return to a more balanced approach that recognizes — and builds upon — the innate differences between men and women.