Boys are behind girls in almost every subject, especially reading and writing. Yet boy-friendly programs (e.g., recess and vocational education) are being curtailed. The schools and curriculum are currently set up to advantage girls. Boys are more likely to be medicated for ADHD than girls. More boys are suspended, expelled and dropping out of school.
"Because of soft science “proof” that males and females are the same, education has moved toward less physical movement, less competitive learning, less spatial-kinesthetic learning, less natural learning, less apprenticeship of males to tasks, hyper-reliance on “use your words,” misdiagnosis of male non-verbal behavior, and professional illiteracy about the profound (though often wordless) ways that males process emotion and cognition." -- Michael Gurian, Saving Our Sons
Statistics, Research and Facts
- Boys, on average, are a year to a year and a half behind girls in reading and writing, according to the U.S. Department of Education. (Gurian and Stevens 2005)
- In higher education, males have gone from 61% of graduates to a projected 39% by 2020 according to the U.S. Department of Education (2009)
What Can Parents Do?
- Ensure that your son's school's teachers are educated on the specific learning differences between boys and girls
- Advocate for more male teachers, recess, and experiential activities
- Prioritize play-based preschool and kindergarten whenever possible (do not push academics on boys too early)
- Educate yourself about the value of dads being in their kids' lives
- Advocate for more vocational programs
- Watch for where you might parent along stereotypical lines:
- Expand your son's idea of what types of careers they might want to pursue - focus on things aligned with their temperament and interest and including caring fields, being a more involved dad and other less traditionally male roles.
- Some reports have shown that parents expect less from their boys - around the house, behaviorally and academically. Watch for this.
- When your boys are falling behind, try to understand the underlying issues - emotions, needs, challenges, learning differences - and support them.
- Refrain from devices under 5 years old and delay giving a smart phone for as long as possible
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