Are Boys Failing in School?
In the last generation, our mothers burned their bras (euphemistically at least) and worried about girls breaking through the barrier created by low expectations. But now it seems the pendulum is swinging and it is the boys that are in trouble.
I have two boys and I want to know: What does this trouble look like? The Globe and Mail newspaper spent the week looking at the issue in the Failing Boys series. It seems that boys are falling behind academically, dropping out and plugging into video games; being diagnosed with ADHD at alarming rates and have fewer mentors, and lower expectations than girls.
Any discussion of gender politics is a potential powder keg of biases, foregone conclusions and fears. In fact, as I read this series I am not sure where I stand. I do believe that the education system is not geared towards boys -- but that is because the kids who succeed are the pleasers who sit and listen and do what they are told, whether that is girls or boys. A system that took into account individual needs would be better for both boys and girls. Girls are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD because it presents itself differently in girls -- it is more inattentive than hyperactive (I have some, what was I talking about? oh yeah, experience with this subject).
According to the studies, boys are failing academically and are now in the minority in medical school. But when I look around it is the images of women in the media that still scare me, we still have very few women in power either economically or politically and the rights of women are being eroded, not advanced in many parts of the world.
That said, I feel the Globe has a point about boys. Great, now I can be worried about my girl and my boys for different things: my sons' academic life is in jeopardy and my daughter's emotional and sexual life will be in the future. In the meantime, I am reading the Globe series; I check in with Barry MacDonald at Mentoringboys.com (love the tag line: to become courageous, caring and ethical men) and I have a library of books about parenting boys. Is it enough? I hope so.
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