"What schools can do to help boys succeed"
Being a boy can be a serious liability in today‚Äôs classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won‚Äôt sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. ‚ÄúGirl behavior is the gold standard in schools,‚ÄĚ says psychologist Michael Thompson. ‚ÄúBoys are treated like defective girls.‚ÄĚ
These ‚Äúdefective girls‚ÄĚ are not faring well academically. Compared with girls, boys earn lower grades, win fewer honors and are less likely to go to college. One education expert has quipped that, if current trends continue, the last male will graduate from college in 2068. In today‚Äôs knowledge-based economy, success in the classroom has never been more crucial to a young person‚Äôs life prospects. Women are adapting; men are not.
Some may say, ‚ÄúToo bad for the boys.‚ÄĚ The ability to regulate one‚Äôs impulses, sit still and pay attention are building blocks of success in school and in life. As one critic told me, the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged against lazy or unfocused workers. That is absurd: unproductive workers are adults ‚ÄĒ not 5- and 6-year-old children who depend on us to learn how to become adults. If boys are restive and unfocused, we must look for ways to help them do better.