College gender gap has far-reaching consequences

As colleges nationwide review freshman applications over the next several weeks, many will face lopsided numbers of male and female candidates. Some colleges maintain a gender balance, but national data in recent years show a 57%-43% split favoring women, both in enrollments and graduation rates. Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail and a former USA TODAY editorial writer, talks to reporter Mary Beth Marklein about how we got there, why we should care, and what should be done about it.

Q: Why do boys fail, and how do we turn that around?

A: The reforms launched by the nation’s governors more than 20 years ago to get more students college-ready had an unintended consequence: Most girls adjusted nicely to the intensified verbal skills demanded in the early grades; most boys didn’t. We have to figure out a way to keep boys on track with reading and writing skills. Boys are failing because the world has gotten more verbal and they haven’t.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Men, Women, Young Adults

8 comments on “College gender gap has far-reaching consequences

  1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    Attempting to communicate in blocks of 140 characters or less is “more verbal”? That aside, the author totally misses a key element of [i]why[/i] boys lag in reading and written expression — the feminized drivel they’re often forced to read and write about.

    When a boy is required to read some story about a girl and her single-mother’s struggle with poverty, and then write three pages on how each of the characters [i]feels[/i] and his own feelings about the characters’ situation and struggle … you’ve lost him.

    When the teacher ascribes his disinterest to “bad attitude,” she has lost him even more. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. For about eight years.

    Then you have numerous colleges which like Middlebury (my [i]alma mater[/i] praise and promote a feminist dialectic. In Middlebury’s case they have held out Eve Ensler (1982) and her ‘Vagina Monologues’ as exemplifying all the good things the college represents.

    Mind you, Camille Paglia — a leftist, lesbian, literature professor — described VM as a “ravingly anti-male” work. She was not complimenting it. Many guys understand either in their minds or in their guts that a “ravingly anti-female” work, discussing the necessity of developping a “[penis] mind,” would not be greeted with the same enthusiasm.

    They correctly see the college environment as far too frequently being a continuation of the same nonsense they had to deal with from about Third Grade onwards.

    It’s not so much that they’re “struggling.” They’re not interested.

  2. teatime says:

    Interesting. When I was teaching high school English, my best writers were always boys. They had a lot of emotions inside of them and, when given an appropriate vehicle, they LOVED driving it. Girls would write what they thought people wanted to read or expected them to write. But the boys would wade into the deep, murky waters of emotions and didn’t care if they got dirty.

    The important thing is to find VALUE in what they write — even the early attempts. Once they knew that their thoughts were valued — and, yes, that the girls were surprised and interested — they ran with it. Some of their writings brought tears to my eyes — their inner life is so very interesting and poignant.

    Picking up a bit from what Bart Hall said, I’m afraid that society and academia have diminished the value of males and their experiences. Many university English departments sure have. That’s a huge shame, and it needs to change. And while the article rightly distinguishes between the gaps of white males and minority males, it seems to me that white males have PARTICULARLY lost their voice — or had it forcibly removed — simply for the misplaced guilt thrust upon them by their combination of race and gender. I think it’s only going to get worse. The only white male voices that are increasingly valued by society are those of homosexuals.

  3. Branford says:

    Boys can be very verbal – they just don’t “chatter.”

  4. Sidney says:

    #3 Agreed!

    I have to sit in a 2 hour committee meeting every week dominated by women who love to chatter. Men don’t like talk without action.

    The article also states that the world has gotten more verbal. That’s such nonsense. The Lincoln-Douglas debates went on for hours. Those people could talk.

  5. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Once again we can see the results of active discriminatation against boys/men that is officially pushed by govenment. Where I work, there are Women’s Mentoring programs, Latino Mentoring programs, etc. Do you think there are any for Caucasian males? If anyone seriously proposed such, they would be instantly labeled as a misoginist or a bigot…or even worse, a “white supremacist”, when in actuality they would only be asking for the same things that others have. In other words, they would simply be hoping that they would be judged by the content of their character and not the color or their skin or their genitalia.

    Funny thing, those pushing the loudest for “equality” and a “level playing field” never seem to see that affirmative action is racist and sexist discrimination against Caucasian males. Caucasian males seem to be the only folks that it is intrinsically “impossible to discriminate against”. The logical inconsistancies of that sort of thinking just leave me agog.

  6. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Typo: “misogynist” The post was at 2:46 AM.

  7. Clueless says:

    “Do you think there are any for Caucasian males”

    Well, Uh yes. That would be the college admissions process. As noted, it doesn’t take much to get in, either at the college or graduate level if you are a guy.

    But I agree with the feminist drivel driving men and boys away. (Actually many of us women don’t care for the bs either).

  8. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    I said:

    [b]”Where I work, there are Women’s Mentoring programs, Latino Mentoring programs, etc. Do you think there are any for Caucasian males?”[/b]

    You said:

    [b]”Well, Uh yes. That would be the college admissions process.”[/b]

    Would you care to elaborate? Your current response appears to be a non sequitur. How exactly is the college admissions process akin to a professional mentoring program?

    I appreciate that we agree about “the feminist drivel driving men and boys away”, but I don’t really understand your rebuttal.