Boys Aren’t Faring Well In Education, Here’s Why

By Erika Hanson | Published

boy students

It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when school served only boy students. Centuries ago, public schools were generally a place for boys to go and receive a well-rounded education, while girls remained at home. This notion has lasted quite a long time, and even up to just a few decades ago, schools and higher ed generally saw more acceleration among males. But in today’s world, the tables have turned, and boys predominantly are the struggling sex, as experts study why this now is occurring. 

Overall, boys are less likely to enjoy attending school, have worse grades, graduate from high school much less, and opt out of college more frequently when compared to girls. The discussion regarding the increased failures of boy students in school has been casually discussed for a while. However, that conversation led to as many serious conversations and calls to action as some experts feel it should be.

Whatever the reason for this, there are some factors that may depict how, and why this has happened. Dr. Leonard Sax, a psychologist, explored some possible reasons and discussed them in his book, Boys Adrift. For one thing, he found that boy students are less likely to stay seated at their desks in a tranquil manner, especially at young ages. Because of this, Sax feels that the system fails to cater to these students’ needs. More so, these young students may thrive better in a learning environment that encourages them to move around and be active, especially with more outdoor time. 

Another major reason boy students may be faring less prosperous than girls in school is because of the push for more teamwork over competition. Sax argues that boys are innately more viable to working alone, and in an ambitious manner. Over the years, schools have urged educators to implement teamwork by making children band together for group projects, discussions, and more. Because of this, in general, some feel it may be having a negative effect on male students. 

Similarly, the overall toxic notion of boys and their behavior may have led to all of this. Many school activities that boys generally use to enjoy, such as dodgeball, are now banned in schools, out of fear that “boy play” will hurt other students. And with violence on the rise, oftentimes, even the notion of simple play such as cops and robbers has been vehemently banned and rejected by society, which may be negatively affecting boy students’ beliefs on how education can serve them.

Overall, people like Sax feel that this has taken away young males’ ability to convey “healthy masculinity.” On top of that, the shift in popular male role models may be playing into this role. Many young boy students grow up without a healthy male role model in their life. But even so, many schools are now trying to address this concern, with initiatives like Dads on Duty and Fathers Read

boy students

While these findings shed light on the growing statistical evidence showing how boy students are falling behind in schools from their female counterparts, it remains subjective and uneasy to pinpoint. More than likely, these issues may be affecting and worsening the situation in general. What’s more, it might just be a shift in trends, with no clear answer to adjust the disparity.