Academic journal article Thymos

The Boy Crisis: Our Sons, Our Schools, Our Future

Academic journal article Thymos

The Boy Crisis: Our Sons, Our Schools, Our Future

Article excerpt

Is there a boy crisis , and if there is , what are its symptoms? And what are the dynamics underlying those symptoms?

We know that in the last quarter- century, there have been books of federal programs as thick as a Manhattan phone book on programs for girls only, on girl power, and female-only scholarships . The equivalent book of federal programs with boy -only scholarships and special programs for boys only, is, well, invisible.

As the only man ever elected to the board of directors for three years of the National Organization for Women in New York City, and probably the world's leading male feminist for a while, I am still very proud of what feminism has done to expand women's options. I don't ever want to return to the days when being born female limited women's options to becoming wives , teachers , and secretaries ; and did not provide women options for a wide array of sports . But something has happened in the last thirty years. Men are in 2009 where women were in 1959. Oursons are about a half century behind our daughters psychologically, and in the development of a world of multi -option girls and no-option boys.

In schools, the nexus was reached in the 1970's.In 1969, girls graduated from high school at a much smaller rate than boys did; but by 1978, just ten years after the women's movement started, girls were graduating at higher numbers. As most of us now know, 57% of people attending college are girls and 43% are boys. The graduates from college are a little bit more disproportionate than that. It's about 58% girls, 42% boys right now. The expectation is that in 20 1 6 it will be 60% girls and 40% boys . People are projecting that in 2025 , unless something is done, it will be 70% girls and 30% boys . Oftentimes this process when it is discussed is talked about as a problem for girls . A New York Times article framed it as women not having men to date, and educated women not having men to marry. Even when boys are handicapped, we tend to see only girls as victims.

So let's look at the symptoms of a boys' crisis. Boys make up two-thirds of the learning disabled and 90% of the behaviorally disabled. They number nearly 100% of the seriously disabled. Three out of four of the people diagnosed with ADHD are boys.

The number of boys who have said they didn't like school increased by 71% between 1980 and 2001 . Boys ages 5-12 are 60% more likely than girls to have repeated at least 1 grade.

The repetition of a grade is a crucial measure of a crisis because it doesn't only mean an academic crisis. It means a psychological crisis. It means a crisis of self- respect and family respect. It means a crisis of employment and has a lifetime impact on whoever drops out of a grade.

A hint at the solution comes from the next piece of data. In neighborhoods where fathers are most scarce, more than one-half of boys don't finish high school. When there is no father involved it goes to more than one-half who don't finish high school. Overall boys are 33% more likely to drop out of high school.

The percentage of male undergraduates dropped 24% between 1970 and 2000. Girls receive approximately 60% of the A's and boys receive approximately 70% of the D's and F's. Boys are 90% of the discipline problems in school as well as 80% of the drop-outs.

For every girl who commits suicide four boys do. At the ages of nine, boys and girls commit suicide at identical rates, very minimally. Between ten and fourteen, boys commit suicide twice as frequently as girls Between fifteen and nineteen it is four times as frequently, and between twenty and twenty-six, it is six times as frequently- which gives you a hint about the stress created by the traditional male role, especially today. This is why I'll be talking more about sexuality, and male and female differences that emerge during junior high and high school and their impact on boys versus girls.

Boys are more likely to be the victim of violence in school- by a 3 to 1 margin. …

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