College & Workforce Readiness

Do Men Deserve A Break in College Admissions?

By Catherine Gewertz — December 03, 2009 1 min read

I know it’s not news to you that girls have been edging out boys on a number of educational indicators. They outscore boys in reading and writing on the NAEP and on international tests. They graduate from high school more often. And more girls than boys enroll in and graduate from college.

Like most issues that generate a lot of media attention, this “boys’ crisis” isn’t without its dissenters. But it’s still a worrisome topic, and not one that seems to be hovering on the brink of a solution.

Now former USA Today editorial writer Richard Whitmire, who’s got a book coming out on this stuff, wades into the thorny area of what colleges should do about the gender imbalance. Do they have the right to extend a preference to men, in the interest of preserving gender diversity?

It’s an interesting question. But the higher-ed people in Whitmire’s column talk about a college’s right to assemble the freshman class it sees fit, and wonder “where the boys are,” noting that the applicant pool tilts toward women. But no one mentions the problem of boys’ achievement lagging behind that of girls (gee, wouldn’t that affect their prospects of getting into college? their inclination to attend college? or both?).

Colleges that value gender diversity on their campuses have a vested interest in teaming up with K-12 to help address the imbalances that are taking root long before boys have to choose what college colors to wear.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.