There are still multiple theories out there, most of which contain some truth. But the multiple theories serve as a barrier to action -- it just all seems so hopeless, especially if the causes are seen to be cultural.
Some of the clear causes, however, are “actionable,” such as the literacy issue, which I see as the biggest trigger. If educators could concentrate on just that one major thread we might see a turnaround of this gender slide. In the New York Post, Maggie Gallagher focuses on literacy.
What worries me are the signals that top educators may be settling on a ‘solution’ that won’t prove to be a solution. Arne Duncan, for example, praises programs that steer more black men into teaching. Those are worthwhile programs, but embracing those efforts as a broad solution would be a mistake. First, this is a problem that affects more than minority males. Second, the gender of the teacher matters less than what’s being taught, and how that material is taught.
The opinions expressed in Why Boys Fail are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.