Phi Beta Cons

Stagnation for Men

CNN reports that federal statistics released last week reveal that the gender gap is widening — with women in the lead. “Women now earn the majority of diplomas in fields men used to dominate — from biology to business — and have caught up in pursuit of law, medicine and other advanced degrees.” 
This is not news. It makes perfect sense, since women also outnumber men in college and dominate the rankings in elementary and secondary school. Why are the boys failing?
In January, Newsweek ran an interesting cover story investigating “The Trouble With Boys.”  In “Sexism in the Classroom,” my analysis of the article, I quoted a stunning statistic that underlies the root of the problem. The statistic, “In elementary school, boys are two times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and twice as likely to be placed in special-education classes,” lends credence to a quote from Lindalyn Kakadelis of the North Carolina Education Alliance: “[Blame it on] 30 years of a politicized attempt to remediate societal unfairness to girls.” The boys aren’t broken, but maybe the system is.
Even the Newsweek article admits, boys are being treated “like defective girls.”  It is no surprise then that incoming undergraduate classes are nearly 60% female.  In fact, some people are debating the concept of affirmative action–for men! Read about the nuances of this knee-jerk solution, “Gender Imbalance in College Admissions.”
The CNN article defends women quickly by noting, in the second paragraph no less, that ”Even with such enormous gains over the past 25 years, women are paid less than men in comparable jobs and lag in landing top positions on college campuses.” This quote highlights another common aspect of the “Why are women doing better?” debate, one which ultimately undermines the actual problem–that boys are struggling–by focusing on the leftover feminist agenda. An interesting article reveals that the gap is not nearly as significant as it is often reported. For more, “Is There A Pay Grade Gender Gap in Higher Education?

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