Are We Failing Our Boys? – The Crisis in Education

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Are you asking if there is a crisis looming? Are boys falling behind? And if so, what’s happened to our boys to make them fail and fall behind? What is the cause of this education crisis?

The answer is that our current system of education has abandoned boys, devoting so much time to educating boys and girls identically that the results are ignored. Are boys to blame because they are not the same?

To begin, there is a problem in education that very few know exist.  There is a crisis in educating boys worldwide and it is based on the neglected fact that boys and girls learn differently. Their crisis is magnified by a modern education system that favors the biology of girls rather than boys. Our public, and most private schools, do not focus on this science and therefore they do not incorporate it in teaching boys and girls.

Facts Tell the Story

  • Boys are more likely to get lower grades than girls, more likely to get suspended, expelled, diagnosed and prescribed ADHD medication, and be placed in special education programs.
  • Boys will soon make up only 40% of the graduates from college.

Michael Gurian and his writings are at the pinnacle of the field we are discussing here. His books on how boys and girls learn differently are road maps to the science, techniques, methods, and best practices in the field of education today. He is a prolific author and has written some 24 books in the field of education, parenting, and psychology of boys and girls. Gurian Model Schools are trained on boy-friendly strategies and tactics; however, there are fewer than 20 model schools in the country! If you want to understand how policy impacts this crisis, check out Christina Hoff Sommers’ book The War Against Boys, How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men or Michael Thompson’s work in this field.

Boys are Repeating Grades at an Alarming Rate

  • For every 100 girls who repeat kindergarten, 194 boys repeat kindergarten.1
  • Boys are 50% more likely to be held back a grade than eighth-grade girls.3

The Gap in Reading and Writing

  • The National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP notes the gap between girls and boys is most pronounced in eighth grade, with the average eighth-grade girl writing at the level of the average eleventh-grade boy.4
  • For every 100 girls 6 to 14 years old who have difficulty doing regular schoolwork, 176 boys have difficulty doing regular schoolwork.1
  • Nearly twice as many boys as girls have trouble reading, are diagnosed with language disabilities, and are referred to special education classes.7
  • 41% of children in the United States are not reading at a basic level by third grade, and a majority of them are boys.2

Quick Fixes that Don’t Work – Labels, Medication, and Special Ed

  • For every 100 girls 3 to 5 years old with a developmental delay, 154 boys are developmentally delayed.1
  • Boys make up two-thirds of special education classes.5
  • Boys make up 70% of medicated preschoolers and kindergarteners.6

Homework, Test Scores, and Grades are Crushing Boys

  • In 2007, the average GPA of boys taking the SAT was 3.42 while girls had an average of 3.54.8
  • Males earn 70% of “D”s and “F”s and 40% of “A”s.12

Boys Get into Trouble for Being Boys

  • Boys constitute 95% of children diagnosed as hyperactive.9
  • For every 100 girls suspended from public elementary and secondary schools, 215 boys are suspended. 1
  • For every 100 girls expelled from public elementary and secondary schools, 297 boys are expelled. 1
  • For every 100 twelfth-grade girls who engaged in a physical fight on school property, 226 boys got into a fight.1
  • Although there are many gifted but under motivated girls, the actual ratio of non-achieving males to females is 8 to 1.11
  • Of high school dropouts, 80% are males.13

What Can We Do to Solve the Crisis?

  1. Know the differences present in boys’ and girls’ DNA.
  2. Find a school that is boy smart, boy-friendly, and celebrates boys.
  3. Reignite boys’ passion for learning, key ties to motivation, confidence and success.
  4. Create schools that focus on values, virtues, character, and leadership to help boys forge great futures.



1 Tom Mortenson, Pell Institute

2 Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and Teresa H. Barker, It’s a Boy, p.201.

3 Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.36.

4 Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and Teresa H. Barker, It’s a Boy, p.211.

5 Ibid, p.189.

6 Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.122.

7 Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and Teresa H. Barker, It’s a Boy, p.186.

8 Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.307.

9 Ibid, p.35.

11 Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, The Minds of Boys, p.255.

12 Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.308.

13 Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, The Minds of Boys, p.22.

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