Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind

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AMACOM, Jan 13, 2010 - Education - 256 pages
The signs and statistics are undeniable: boys are falling behind in school. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the biggest culprits are not video games, pop culture, or female-dominated schools biased toward girls. The real problem is that boys have been thrust into a bewildering new school environment that demands high-level reading and writing skills long before they are capable of handling them. Lacking the ability to compete, boys fall farther and farther behind. Eventually, the problem gets pushed into college, where close to 60% of the graduates are women. In a time when even cops, construction foremen, and machine operators need post-high school degrees, that’s a problem. Why Boys Fail takes a hard look at how this ominous reality came to be, how it has worsened in recent years, and why attempts to resolve it often devolve into finger-pointing and polarizing politics. But the book also shares some good news. Amidst the alarming proof of failure among boys—around the world—there are also inspiring case studies of schools where something is going right. Each has come up with realistic ways to make sure that every student—male and female—has the tools to succeed in school and later in life. Educators and parents alike will take heart in these promising developments, and heed the book’s call to action—not only to demand solutions but also to help create them for their own students and children.


1 Discovering the Problem
Faltering Literacy Skills
3 The Likely Causes of the Reading Lapses
4 The Writing Failures
What Gets Blamed Unfairly for the Gender Gaps
What Works for Boys?
The Ideological Stalemate
Australians Struggle with the Boy Troubles
9 Why These Gender Gaps Matter
10 Actions That Need to Be Taken
The Facts About Boys
About the Author

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About the author (2010)

RICHARD WHITMIRE is a former editorial writer for USA Today and President of the National Educational Writers Association. A highly recognized and respected education reporter, his commentaries have been published in The New Republic, U.S. News, Politico, Washington Monthly, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Education Week. He also appeared on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition to discuss boy troubles.

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