Why Boys Fail
Those with more than a passing interest in gender and education should find Richard Whitmire's blog Why Boys Fail, hosted by Education Week, a must-read. Whitmire, a former USA Today editorial writer and author of a book that shares his blog's name, believes that "as the world has become more verbal, schools have allowed boys to slip behind in literacy skills. Boys conclude that 'schooling' is for girls, who are proving to be more adept at absorbing these early literacy demands. Boys then seek other outlets for their energy and creativity."
Whitmire, as you might expect from a former editorial writer, blogs with a strong voice and is particularly vocal in his dismay that the U.S. Department of Education will not "acknowledge the problem exists" or research the effect of approaches such as single-sex education. He doggedly tracks research from around the world, much of which finds boys lagging behind as he sees them doing in the United States; a recent post noted that women now outnumber men more than 4-to-1 at Cairo University.
It's not all gloom and doom at Why Boys Fail, though; Whitmire is happy to discover approaches that seem to be working at closing gender gaps, such as a Massachusetts school that integrated literacy throughout the curriculum. And he brings passion and curiosity to the issue, often expanding the scope of his inquiry to broader sociological issues, such as the impact of the "boy crisis" on marriage.
David Snyder is a reference librarian in ASCD's Information Resource Center.
ASCD Express, Vol. 6, No. 4. Copyright 2010 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.