Opinion | Sexuality

Why Boys Are Failing in the Classroom

The author of 'Why Boys Fail' says females now have an unfair academic advantage in most schools—and that the pendulum needs to swing back.

True or false: Our educational system gives boys an academic advantage.

Answer: A resounding yes, when Leave It To Beaver was the TV ratings champ. But Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons From An Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind (Amacon Publishing, 2010), makes a compelling, well-documented case that the opposite is now true. According to Whitmire, male students have been at a disadvantage for at least a generation, and the academic gender gap is widening.

Whitmire, a former editorial writer for USA Today, marshaled an impressive amount of research to support the thesis of his book: "The world has gotten more verbal, boys haven't." He insists that instructional trends ranging from whole language reading instruction (emphasizing the recognition of words in context versus the decoding skills employed in phonics training) to math education that focuses on analyzing and solving word problems play to girls' strengths.

The grim stats cut like a machete through ...

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