Selected as one of the Top 5 Educational Books by Literacy News
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.
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 Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Republic, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, Washington Monthly, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Education Week. He also appeared on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition to discuss boy troubles. He is the author of The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation’s Worst School District.
|Table of Contents|
Introduction to the Paperback Edition 1
1 Discovering the Problem 13
2 The Reason for the Boy Troubles: Faltering Literacy Skills 27
3 The Likely Causes of the Reading Lapses 39
4 The Writing Failures 63
5 The Blame Game: What Gets Blamed (Unfairly) for the Gender Gaps 79
6 Solutions: What Works for Boys? 107
7 Impediments to a Solution: The Ideological Stalemate 135
8 The International Story: Australians Struggle with the Boy Troubles 151
9 Why These Gender Gaps Matter 163
10 Actions That Need to Be Taken 181
Appendix: The Facts About Boys 211
About the Author 239