Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Schools are designed more for girls than for boys

The education system is experiencing a ‘boy crisis’
Collegian File Photo

Ask any high school girl what her male counterpart is like, and you will likely hear how annoying, rowdy and fidgety they are. It is widely acknowledged that girls mature and develop certain skills much faster than boys. For example, girls learn to sit still and stay attentive much faster than boys do. But school is designed to create equal opportunities for everyone, not just one gender; researchers have coined the failure of boys in our schools and society as “the boy crisis.”

Of course, there are plenty of boys who are able to follow the same academic standards that are demanded of girls. In my experience, these boys are those who are most successful. They go on to be our school valedictorians or rank at the top of the class. Just like how there are some girls who are not entirely focused on school, there are some boys who are focused. The phenomenon does not hold entirely true for every person of each gender, but it is a widely acknowledged happening. And the worst part, according to Dr. Warren Farrell: We are ignoring it.

From an early age, girls are taught to earn better grades than boys. This trend goes deeper than elementary school. Girls are outperforming boys in school. In 2010, the college completion rate for men was just 27 percent, while for women it was 36 percent. This isn’t because girls are necessarily smarter. In fact, boys and girls have similar intelligence rates. The difference is that girls are working harder than boys because they know that their future success depends on their grades. For boys, there are many alternative opportunities and paths to success, so a good grade isn’t the sole path to attainment. For example, landscaping, construction work, plumbing and electrical work are all male-dominated careers that require non-traditional schooling more conducive to stereotypical male behavior through which boys may attain success.

What else contributes to the boy crisis in schools? It is hard to expect that a young boy can sit still for eight hours a day at a desk. Yet again, it is hard to expect that anyone can sit still at a desk for eight hours a day for eighteen years. Many teachers relay to parents that their sons show signs of attention deficit disorder or learning disabilities, but is this really the case? Or can our boys simply not meet the same behavioral standards as girls?

The problem follows into the home as well. Mothers are apt to state that their sons are addicted to video games and ignore their homework, as suggested by Dr. Warren Farrell, who spoke in the TED Talk titled “The Boy Crisis.” The solution, some find, is sending their sons to elite, private all-boys schools. This only makes the problem worse, as these schools ask more of boys and hold them to a seemingly unachievable academic standard, according to Warren. They require boys to work harder, while in the midst of an all-boy culture that certainly does inspire the necessary focus on school.

During his TED Talk, Dr. Warren Farrell asked the audience to raise their hands if they knew of a boy who was having problems such as low motivation, addiction to video games and so on. About 30 percent of the audience raised their hand. After this, he stated, “Why are we blind to something that is so much around us that we would even have to ask the question, ‘Is there a boy crisis?’” The boy crisis is omnipresent. Possibly, we ignore it because we assume boys will succeed and have a happy life no matter what.

Altogether, there is no real clear solution to the boy crisis. Some say that schools should curtail more to the learning needs of boys, while others say that we should hold boys to similar standards as girls. This phenomenon certainly does not run true for every American boy, but it certainly hinders the success of those for whom it does hold true. Clearly, this phenomenon must be researched further and addressed through educational reform.

Sophia Corsetti is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • C

    CalebMay 1, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    As a Male I definitely believe that schools are designed for females even in elementary school you start to see signs that teachers favor girls and it continues throughout high school I’m elementary school yes here’s will always take a girls side against a boy even if it’s not true they have certain unfair advantages and are able to get out of thing easier then I would be able to I’m not saying girls have life easier because they don’t but when it comes to schools it’s pretty clear they have an advantage

    • R

      rosieJan 10, 2022 at 4:28 pm


  • J

    JoeApr 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Boys and girls each have their own learning strategies. Boys often require a catalyst in the form of activity. Unfortunately learning strategies have always favoured girls over boys. “Sit still. Quiet reading. Do homework.”, etc. This style of learning has been there for over a hundred years. However, something happened in the 1980s. Schools began changing their methods for evaluating children – depending less on examination and more on structured exercises. As a result this has placed boys at a disadvantage.

    Yet it perplexes me to see how society in general views the issues that boys are having. If the issue was the other way around I bet their would be special committees set for helping girls in education. As a matter of reality the only concerns I do read about are not with boys but with girls. About the only area that boys are not doing so poorly – STEM – we read about how programs are there to help girls.

    Government is gynocentric in nature and the consequences is that boys (like men) are disposable. Why is it that (in the States) there are government offices that target women and girls? Why is it that there is a but no….just as there is a but no Its because society does not care. A politician MUST have a platform to address how they will help women and girls if elected. That is mandatory if they want to get elected. But can you imagine what would happen if a politician did the same for men and boys??

  • L

    lynn oliverApr 5, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    To understand the male crisis, we must begin “seeing real environmental/social variables at work along with very real differential treatment from infancy”. The belief boys should be strong allows aggressive treatment from infancy so they will be tough. There is less verbal interaction support for fear of coddling. This creates high, maintained layers of average stress for boys (new thought will send to all). These layers remain in the mind taking away real mental energy from academics so they will have to work harder to receive the same mental reward. This treatment creates emotional distance of others. It creates lags in communication girls are given daily. The high stress creates activity for stress relief not genetics. This creates higher muscle tension which hurts handwriting motivation. The effect with false genetic models creates more failure and hopelessness. To make it tougher boys are given love honor feelings of self-worth only on condition of achievement. This was designed to keep Male esteem low and be willing to give their lives in war for love honor from society. Males not achieving are given ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given for fear of coddling. Many boys falling behind turn their attention to sports and video games for small measures of love honor not received in school. The belief boys should be strong and false belief in genetics create denial of the harsh treatment which is creating the low academics low esteem and other problems for boys. This is not about more openness from boys; it is about society allowing aggressive treatment from infancy so boys feel much wariness toward parents teachers who freely use aggressive treatment for any sign of weakness. This is condoned by society. This problem is affecting all male children but the lower the socioeconomic bracket and time in lower areas the much more amplified the treatment given male children by parents/teachers.
    There is a wrinkle to this. There are a “very few boys” given more stable, correct support from some families which will enable those boys to succeed in school. This enables those boys to do well -and receive love and honor from others, which they must continually do to continue to earn that love and honor. This then becomes a drug for those boys which drives them to continually achieve in different ways in school. However the vast majority of boys who do not receive that support will not do well in school and early on, go into other areas to generate love and honor such as sports, military, other.
    As girls we are given much support and care by parents teachers peers. As girls we are treated better and so enjoy support from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment much mental social/emotional support verbal interaction and care this creates the opposite outcome for girls when compared with boys. We receive love honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We have lower average stress for ease of learning. We enjoy much freedom of expression from much protection by society. We enjoy lower muscle tension for ease in writing motivation to write. We enjoy much positive trust/communication from parents teachers and support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society we enjoy more lavishing of love honor from society while boys and men are now failing more and are given more ridicule and abuse by society. Mind you this is now coming from girls and women using our still protected freedoms of expression and more with false feelings of superiority.
    As for girls there is a wrinkle also. We are given love and honor simply for being girls. This allows us to choose less than top planes of success and still find wonderful planes of innersecurity. We are not as driven. However, as the middle class continues to drop, there will be fewer boys able to receive the bare adequate support to be successful academically. Also more girls will begin “choosing to go into those higher fields by choice. This will slowly allow women to begin taking over those higher fields just as they have already taken over the other fields. Much more from learning theory.

  • J

    John aimoApr 4, 2018 at 12:14 am

    I think the reason there are more girls in school and perhaps do better, is because girls/women are more passive and so instead of making their own way in life, they take advantage of an institution, i.e college. Which is smart.

    Ultimately there is alot of media hysteria in our society over the decline of ‘boys’ or ‘men’. If your declining as a boy or man, it’s because you are weak. The only person you can blame, although it would be easy to point your fingers at other things, is yourself A real man, a man of strength, of willpower, he makes his own life and his own future; and he needs neither school or a job to do it. He needs nothing truly but himself.

    • J

      Jake RussianApr 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Women are not more passive… there are plenty of accomplished and determined women in this world that have gained success from hard work. Going to college is not a passive action, it requires effort and money, are you ignorant enough to believe women are merely passive acceptors of college education? Do you really mean to discredit the efforts of women furthering their lives ?