Richard Whitmire's article about the declining presence of young men in college and the overall decline of the male gender performance in the academic world, appeared in The New Republic today.
There is a lot of controversy about the statistic that shows males represent only 43% of college students today. And there seems to be a lot of anguish. Is it because boys are suddenly less capable than girls? Is it because girls really are intellectually superior to boys and recent opportunities for girls to get college educations reflect that superiority? Is it because boys have different thought processes than girls which make girls better students than boys? Or is it something else combined with some of those mentioned speculations?
My own experience tells me that there are dynamics at play that may favor girls. First let me state that my own three sons have done extremely well in college. The older two have Masters degrees and the younger one a Bachelors degree. The older two were tested back when I.Q. tests were still considered okay to do, and had results in the 150 range. The youngest wasn't offered that opportunity, but he seems quite capable of holding his own. They all read and write very well, thank you.
Okay, that's too small of a sample. Agreed.
My wife says boys get their intelligence from their mothers and girls from their mothers and their fathers. Given the performance of boys these days, I can only conclude that this generation of boys had dumber mothers than last generation since the female offspring of last generation's men seem so much more intelligent and more capable of attending college. Read that again, slowly.
Okay, maybe intelligence is not related to college participation or test results. After all, how could there be that many dumb mothers out there?
So, maybe something else is causing boys to stay away from college in droves.
Could it be:
- Colleges actively seeking girls
- Curriculae altered to include courses not interesting to boys
- Teaching altered to facilitate female learning versus male learning (oh, believe me, there is a difference)
As a high school student and an undergraduate many years ago, I noticed a peculiar difference between the young men and women: women learned what was taught better than boys. Boys applied what was taught better than girls. For example, girls who took geometry did well and memorized theorum and axioms more quickly than boys. Boys seemed to be able to translate the knowledge into hands on applications a little better... for example, building a structure using geometry without actually having to measure the materials with a tape.
It seems the emphasis is now on learning what is taught more than applying what is taught. You know, be patient and learn now. You can get "hands-on" later. Boys may simply be getting bored.