Newsweek has an interesting article on “The Trouble With Boys.” There has been increasing recognition that boys and girls behave differently due to biological differences, not merely socialization. Their brains are wired differently. Over the past generation, schools have been operated in a way that is best optimized for the way girls learn, not the ways boys learn. This has lead to a crisis in the education of boys.

That doesn’t mean that we should now shift in the other direction and put girls at a disadvantage. But it means that we must take the biological differences between boys and girls into account in order to give both the environment they need to learn. We cannot afford the incalculable social cost of short changing an entire generation of boys. The school system in Pueblo Colorado tried an experiment in which they chose some middle school students at random and placed them in single sex classes. The all-girl class did best in math, English, and science, followed by the all-boy class and then the coed classes. It is interesting that both single sex classes outperformed the rest.

One interesting observation in the article is that “One of the most reliable predictors of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question: does he have a man in his life to look up to?” The role of a father is crucial: “Psychologists say that grandfathers and uncles can help, but emphasize that an adolescent boy without a father figure is like an explorer without a map. And that is especially true for poor boys and boys who are struggling in school.” Healthy families with a loving, involved father give boys (and girls) the best chance to succeed in life.

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