Learning Gap Between Boys and Girls in K-12 Education Reaches Alarming Proportions

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Despite the growing influence of progressive ideologies in schools and the academic struggles caused by Covid-related lockdowns, the widening gap between boys’ and girls’ academic performances has become a significant concern for educators. According to Tom Sarrouf, the former president of Boston College Republicans, this phenomenon can be attributed to a fundamental disparity: boys read far less than girls, hindering their intellectual growth and development. Sarrouf suggests a rebalancing of reading materials, focusing on nonfiction, particularly in history and science classes, to better engage boys.

However, Russian-American writer Katya Sedgwick argues that this might not be the solution, as boys can benefit from reading more fiction, rather than less. Sedgwick proposes assigning classic texts with compelling male characters to younger readers. Others have pointed out that three major factors discourage literacy among boys: a bias against boys in education, the proliferation of graphic novels in school libraries, and the scarcity of conflict and action in assigned texts.

Teachers and parents often prematurely identify boys as weak readers, relegating them to other subjects and reinforcing these stereotypes. As a result, the education gap compounds over time, and many girls become voracious readers while boys are left behind. Furthermore, the lack of action and conflict in assigned texts reinforces this disparity. Graphic novels, which are heavily illustrated, do not develop readers’ comprehension skills as effectively as regular novels.

As educators, it is crucial to recognize that the gender gap is not solely the result of biology or nature. Rather, it stems from biases and stereotypes reinforced by the way we teach boys to read. To bridge the gap, teachers and parents must adapt their methods and focus on action-packed texts that feature male protagonists. By promoting masculinity in reading materials and challenging traditional notions of what it means to be a boy, educators can empower young men to develop a love of reading and become stronger, more capable individuals.

Auguste Meyrat
Auguste Meyrat
Contributor. Auguste Meyrat is an English teacher in the Dallas area. He holds an MA in humanities and an MEd in educational leadership. He is the senior editor of The Everyman and has written essays for The Federalist, The American Conservative, and The Imaginative Conservative, as well as the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.

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