Boys will be boys, goes the old adage, but it’s exactly this philosophy that has hurt young men in urban classrooms for more than a century, a Michigan State University scholar argues in a new book.
Many boys have devalued academic success since schooling was made mandatory starting in the early 1900s, Julia Grant writes in “The Boy Problem.” Today, boys make up two-thirds of the special education population and black and Latino males in particular face high rates of suspensions, expulsions and imprisonment.
On Feb. 27, the Obama administration unveiled an initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper” to address some of the most persistent social and economic problems faced by boys of color, including educational opportunities. Grant said the program appears to rest partly on the assumption that what black youth need is more male role models and masculine guidance.
Since 2006, when federal guidelines on same-gender schools were relaxed, educators across the nation have opened hundreds of all-male public schools, with some stressing military-like regimens and “tough love” in hopes of tapping into what some consider boys’ essential masculine nature.
But same-gender schools aren’t the solution, Grant said. After all, the recent academic and social progress made by girls had nothing to do with emphasizing their femininity; instead, girls were encouraged to speak up, be assertive, work hard and break down professional barriers.
Read full story: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/solving-the-boy-problem/