Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lack of men on college campuses

USA Today ran a story yesterday about the fact that more women than men are graduating from college.

It asks the question where the men have gone. It suggests that there is a growing problem of underemployed and hopelessness among young men in the U.S.

Almost as many men are on probation and in prison as are in college, the story reports.

The story raises an additiional question as to the shape of education on campus and across the country.



Anonymous said...

While it has been a worthy cause to support girls in their pursuit of higher education, we must be aware of the effects of this action. I would argue that one has been somewhat of an abandonment of boys. I use girls and boys, rather than women and men, to emphasize the problem is in K-12 especially. There have been many gender specific grants, such as teaching girls science, which marginalizes boys.

How do we encourage and support girls while not discouraging boys? One of the news magazines had a series on this issue a few years ago. Discussed there and elsewhere have been the issues of drugging kids for ADHD and ADD (an increase as recess times were decreased, interesting enough) and some teachers who weren’t calling on boys who raised their hands so girls would contribute (the boys eventually stopped raising their hands).

I would argue that the support of girls has existed within a negative-sum game of sorts. The k-12 system needs to do a better job of gender balancing.

In a broader view, we do need to address issues of masculinty. Is George W's boasts of not reading newspapers and books detrimental? Do boys realize most of their fathers are not like the Bush the elder?

Lake Winneblogo said...

Thanks for your comments. As you suggest, this is an issue that extends well beyond the university to the entire educational process.

I am not convinced, however, that this is a zero-sum or negative-sum game. Encouraging girls and women does not mean that someone is being discouraged.

I do think that some of the discussions about changing nature of work in the U.S. is discouraging to young men has some merit.

On another tack, the pervasive anti-intellectual, get-rich-quick mentality that has come to dominate American culture does not serve anyone well. As we well know, this attitude is pervasive on our campus and leads students, both men and women, to imagine that the only point to education is money. It is hard to say if this attitude affects men and boys differently than women and girls, but it might. . .