The Boys Project and the Messiah
I have now been pounding away on the problems of boys in education (especially higher education) since 1995 and I have nothing to show for it. Clearly talking about the scarcity of boys in college accomplishes little more than making people aware that it exists.
For several years reporters (usually women, who like to write about this issue) have been challenging me: Okay, so what do we do about the problem? What do you recommend be done? I just don't know. As one who studies demography I can see that there is a serious problem. I only know that affirmative action for boys in college admissions could diminish opportunities for better prepared and motivated women. I oppose affirmative action for males because it addresses symptoms and not causes--although I am not sure what the causes are.
So, after a fruitless decade where males continue to fall ever farther behind females, a messiah steps forward and agrees to lead a national effort to do something based on real science. And sure enough, as I had long suspected, it is a woman: Prof. Judith Kleinfeld of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Dr. Kleinfeld has written on the subject of males in education in the past. She is now organizing a national boys project and is gathering the kind of scientific talent that we might expect to provide answers to the question: Okay, so what should we do about the problem?
This boys project will begin at the beginning: How are little boys different from little girls, and what does this mean for the educational experience we design for each? At last I can see a way to make progress on this terribly important issue.