USA Today editorialized on the new and undeniable gender imbalance on the college and university campus. For every 100 men receiving bachelor’s degrees, women receive 135. That’s a huge disparity, and USA Today describes the statistic as “ominous for every parent with a male child.”
Here’s how the paper made its argument:
While demographers and economists have a pretty good idea where the boys end up, educators are largely clueless about the causes. Some say female teachers in elementary and middle schools, where male teachers are scarce, naturally enforce a girl-friendly environment that rewards students who can sit quietly — not a strong point for many boys, who earn poor grades and fall behind. Others argue that a smart-isn’t-cool bias has seeped into boys of all racial and ethnic groups.
Solutions are just as uncertain. Hiring more male teachers would likely help, as would countering the anti-intellectual male code. But it’s not that simple. Many boys leave middle school with pronounced shortcomings in verbal skills. Those lapses contribute to the low grade and high dropout rates.
Surely, a problem that creates crime, increases unemployment and leads to hopelessness deserves attention. Where are the boys? Too often, going nowhere.
The paper’s editorial board obviously thinks that something ought to be done in order to encourage more young men to advance to college and earn degrees. Responding with an opposing view, Kim Gandy, president of the National Association for Women, said:
Every few years, a report that women are gaining ground prompts panicky articles proclaiming that “men are falling behind!” . . . Bottom line? I don’t see a few more degrees signaling the fall of patriarchy. We already know women are smart. But no matter how smart you are, it’s tough to win when the rules keep changing and you have to choose between work and family.
She didn’t actually respond in any meaningful or direct way to the problem of too many young men failing to gain a college degree. Instead, she simply repeated her organization’s constant argument that prejudice against women explains everything — even underachieving young men. Got it?