Speakers tell audience misguided feminism results in educational disparity for men

Published: February 23rd, 2009

Category: News Briefs

Law students and faculty filled the Bailey Courtroom to capacity on Feb. 18 to hear three speakers discuss the inequities found between “boys and girls” in today’s educational system.

The lecture titled “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men,” was sponsored by the UF Federalist Society.

Christina Hoff Sommers, one of the speakers and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit group based in Washington D.C., told the audience that the policies created to help close the educational gap for women is creating an educational chasm for men.

“The good news is we have great information on where girls and boys stand academically,” said Sommers. “The bad news is it’s not good news. If we continue on the present course, education for boys will continue to decline.”

Sommers cited several U.S. Department of Education studies that reveal the disparity between boys and girls in math, science, reading and writing.

“Today, boys are about three months ahead of girls in math and science, but on the average, boys are about 13 to 18 months behind girls in reading and writing,” said Sommers. “This is because there are no educational or social programs aimed to increase these skills for boys.”

Mary Ann Clark, Ph.D., the University of Florida College of Education B.O. Smith Research Professor and coordinator of the School Counseling Program, explained that the lack of educational programs aimed at boys coupled with the lack of positive, male role-models contributes to this disparity in education.

“Eighty five percent of single parents are women,” said Clark. “This means most boys are just not being exposed to men who encourage them to succeed or lead by example.”

Luis Ponjuan, Ph.D., a UF College of Education assistant professor of educational administration and policy warned that “males are slipping through the cracks” in regards to education.

“This is a silent crisis,” Ponjuan said. “Funding has been an issue for male programs to address this disparity. We need to challenge our policy makers and students studying to be teachers and administrators to address these inconsistencies and commit to closing the gap between boys and girls.”