Think Boys Schools are Irrelevant? Think Again. Boys Schools More Relevant Than Ever
In recent years, research has turned to looking at boys education and male achievement- driven in large part by males achieving at lower rates, and levels, than women in education and the job market.
Bloomberg’s Craig Torres has written a piece “Unemployment Falls Fast in U.S. If Men Get College Degree” in which he explores the lagging of educated males in the workforce and what this trend means for the U.S. economy.
We’ve known for some time that women outnumber men on college campuses and in some graduate and professional schools. It’s easy to find studies and articles on boys being at-risk educationally from over the last decade or so. What’s changing is that we’re now beginning to see data in terms of what the lesser achievement of boys, and men, means further into life and deeper into economic participation.
The social and economic affects are not good.
Torres elucidates the shortfalls of educated qualified males in industries requiring high education and skill levels such as aerospace and finance. This last one- finance- caught me off guard. I tend to default to Wall Street male sterotype. Even the hyper-masculine bond trader is endangered.
The Issue/Excerpts from Torres:
“By 2018, some 63 percent of the jobs newly created or vacated by retiring workers will require at least some college education, according to a June 2010 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington…”
“The U.S. workplace is polarizing between the education haves and have-nots, says David Autor, professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. So-called middle-skill jobs, typically well-paying work that doesn’t require extensive higher education, are vanishing, dividing the labor force into high- and low-skill positions. While women are moving up the knowledge ladder, male educational attainment is growing at a slower rate.
‘It is terrific that women are getting higher levels of education,’ Autor says. ‘The problem is that males are not.’
Men lagging behind on education raises problems for how fast the U.S. economy can grow because there aren’t enough highly skilled Americans, creating a mismatch between company demand and labor-market supply.
Bonnie Dunbar, Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s director of higher education and science, technology, engineering and math, says the U.S. doesn’t produce enough engineers to fill the needs of growing businesses like hers that also must replace retiring professionals.
‘There is a shortfall now,’ Dunbar says. ‘It is a recruitment challenge. You have these 70,000 engineers graduating every year, and you have all the companies in the U.S. competing for them.’
America’s educational lag is what “keeps me up at night,” Andrew Liveris, the chief executive officer of Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co., told Bloomberg News.
‘We need Ph.D.s and scientists and chemical engineers, materials engineers,’ he said in a Feb. 28 interview.
Wall street also is suffering from a dearth of educated American men, says Deborah Rivera, founder of The Succession Group, a New York recruiter whose clients include America’s biggest banks.
‘We see very few American males, or females for that matter, who are prepared to compete for Wall Street’s growing quantitative and technology roles that require degrees in math or engineering from universities such as MIT and Carnegie Mellon,’ Rivera says.(Bloomberg)
Why and what can schools do?
Documenting the problem is easy. Finding the correlations and reasons is another matter.
We know that the problem begins early. We know that girls are beginning to establish higher achievement rates early in school and in high school.
The question is what and how, even can, schools do affect the variables and equations that affect young males value of education, and, then their educational achievement?
It’s an issue that, Torres notes, economists don’t yet understand. And, it’s an issue that Torres subject Sean Collins-Harris sees rooted in ‘broken homes and absent fathers.’
I find myself wondering if traditional single gender boys education- rooted in sound role models, ethics, hard work and effort may have something to contribute to the area. I’m afraid answers and solutions will not come simply or quickly.