Girls First — Boys Being Left Behind?

In a recent post on the University of San Diego’s blog, Edward DeRoche points out the widening academic gap between boys and girls:

“Girls are reading better than boys … and the pattern is giving girls a life-long advantage. Boys are lagging behind girls on standardized reading tests in all 50 states. In Virginia and New Hampshire, middle school girls did better than boys in reading proficiency by 15 percentage points. In New York, girls were 13 percentage points ahead. The difference now is that boys are not catching up.”

This academic gender gap and concerns over the “boy crisis” are not new. This CBS News piece from over a decade ago examined the problem and posed questions about its causes.

Dr. DeRoche, Director of the USD’s Character Development Center (which teaches CHARACTER COUNTS! methods to students in the university’s school of education), doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. But he urges educators “to recognize that a problem does exist for some boys in your school.”

Finally, he asks: “If gender matters in school, and it clearly does, does character matter, and if so, why and how?”

What do you think? Does character education have a role to play in boosting the academic performance of both boys and girls?