Behind the Headline: A Disadvantaged Start Hurts Boys More Than Girls

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A Disadvantaged Start Hurts Boys More Than Girls
New York Times | 10/22/2015

Behind the Headline
More Girls Than Boys in D.C.’s Top High Schools
Education Next blog | 9/13/15

A study released Thursday investigates why boys in low-income families tend to do worse than girls in those families, both academically and in terms of behavior.  In the study, researchers David Autor, David Figlio, Krzysztof Karbownik, Jeffrey Roth, and Melanie Wasserman find that any disadvantage (e.g. growing up in poverty, living in a bad neighborhood, being raised without a father), takes more of a toll on boys than on girls.

In an article in the New York Times about the new study, Claire Cain Miller explores a variety of reasons why boys could be more sensitive to disadvantage than girls: is it that being raised by a single mother is especially hard on a boy? is it because boys are taught not to show their emotions? is it that boys require more oversight than girls in learning how to control their emotions?

Whatever the reason, “boys particularly seem to benefit more from being in a married household or committed household — with the time, attention and income that brings,” David Autor said.


Earlier this fall, Mike Petrilli looked at the makeup of some of Washington, D.C.’s top high schools and found that girls outnumber boys by large margins.

An Education Next forum featuring Richard Whitmire and Susan McGee Bailey looked at whether boys are being shortchanged by K-12 schools.

— Education Next

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