In the News: The Charter School Breakthrough Doesn’t Work for Boys

While researching what happens to graduates of top charter schools when they go to college, Richard Whitmire noticed a gender gap in the performance of the students.

He writes:

Charter schools may have made a breakthrough in getting students into and through college, but the success stories are far more about girls than boys.

Generally speaking, the charter networks take in roughly as many boys as girls, but on high school graduation day there are far more girls than boys on that podium. And six years beyond high school graduation, the gender balances worsen: Far more female alumni earn bachelor’s degrees than male.

He continues:

On the surface, all this sounds like a setback for charter schools. But in fact, traditional school districts see roughly the same male dropout rates (at high school graduation; almost no traditional districts have college success data).

What explains these gender gaps? In an Education Next forum “Gender Gap: Are boys being shortchanged in K-12 schooling?” Richard Whitmire makes the case that today’s schools—with their emphasis on order, sitting still, and passive learning—are much better suited to girls than to boys. In response, Susan McGee Bailey argues that the reason for the gender gap is more complex, and that ingrained sexism and gender roles continue to hamper K–12 schooling for both boys and girls.

— Education Next

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