Google Find us on Google+

Bridging the male education gap

Jun 11, 2013 by

American women are making gains; men aren’t. Why?

In the ongoing discussion of how to boost the education and skill levels of the American workforce, one central issue is rarely addressed: the gap between male and female achievement. The reality is that the slowdown in U.S. educational gains is predominantly a male affair, and one that drags down the overall competitiveness of our workforce and workers’ ability to land (or create) good jobs.

To get more Americans working and set economic growth back on track, we need to understand what’s going on with men in education.

Despite rising college costs and the many other challenges facing America’s schools, women have made extraordinary strides in education. They have overtaken men in high school and college completion in the last few decades, earning 58% of bachelor’s degrees and 62% of postsecondary occupational certificates.

Our research has found that if men had the same educational distribution as women, their earnings would be 3.7% higher than they are and more men would be employed. Bridging the education gender gap is central to increasing America’s competitiveness in the world economy.


The educational shortfall of men has two important components. First, men are less likely to enroll in colleges and universities. Second, even when they do enroll, they are less likely to obtain a degree or certificate.

Why? One prime reason is young men’s poorer grades in middle and high school (despite performance similar to women’s on standardized tests). A second factor is that young men are more likely than women to prioritize work over college when their short-term job opportunities are relatively good or their educational debt is relatively high.

The underinvestment in education by adolescent boys and young men stems in part from out-of-date masculine stereotypes. Such things as a strong attachment to school, a feeling of closeness to teachers, an excessive interest in high academic achievement or a fondness for art or music are viewed by many young men as unmasculine.

In a recent survey of American 15-year-olds, 73% of adolescent girls expected to work in managerial, professional or higher technical jobs, versus only 53% of the boys. Boys were much more likely than girls (9% as opposed to 2%) to expect to make their living as athletes or work in other sports jobs or as musicians. Too many boys expected to be military officers, police officers or firefighters relative to demand, and boys were more likely to respond vaguely or not at all to the question of the job they expected to have at age 30.

Overconfidence leads to unrealistic career expectations and poor planning. In the same survey, remarkably few boys expected to be working in the lower-level production or service occupations, even though nearly half of their fathers held such jobs. Unfortunately, boys’ rejection of “bad jobs” did not mean they had made plans to enter skilled occupations that require higher levels of schooling.

Relative to women, young men also have unrealistically high expectations of financial success. A pre-recession Gallup poll found that an astonishing 58% of 18- to 29-year-old young men thought it was “somewhat” or “very” likely that they would someday be rich.

via Bridging the male education gap – latimes.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

UA-24036587-1