Girls, Games and Grades

Photograph by James Keyser/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Much has been made of the gender gap in educational achievement. Girls have long done better in school than boys, and women have now pulled ahead of men in completing college. Today women earn almost 60 percent of college degrees, up from one-third in 1960.

The largest educational gender gap is among families in the top 25 percent of the earnings distribution, where women lead men by 13 percent in graduation rates, compared to just a 2 percent advantage for women from the lowest income families.

—Stephanie Coontz, “The Myth of Male Decline,” New York Times, September 29, 2012.

“Tom! My honors classes have become sororities.”

—A famed and honored academic economist, from a school you would kill to get your kids into.

Stephanie Coontz delivers a superb and thorough must-read on the male-female and/or female-male education gap, then on to labor ballet. The multimedia chart is worth the price of admission.

Read it. Ask friends, Romans and college advisers about this raging debate. Throw a drink at someone opposite your chosen view.

Here is what you need to know. This debate (among strivers) is real. It is tangible and it is not going away.

Memo: It is not about sex.

Rather, it is modestly about the male teenage wasteland of distraction, by Internet stuff and our five-season jockocracy. (I admit to dropping the GDP of Delaware, two quarters at a time, into an Asteroids video arcade game at the Casino-by-the-Sea, 02540, while absorbing seasons of Red Sox failure.)

Far, far more, this hand-wringing angst is about the reality I see each and every day. (See academic, above.)

All things considered, girls work and read and study harder, period. Girls lean over the desk. Discuss.

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