If you’ve been to a high school or college graduation ceremony in the last few years, it’s hard to watch without thinking, where are all the boys? In fact, there is a very obvious gender gap in graduation rates and dropout rates in both secondary and post-secondary education.
We know that female students graduate at higher rates than males (and, conversely, dropout at lower rates). As of three years ago, according to Fortune magazine, 60 percent of college graduates were female.
It is now no secret that boys are falling through the cracks in our schools. The question is, why?
According to a study of Florida students, boys suffer more in broken families and they suffer from it more than girls:
[B]oys born to low-education and unmarried mothers, raised in low-income neighborhoods, and enrolled at poor-quality public schools have a higher incidence of truancy and behavioral problems throughout elementary and middle school, exhibit higher rates of behavioral and cognitive disability, perform worse on standardized tests, are less likely to graduate high school, and are more likely to commit serious crimes as juveniles.
And now a study of Arizona students comes to a similar conclusion:
Co-authored by IFS Senior Fellow W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas Zill, Strong Families, Better Schools finds that the presence of more married families in a school district is not only linked to higher graduation rates overall, but also to greater gender parity. This means that boys in Arizona are more likely to graduate, and to graduate at levels that parallel those of girls, in districts with more married families. In fact, the share of married families is a better predictor of high school graduation rates and gender equality in Arizona public school districts than are child poverty, race, and ethnicity in those districts.
In other words, marriage matters when it comes to education.