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Boys are choking on girls’ dust

PAC hosts talk on ‘socialization of boys’

Where are the boys, left behind in dust kicked up by the girls?

It certainly looks like it when it comes to academic performance, not only in B.C. schools, but in facilities throughout the country and the rest of the industrialized world.

The performance of the male species has been on a downward spiral for more than 10 years and it has local educators worrying.

Troy Marshall, vice-president of the Chilliwack Teacher’s Association will be addressing this issue in Sea to Sky country on Thursday, May 10. The Brackendale elementary school Parent Advisory Council is hosting Marshall’s talk.

Pat Duffee, a Brackendale parent and a District Parent Advisory Council representative, said Marshall’s presentation was one of several offered to the Howe Sound School district. "This is one we felt we wanted to deal with," she said.

"There has been a significant trend over the past 10 years for boys to fail academically," said Duffee. "As a society, we need to be aware of this issue and what we can do to change it."

Marshall’s session, said Duffee, will try to help identify how much of a problem modern day "boyishness" is and show that how we socialize boys may no longer be appropriate for the societies in which they will live.

Marshall will also pose the question "What is boy culture?" and ask what school communities and society in general should be doing about this trend.

The B.C. Teacher’s Federation, which is promoting the talk around the province, has also published a range of articles on the topic. They note that boys have traditionally had more behavioural problems and lower achievement than girls in the lower grades.

But then they used to catch up.

That is no longer happening. First-year submissions at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are now almost 60 per cent female and post secondary programs once male dominated, like science and business, are now 50 per cent female. This is a reversal from 25 years ago when female admissions were around 40 per cent.

As one BCTF article states, while females continue to broaden their career horizons, few males consider "non traditional" careers such as nursing, dental hygiene and paraprofessional occupations.

Girls are also taking on leadership roles more readily than boys. This is evident in schools from membership on student councils to participation in social responsibility initiatives ranging from environmental clubs to food bank drives.

What, ask teachers, are boys doing if they are less concerned about their futures and not taking on leadership roles and social responsibilities? What has happened to their role models? Is this a broader social problem or should the burden to fix things fall to the school system?

Marshall’s talk gets underway at Brackendale elementary at 7 p.m.