Schools have created an environment hostile to boys by essentially criminalizing their imaginations and learning styles, Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, argues. If the gender gap in education is not addressed, Sommers worries about a future in which men struggle to find a place in the knowledge economy.
"Our schools today are becoming hostile environments for little boys," Sommers says in a video produced by AEI. "As our classrooms become more risk averse, competition-free, feeling-centered, sedentary, they're moving away from the needs of boys."
Sommers is the author of the 2001 book, The War against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.
Young boys are being punished, she complained, for playing boy games, like pretending to be superheros or playing "cops and robbers." "This is sad. It's as if we're criminalizing the young male imagination."
The British and the Australians have been addressing this issue for the past decade, Sommers says, by including more competition, books that boys enjoy, single-sex classrooms, and more technology and engineering training.
The underperformance of boys in the education system is a concern for everyone, Sommers believes. "These are our sons. These are the young men with whom our daughters will build a future. If boys are in trouble, so are we all."
To hear more about Sommers concerns, read her Monday op-ed in Time or watch the video below. Sommers will also participate in an August 28 panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute co-hosted by the Independent Women's Forum, "Should single-sex schooling be eliminated?" The event will be streamed live on the AEI website.