America’s public education system is failing boys

America’s public education system isn’t built for boys. Instead, it disproportionately diagnoses them with learning disabilities.

In the 1970’s, just 3.7 million students were categorized as disabled, with conditions ranging from physical health conditions to autism to learning disabilities.

Now, over 7.2 million students nationwide have special needs. Some of the most common learning disabilities are ADHD and dyslexia, which disproportionately affect male students.  

Boys between the ages of 3 and 17 are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls (12% to 5%, respectively).  

Other reports suggest similar figures among dyslexics. 

A study of 10,000 children in Britain and New Zealand found that 18-22% of boys had dyslexia, compared to just 8-13% of girls.  

And data from England’s schools revealed that of the 1.5 million children receiving special education services, only one-third were girls.  

One reason for this disparity is surprisingly simple: the brain.  

Girls and boys’ cerebral cortexes develop differently, WebMD reports.  

The average female brain dedicates more area to verbal functions, which can affect vocabulary and writing.  

Boys’ brains put more emphasis on mechanical and spatial functions. Spatial intelligence helps with skills like interpreting graphs or navigating maps.  

Male bodies also produce less serotonin and oxytocin, which promote calm in girls, WebMD adds. 

With brains and bodies made for movement instead of verbal processing, it’s understandable why more boys struggle to read and to sit still – garnering them more ADHD and dyslexia diagnoses. 

And although public schools are now required to provide additional services to special needs students, America’s boys are still suffering in the public education system.  

A study from the National Institutes of Health even found that current school climates are “in general more attuned to feminine-typed personalities, which make it – in general – easier for girls to achieve better grades at school.” 

Across the board, male students are graded more harshly and face higher rates of suspension and expulsion. They are less likely to graduate high school than girls. 

Over 70% of undergraduate students in the U.S. are female, and men earn fewer college degrees of all types than women. 

Jillian Schneider - The Lion
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