The gender-gap in meeting college requirements is much larger. Boys of all races are between 6.6% to 13.5% less likely to meet the college requirements for the UC/CSU college system. In five of the eight race/ethnicity cohorts, boys are between 10.7% and 13.5% less likely to meet college requirements. The remaining cohorts (Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Two or More Race Males) are 5.7%, 6.6%, and 8.2% less likely to meet UC/CSU requirements than their female counterparts. These disparities may expose one of the more concerning trends in California education. Are we simply pushing boys through the system and leaving them unprepared for career options?
Equally pressing is the need for a national report card on high school graduation rates and gender. The U.S. Department of Education does not list graduation rates by gender, according to the Brookings Institute. “We do not know the national high school graduation rates for girls and boys, since states are not required to provide this data—but, we argue here, this requirement should be added.” A national report card on graduation-data using GIBM’s Table 1 seems the most equitable approach.
A full report card on gender graduation-data would likely reveal that boys are doing worse than reported. From 2016 to 2020, it is safe to assume that there were at least 180,000 fewer boys who earned high school diplomas nationally according to data from the Brookings report. It’s more likely there are well over 200,000 more males than females who did not receive diplomas in part because the data collection is likely undercounting boys who do not graduate for a variety of reasons, such as dropping out of the system prior to and during high school. From 2016 to 2020, California alone had 76,106 fewer male students earn high school diplomas than female students.
The current school climate has focused on race/ethnicity data in a generic and superficial way at a time when the struggles of boys crosses all racial lines. Lack of transparency, lack of support, and the lack of a California Commission on the Status of Boys and Men are leading reasons California schools continue to underserve boys.
Presenting data more openly is an opportunity to ensure policy makers, the media, schools, and parents have a clearer picture on the status of all boys and girls in California schools.