Why Boys Fail

Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind

 Why Boys Fail

Author: Richard Whitmire
Pub Date: September 2011
Print Edition: $15.95
Print ISBN: 9780814420171
Page Count: 256
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814420362

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Richard Whitmire is a widely recognized and respected education reporter. A former editorial writer for USA Today (he took a buyout in December of 2008), he now devotes his time to research, his blog, and freelance pieces. His commentaries have appeared in The New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, U.S. News, Politico, Washington Monthly, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Education Week. He has written extensively on charter schools, preschools, school turnarounds, and teacher quality. Yet, the education issue he has become most immersed in and closely associated with is the one he views as the most serious and overlooked: the fact that boys across the United States, and throughout the developed world, are falling behind girls in school.

“Of all the education issues I’ve written about, the boys’ dilemma may be the most perplexing,” Whitmire says. “I first came across gender learning issues long ago when writing about how girls were discriminated against in school, as in teachers calling on aggressive boys and paying little attention to girls in math and science. As the father of two girls, I was outraged and wrote those stories uncritically. I was wrong and, as we now know, that research was flawed.”

Whitmire has been investigating the education gender gap for more than a decade. Granted a fellowship by the University of Maryland to study the issue, he has talked with many concerned educators and parents, and observed many progressive classrooms. He credits Australia, which he visited while researching the book, with being far ahead of the United States in probing the causes of the boy problem and redesigning curriculums and entire schools to help overcome it. In his debut book, WHY BOYS FAIL: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind (AMACOM January 2010), Whitmire shares his observations, his discoveries, and his conviction about the real culprit: faltering literacy skills. “The world has become more verbal and boys haven’t,” he argues.

After graduating from the College of Wooster in Ohio, Whitmire taught high school English for one year before launching his career in journalism. He covered local issues at several newspapers in upstate New York before moving to Washington for a job with Gannett News Service. While covering the Pentagon, he received a Knight Journalism Fellowship to study national security topics at Stanford University. Shortly after returning to Washington, he shifted his focus to reporting on education and joined the editorial board of USA Today.

Internationally known for his popular website and blog, whyboysfail.com, Richard Whitmire is frequently sought out for his expertise on the academic disadvantages common to boys of all races and income levels. He has discussed boy troubles on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He currently serves as immedidate past president of the National Education Writers Association. Proud of his two high-achieving young adult daughters, Morgan and Tyler, he lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Robin.

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