February 23, 2015: The New York Times published an opinion letter about boys' education and a call to response. Our Founders submitted this response:
The statistics about the boy crisis are staggering, and continuing to accept what Mr. Kullman accurately terms a “boys-will-be-boys” excuse for academic disengagement is intolerable. Not only because it has led to men becoming a minority of degree holders at all levels of education, but, more importantly, because boys are disengaging from their learning, from their communities, and from themselves. The key to raising and educating thriving, inspired boys is to teach boys to pay attention to their emotions; to create and value healthy relationships; and to reflect instead of simply to do. Only then can we create compassionate, competent, and circumspect young men with empathy.
We share Mr. Kullman’s call to develop more single-sex schools because boys’ schools know boys. An all-boys school can offer compelling curriculum and research-based teaching fundamentally engaging to boys. Even more important, boys’ deepest needs–such as learning emotional literacy and understanding a full range of masculine identities–are best met in a single-sex environment. But whether a school is single-sex or coed, until the real intervention is at the emotional level, we will continue to lose boys to a sense of failure–socially and academically.
Jennifer Dohr, M.Ed., and Oona Hanson, M.A., English, M.A. Educational Psychology
Los Angeles, California
The writers have taught at the middle and high school levels and are co-founders of Beacon School for Boys in Los Angeles; they each have a daughter in an all-girls school and a son.