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Child Development Expert: Why Boys Are Falling Behind in Education

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Male students are falling behind in the classroom, earning lower grades, test scores and experiencing higher expulsion rates than females. 

Ioakim Boutakidis, a Cal State Fullerton professor of child and adolescent studies and member of the American Psychological Association’s National Taskforce on Boys in School, explains that the parts of the brain that are in charge of executive functioning, delayed gratification and self regulation mature later for boys than they do for girls. 

Boutakidis also notes that society’s emphasis on masculinity teaches children, especially young boys, that being a “strong man” is about such things as playing sports, being competitive and establishing power. Very seldom does masculinity connect to studying, getting good grades and pursuing higher education. 

Boutakidis believes that if the gender gap in classroom performance is not addressed, there will be severe consequences. 

Boutakidis said: “Barriers in education can lead to higher unemployment and incarceration rates as well as increased risk for mental health struggles.

“Across the public school systems, you see these gaps. When you talk to teachers, they’ll tell you that they don’t have a playbook for how to address these issues and how to mitigate them.

“I want all students to have as much opportunity to succeed as possible.”

Read more about Boutakidis and his insights