Student Attitudes Matter
What Samuelson misses in this Washington Post commentary is the large attitude gap by gender. As my book documents, that divide (high school seniors indicating their college aspirations) is only about 25 years old. Before that time, boys and girls had roughly the same aspirations.
Today, there's a chasm in educational attitudes. This is the key to understanding the "boy troubles." Whatever's causing it occurred only in the last 25 years, which means most of the usual suspects offered up for why boys are faltering can't stand up to scrutiny. If they didn't emerge in that time period, they aren't players.