What has happened in the last two decades that would motivate so many more girls than boys to aspire to higher education? Some of the answer is known, but not all. In part, the gender gaps remain a mystery. Regardless of the reason why boys are relative slackers, the momentum of this social change appears unstoppable, at least in the near future. Women will increasingly dominate higher education. Within about ten years, projections indicate that the average U.S. campus will have two female graduates for every male. At many state universities, that's already the reality.

Given that both the College Board and U.S. Department of Education agree there are no economic reasons for these imbalances -- men and women get equal percentage income boosts from earning bachelor's degrees -- something here is amiss. My own theory is that as the world has become more verbal, schools have allowed boys to slip behind in literacy skills. Boys conclude that "schooling" is for girls, who are proving to be more adept at absorbing these early literacy demands. Boys then seek other outlets for their energy and creativity.

This blog, both in commentary and library selections, reflects that bias. I'm open to alternate explanations, but to date the other rationales for this problem, which range from digital distractions to female-centric schools, appear to fall short.

So far, the discussion around boys falling behind has centered on whether or why it's happening. To me, the facts on the ground, as in gender college graduation gaps, will soon render that discussion partly irrelevant. In future years, the more compelling discussion will revolve around personal issues. Will women settle for less-educated husbands? What are the economic competitive consequences resulting from relatively fewer men earning degrees? My commentary, and library, reflect that bias as well.

You can reach me at: richard.whitmire@gmail.com