I am going to summarize the findings presented in an incredible TED talk by Ali Carr-Chellman professor of education at Penn State. Like much of the education research coming out today, her conclusion makes it completely clear that parents should homeschool boys. But that’s too controversial for her to say. So I’m saying it.

Here’s the research she presents:

Boys are failing in school.

  • Twice as many boys in slow reading class.
  • Twice as many boys than girls in special ed.
  • Twice as many boys than girls suspended.
  • Twice as many boys than girls expelled.
  • (Note: these statistics are more extreme in private schools.)

There is zero tolerance for boy behavior at school. 

  • Zero tolerance for rough-housing on the playground, but it’s what boys like to do for fun and social development.
  • Zero tolerance for writing about violence and video games. Instead boys are encouraged to write poems and stories about moments in their lives.

School looks like a place for girls.

Only 7% of elementary teachers are men. Which makes boys think this is not a place for boys. It’s a place for girls. Boys don’t belong here.

And they are right. Because a teacher’s salary depends on getting students through testing. And testing is getting harder because kindergarten goals are what 2nd grade used to be. So the teacher says to sit down, focus, be quiet, pay attention. What she says indirectly is “be a girl.”

Important note: This was a problem before boys started playing video games. Video games are a symptom of the problem that school is not appropriate for boys, it’s not the cause of the problem.

Solution to improve education for boys is to:

  1. Give them video games with a strong narrative to engage them.
  2. Expose them to more male role models during the day.
  3. Engage them on a one-on-one basis to find what games are right for their education.

Problem is that this is not scalable.

That’s how the TED talk ends. But here’s my addendum, which is this is why parents need to take boys out of school. It’s so clear in this talk. We know that school is not good for boys. We know the solution to the problem. And we know that schools cannot implement the solution.

Boys need to be home, playing video games or any activity really that engages them. They need to be outside of the school walls so they are not isolated from the adult male population. This is the research no one wants to read because it’s so hard to keep your sons in school when you read stuff like this. The only way to keep your son in school is to be able to say that he’s one of those rare boys who functions more like a girl than a boy. It’s a hard assumption to make with a very young boy. But that’s what you’re saying when you keep your son in school.