Historically, it is more widely acknowledged that girls are more quick and adaptable to educational studies and adolescent struggles than boys are. Girls are often more focused and take school and their futures more seriously than boys, especially as teenagers.
While the same extracurricular activities, classes and opportunities are offered to all public school students, both boys and girls, the latter are more likely to graduate from high school on time and apply for college.
“Girls tend to be a little more advanced than boys,” Richard Davis, an eighth grade teacher in Cleveland, told Fox News Digital. “We may have a boy who is a high-flier academically, but when you look at boys and girls, the girls tend to outdo the boys as a whole unit.”
National data for genders and their high school graduation rates is unavailable, according to Brookings. Because of this, the research organization collected state-by-state high school graduation rates by gender from Departments of Education. The research for 36 states, with 30 reporting cohort sizes, confirmed that in 2021, girls were more likely to graduate, though the pandemic likely impacted graduation dates for both genders.
In July, Fox News Digital reported that New York City was accused of manipulating high school graduation rates by tanking standards for passing classes.
Students who were failing classes at NYC Department of Education public schools were being pushed through to the next grade level without meeting the original standards expected, according to an investigation by Chalkbeat and the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.
“One Brooklyn science teacher alleged that his principal explicitly told staff to pass all middle schoolers outright, discouraging them from giving out NXs in the first place, even if the students had never attended class,” the investigative report said. An “NX” grade – meaning “course in progress” – was provided to students who were clear to fail until they completed their work with new, easier material.
Attendance is a key indicator for teachers and administrators that a student intends on dropping out.
“You’ll have kids that aren’t showing up,” said Davis. “Missing several days of the school year, some, unfortunately, never show up at all.”
Trade schools, or vocational or technical schools, that offer two-year programs for students to train for a specific occupation are also typically more popular among boys. Often, this is due to the nature of the work.
Carpentry is one of the fastest trades to learn, and building, repairing and installing furniture, wood or other materials is more popular among boys than girls and does not require a GED or high school education. In 2022, 96.4% of carpenters in the U.S. were male, according to Statista.
While the reasons boys are postponing graduation, receiving a GED as a substitute or quitting education altogether are not completely known, teachers and administrators can speculate.
“Eighth grade students that struggle with low or failing grades in core subjects have a hard time raising their self-efficacy in school,” Jacqueline Vance, eighth grade CTE teacher in Cleveland told Fox News Digital. “This can lead to students fearing the workload that high school presents and their ability to complete it.”
She went on to explain that students may also struggle due to the lack of support and resources available both inside and outside of school.
“If the students do not have access to support, it can be hard to overcome academic challenges,” she said. “This can push students to question their role as a learner in school and society, making it hard to see a pathway to success.”
Though schools across the U.S. have programs, counselors and other liaisons available for students to take advantage of when they are struggling with classwork, home life, mental health, etc., the student’s family life is equally important and education at the forefront of parental guidance can make all the difference.
“It boils down to what is being valued at home,” Davis said. “I can say to the kids, ‘Hey, you need to get a good education,’ but if they’re not getting that same energy or same message when they leave my classroom, what I say is not going to matter.”
Additionally, one pain point for teachers encouraging their students to kick off their careers with a college education is not only the lack of parental support, but the question of finances.
Davis recalled a student nearly 20 years ago who was bright, talented and capable of dominating a college campus. He encouraged the student to go off and do great things, but the student’s parent reprimanded Davis for exciting her son.
“She said ‘You won’t be telling my kid about college, you’re not paying so don’t hype them up. I can’t afford it.”
On the other hand, some parents compel their kids to get to work before the thought of walking on a stage in a cap and gown even crosses their minds.
“The ‘decision’ wasn’t actually mine, it was forced upon me by my foster mother because I was old enough to start working, and she pulled me out of school,” Liv Nadine, small business owner in Tampa, told Fox News Digital. “I worked two full-time jobs at almost 16 years old.”
Nadine received her GED that same year, in 2003, which was two years before her proposed high school graduation date. She explained that she regrets not revealing her forced influence to work to a counselor or someone else who could report the illegality.
Now, Nadine is an ambitious and accomplished business owner in the cosmetology field.
“High school dropouts can still be successful,” she said.