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Does the school system benefit girls more than boys? Show more Show less

Girls outperform boys across all subjects, in all age groups, and across all racial groups. They secure more university places and suffer fewer disciplinary problems. By contrast, boys are overrepresented in programs for students with special educational needs and account for around 93% of suspensions and disciplinary actions. Is the modern school system designed to benefit girls more than boys?
The school system does not benefit girls more than boys. Boys are slower to mature, they also perform better in tests, which is a significant component of schooling. The parts of schooling that damage male learning are not attributable to the system, but to the teachers working within the system.
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Unhappy school days

Girls have an unhappier school experience. The system does not benefit girls, it makes them miserable.

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Context

While girls may secure better academic grades than boys, research shows that their overall school experience is far less pleasant.

The Argument

A study from researchers at Cardiff University recorded the school experiences of more than 1,500 students across nearly 30 schools in England and Wales. They found that while females performed better academically, they were far less happy at school than boys. [1] Nearly 25% of female participants reported feelings of worry at school, compared to just 16.5% of boys. 24% of girls also reported feeling like they didn’t belong in school, compared with 8.8% of male students. Schools are not just places of academic discovery. They are also social spaces where children and young adults develop inter-personal skills that they will carry into adulthood. Insecurities and anxieties that develop at school will stay with them for a large part of their adult life. The fact that girls feel less comfortable and unhappier in the school setting should be cause for alarm and indicates that schools, in their current format, do not benefit girls more than boys, but can cause them life-long pain and hardship.

Counter arguments

The primary function of the school system is to educate. Therefore, when measuring the school system's fit-for-purpose it is imperative the scope is kept limited to academic outcomes. To argue that the school system does not benefit girls more because of their mental health outcomes is like saying the transportation system benefits one demographic over another because they enjoy being on buses. The purpose of the transportation system is not to entertain or please, but to transport people from point A to point B, just as the purpose of the education system is to educate. Any assessment of the school system's performance should be limited to academic and educational outputs and the demographics that over or underachieve. Happiness levels are not relevant to the discussion of whether the system is weighted towards female achievement.

Premises

[P1] Girls are less happier than boys at school. [P2] Feelings of anxiety and insecurities developed at school can linger into adulthood. [P3] Therefore, schools do not benefit girls more than boys. They are far worse for their mental health.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejectng P1] The school system's function is to educate. Any assessment should look at how well the system performs its function. Therefore, student happiness is not relevant to a debate on the school system's performance.

References

  1. http://www.wiserd.ac.uk/wiserd-education/en/

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 24 Sep 2019 at 14:05 UTC