Parents worried schools aren't doing enough for boys
A North Vancouver man is making a formal complaint to the education ministry, saying his sons' school district isn't doing enough to address the academic gap between girls and boys.
And Peter Jensen says unless the ministry does something to address the disturbing trend, he's going to take the school district to the human rights commission or to court, claiming gender bias.
"They have wilfully ignored it, because it's just boys," he told CTV News. "Where we're at now, boys are the disposable sex -- they don't count."
Jensen, who is a lawyer, has three boys in North Vancouver's Argyle Secondary School.
The North Vancouver School District told CTV News the gender gap in North Vancouver is smaller than the provincial average. Officials didn't want to comment further, as the matter might soon be in court.
But Jensen's frustration could just be the tip of an iceberg in a trend that has alarmed educators and parents: that boys are falling behind.
As early as grade four, stats show boys are lagging behind in reading and writing. It's the same story in grade seven.
In 2009, 15 per cent of grade seven girls weren't meeting expectations for reading. For boys, it was 20 per cent.
In writing, 11 per cent of girls didn't meet expectations. For boys, it was 22 per cent.
For more details on B.C.'s gender learning gap, click here to open a PDF file
In math boys tested slightly better.
"I'm really confident when I go into a math class," says grade seven student Rohan Devrha. "Reading and writing, I'm not that confident."
Also revealing: 43 per cent of girls graduate with at least a B average. With boys, that figure is only 30 per cent.
For more statistics from the B.C. Education Ministry, click here
When it comes to higher learning, women dominate. Of all the university degrees granted in B.C., women earned 60 per cent, while men only earned 40 per cent.
Women make up the majority in medical schools across the country, including UBC.
"I think it just reflects the larger number of qualified women applicants compared to the number of qualified male applicants," says Dr. Joseph Finkler.
Some experts say the academic achievement gap begins in the early years, where an accelerated curriculum is tougher on boys, who tend to mature later.
Others point out that more boys are diagnosed with ADHD and reading disorders.
Despite the academic gender gap, researchers say that when it comes to the workforce, men still make more money than women.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee
Tune in tomorrow on CTV News at Six to learn about ways other school districts are battling the trend.