NewsConference: Author Calls Attention to Achievement Gap Between Boys, Girls

Popular culture and the U.S. education system are conspiring against boys, who are consistently being outperformed by girls and falling behind academically and socially, according to Lisa Bloom, Los Angeles civil rights attorney and author of the new book “Swagger.”

NBC4’s Conan Nolan rattled off statistics that he said reflect a crisis with boys that has long gone unnoticed.

“Based on gender, (boys are) less likely to graduate from high school than (their sisters), less likely to go to college, more likely to be medicated, more likely to be placed in special ed. class, more likely to end up in prison,” Nolan said during a NewsConference interview with Bloom.

Bloom, a trial lawyer and legal consultant for CBS News, credited her own children as inspiration for the book.

“I have a son and a daughter, I love both of them, I’m not willing to let either of them go by the wayside,” she said.

Among the statistics that Bloom said startled her, were that boys are four times as likely to get kicked out preschool and there are four times as many young men in prison now than a few decades ago.

“Are boys four times worse now? I don’t think so. But we’ve just allowed all of this to kind of fall off the radar,” Bloom said, adding that she wanted her book to illuminate a reality that has been ignored “for too long.”

So, who’s to blame for ignoring this growing disconnect between male and female success and failure?

“We’re all to blame,” Bloom said, adding that allowing the U.S. education system to be deprioritized plays a significant role in exacerbating the problem.


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For years, advocates for girls’ education have been at the forefront of the issue, but now, Bloom said, the U.S. is paying a price.

“On the one hand, I would say great, you know, go my gender. We’re working hard, we’re doing well. But it can’t be at the expense of somebody else,” Bloom said.

Bloom’s book focuses on parenting and how moms and dads can get their boys up to speed. In a portion of her book, Bloom, who raised her children as a single mom, addresses what she calls “the day of the disappearing dads.”

“Boys love their moms, but they emulate their dads,” Bloom said.

Children still say their moms and dads are their role models, Bloom said, which means parents continue to leverage a significant amount of influence over their children.

“Kids are listening to what we say,” Bloom said.

To take a more predominant role in their child’s life, Bloom advised parents to speak up if they don’t like the way popular culture is teaching their kids to treat one another – for example, during a misogynistic television show, movie or music video.

“We can no longer say, ‘Boys will be boys,’” Bloom said.

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