12/17/2009: Anyone who has been in UO classroom recently – particularly an honors class – will be struck by how few male students there are. Girls are doing better and better in HS, boys not so much. Apparently some selective colleges have been giving boys an advantage in admissions, to try and reach sort of gender balance. Now the US Council on Civil Rights has issued supoenas to try and learn more about the extent of this practice.
The motivations for this affirmative action for boys must get pretty interesting. Lets assume that in general girls would like to go to a college with a reasonable number of high quality boys, but that there is a shortage of these good boys. So more good boys allows a given school to attract better girls and charge them higher tuition. But boys may prefer to be at a school where they are as smart as the average girl. So affirmative action is not the ideal solution – colleges want good boys, not bad ones. It would be better for colleges to target good boys. Tuition discounts for good boys is one solution, but that’s apparently illegal – the discounts have to be gender neutral, so you also attract even higher quality girls, and still have the imbalance.
So instead we have college sports. Boys love them. Another solution would be to add academic programs that good boys like, such as engineering. Part of the problem with boys is that they mature later. Maybe encourage them to take a year or two off before college? Any other ideas?