In Sunday’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about Richard Whitmire’s new book “Why Boys Fail,” which, yet again, produces evidence that boys are falling behind girls in school. 

Kristof pulls out some of the notable statistics from the book such as the grade point average “gender gap” – 3.09 for girls, 2.86 for boys. He points out that boys are twice as likely than girls to be suspended, and in federal writing tests 32 percent of girls are considered proficient, while only 16 percent of boys. 

Looking ahead, he notes women earn 57 percent of bachelors degrees, 62 percent of master’s degrees. (And, as I’ve written about here, women maintain majorities in most professional schools, with the exception of business school.)

Kristof raises several theories for why boys are falling behind. But noticeably lacking from the discussion is at least a nod to Christina Hoff Sommers’s book “The War Against Boys,” in which she argues that a “misguided” 20th-century feminism has pushed society from one extreme to the other. Today, she argues, hyper-attention to girls takes place at the expense of boys.

There was another nugget in the article that caught my attention.  Kristof acknowledges one notable exception to girls’ success in the classroom – “Boys still beat out girls at the very top of the curve, especially in math.”  Kristof only devoted one sentence to this point, but it grabbed me because the left tends to be acutely concerned about the fact that women are disproportionately represented in a few of the hard sciences like engineering.

This, despite the fact that women continue to outnumber men in many of the life sciences like veterinary medicine, in which women make up 70 percent of veterinary school graduates. (Coincidentally, conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby writes about this in his column this week. And check out what I have to say about the “crisis” of women and sciences in a forthcoming review in The Weekly Standard.)

Kristof concludes by claiming, “men are still hugely overrepresented in Congress, on executive boards, and in the corridors of power.” But that’s not quite right. Women are trumping men across professional fields: they make up more than half of the educated workforce; two women were serious contenders in the 2008 presidential election; women  have more purchasing power than ever before; and, women have more choices today than at any previous age.

There are long-term problems in store for boys if we don’t balance out learning in the classroom.  Because in the end, both boys and girls need to succeed.