When most people think about gender issues in schools, they mean the progressive lunacy that forces female athletes to compete against biological men and the insistence that students be allowed to socially transition their gender at school without parental consent.

But there is another gender problem that also has a direct impact on the quality of education students receive: The vast majority of schools and classrooms are structured around the way most girls learn, not the way most boys learn. 

Though every child is unique and therefore learns differently, there are several important differences between the average girl’s learning style and the average boy’s learning style. 

A larger proportion of a girl’s brain is dedicated to verbal language and memory, and a larger proportion of a boy’s brain works on spatial reasoning and movement. Boys are also hardwired to have less serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps us feel calm. When a boy fidgets and squirms at his desk, he’s not necessarily trying to be difficult. He’s just being a boy. 

Young boys benefit substantially from active learning and hands-on classroom activities. A quiet and still classroom might be more comfortable for the teacher, but learning is sometimes a loud and messy process. This does not mean that boys and girls must learn separately; it means that a truly inclusive classroom includes activities that speak to all different styles of learning. A teacher who expects her students to sit and listen at desks all day is leaving half of her students behind.  

The differences between the sexes don’t stop there: Boys, on the whole, are more competitive than girls, who are typically more collaborative. This difference carries through into adulthood: A study from Washington University St. Louis found that groups of women did not benefit, and in fact worked less well together, when they had to compete, but groups of men were made stronger by competing with other teams. Thanks to the progressive Left, schools have become less competitive places. Schools are abandoning class rank, nixing honors classes altogether, and refusing to name valedictorians based on the misguided assumption that such competition is harmful. To the contrary, it creates an incentive for all students, but an incentive that is especially powerful in male brains, to win. 

The imbalance in teaching styles has real-world ramifications. Fewer men graduate high school than women; the graduation rate for women is 6 points higher than for men. Among young adults, women out-earn men in more than 20 metro areas. A whopping 7.2 million men of working age are neither working nor looking for a job. 

The progressive Left claims to care about fixing implicit biases, but it is unwilling to even recognize the anti-male bias that exists in classrooms. Recognizing this bias would mean admitting that boys and girls are biologically different. This basic scientific fact runs contrary to progressive ideology, which contends that gender is socially constructed. But that’s not true, and the sooner education leaders acknowledge the biological differences between the sexes, the sooner they can fix the broken educational processes that leave boys behind.