March 10, 2015
Published March 10, 2015, in The New York Times
in "Room for Debate"
The Success of All-Male Schools
It is perhaps more important now, than at any time in recent history, to offer multiple, viable paths to young men to help them succeed. Allowing all-male educational options to fall away deprives boys and men of the institutions that may be personally and intellectually right for them.
Institutions solely dedicated to teaching and encouraging males to achieve - when society often expects so little of them - remain necessary for primary, secondary and undergraduate education. Men fail out of school at a higher rate than women, boys read at a lower level than girls and earn fewer A's and B's than their female counterparts. The number of male high school valedictorians pales in comparison to the number of females who earn that distinction and women graduate at higher rates than men.
But all-male schools have seen incredible success for their students, who have a wide range of abilities, talents and interests. That is why schools such as Chicago's Urban Prep Academy with its 100 percent college placement rate, and Hampden-Sydney College with its strong graduation rate - 11 percent higher than the national average for men - occupy an important space in America's education mosaic.
Colleges like Hampden-Sydney, Morehouse, St. John's University in Minnesota and Wabash afford the sons of an astonishing number of diverse families the opportunity to attend places that are focused explicitly on assisting students with their journey from boyhood, to "guyhood," to manhood. Although it can be a difficult task regardless of the student's circumstances, modern men's colleges and boys' schools have done it well for years.
Christopher B. Howard is the president of Hampden-Sydney College, a private, liberal arts school for men.