Most worrisome, boys' academic ambitions have skidded. As recently as 1980 more male than female high school seniors planned to graduate from college, federal surveys of high school seniors told us. By 2001, however, girls moved ahead of boys on that question by a startling eleven percentage points (updates to that survey show the gap persists). What happened to boys in those twenty-one years? Answering that question is what this book is about. Those flagging ambitions explain the dramatic gender imbalances unfolding on most college campuses, many of which hover near a 60–40 balance favoring women on graduation day. Why are the gender imbalances worse on graduation day? Because men are both less likely to enroll and more likely to drop out before earning degrees. The journey to find the answer to the question of why this is happening began more than a decade ago when, like every other education reporter at the time, I bought into the reports that schools were treating girls unfairly, shunting them aside in favor of aggressive boys thrusting their arms into the air to answer teachers' questions. As the father of two girls, I was outraged, and I wrote those stories uncritically. By hindsight, we now know that that research was flawed. I was wrong to write those stories. As my own daughters matured past the elementary school years, I began to witness just how wrong those reports were. My nephews never seemed to fare as well as my nieces. The brothers of our daughters' friends rarely did as well as their sisters. The proof was playing out in the college enrollment and graduation numbers, where women increasingly dominated: Boys, not girls, were the ones struggling in school; men, not women, were falling behind in college graduation numbers. And these are not just poor minority boys falling behind. Plenty of them come from schools such as Pearl Creek Elementary.