Tag Archives: Boys

Why are boys struggling to succeed in school and to find jobs?

Although you might think that there are no reasons for boys underperforming in school and work, a little research shows that this is not the case.

The first reason boys are struggling is because of no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce allows either person in the marriage to end the marriage for any reason or for no reason at all. It was passed because radical feminists and trial lawyers pushed for it. Each special interest group stands to benefit from it in different ways. Feminists oppose the complementary nature of marriage, and trial lawyers just want to drain as much money as they can out of disintegrating families.

70% of divorces are initiated by women, and this is because women tend to emphasize their own subjective feelings of happiness over the objective commitment they make at the wedding. Women today are influenced by feminism to care more about their happiness than they do about loving and serving others, especially husbands and children. This is especially true of the ones who lack trustworthy male influences. The most unstable relationships are lesbian relationships, because there you have two happiness-seekers and no promise-keepers.

In addition, feminism causes women to lose the ability to evaluate men according to traditional male roles, making them vulnerable to predators who do not have the ability to commit to them self-sacrificially. Do you ever wonder why you see single mothers living with atheist men who deliver pizzas and playing video games at age 30? Why is that? Because feminism taught her that men are not better when they are chaste providers and protective mentors. According to feminism, men have no special role as protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader.  Many just pick the best-looking, most entertaining, least demanding, easiest to control man they can find. Someone who doesn’t lead her to behave morally, control her emotions, and put the needs of others above her own desires.

So what happens to boys when marriages can be dissolved so easily?

This article from the Centre for Economic Policy Research explains:

To assess the long-run effect of divorce, we analyse children’s human capital and demographic outcomes. First, we examine college attendance. In Austria, college attendance implies that this person graduated from a higher secondary school. Second, we check the labour market status (employed; unemployed; out-of-labour force) up to the age of 25 years. Third, we examine children’s own family formation behaviour (i.e. fertility and marriage). Finally, we investigate the probability of early mortality (below 25 years of age). Our results show that parental divorce – due to a high level of sexual integration in fathers’ workplaces — has a negative effect on children’s long-term outcomes. Our main findings for human capital outcomes are summarised in Figure 1…

Here’s Figure 1:

Figure 1
Figure 1 (click for larger image)

And Figure 3:  The effect of parental divorce on employment over time.

Figure 3
Figure 3

If you want boys to transition into marriage-minded men, you need to fight against no-fault divorce.

The War Against Boys

The other problem affected boys is also rooted in feminism. Feminism is deeply suspicious of male teachers and male administrators in the schools. As a result, schools tend to be dominated by female teachers and female administrators. Many of these women are feminists, and they seek to change the nature of education from something that is fair to boys and girls, to something that punishes boys and gives the advantage to girls. In addition, feminists in the education industry tend to oppose allowing boys to attend all-male schools, where boys perform at much higher levels.

This article in the left-leaning The Atlantic explains how the school system punishes boys and favors girls – from kindergarten to the workplace, where women receive affirmative action preferences.


American boys across the ability spectrum are struggling in the nation’s schools, with teachers and administrators failing to engage their specific interests and needs. This neglect has ominous implications not only for the boy’s social and intellectual development but for the national economy, as policy analysts are just beginning to calculate.

[…]Women in the United States now earn 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 52 percent of doctorates.

Boys in all ethnic groups and social classes are far less likely than their sisters to feel connected to school, to earn good grades, or to have high academic aspirations. A recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research documents a remarkable trend among high-achieving students: In the 1980s, nearly the same number of top male and female high school students said they planned to pursue a postgraduate degree (13 percent of boys and 15 percent of girls). By the 2000s, 27 percent of girls expressed that ambition, compared with 16 percent of boys. During the same period, the gap between girls and boys earning mostly A’s nearly doubled—from three to five percentage points.

This gap in education engagement has dire economic consequences for boys. A 2011 Brookings Institution report quantifies the economic decline of the median male: For men ages 25 to 64 with no high school diploma, median annual earnings have declined 66 percent since 1969; for men with only a high school diploma, wages declined by 47 percent. Millions of male workers, say the Brookings authors, have been “unhitched from the engine of growth.”  The College Board delivered this disturbing message in a 2011 report about Hispanic and African-American boys and young adults: “Nearly half of young men of color age 15 to 24 who graduate from high school will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead.” Working-class white boys are faring only slightly better. When economist Andrew Sum and his colleagues at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University examined gender disparities in the Boston Public Schools, they found that for the class of 2007, among blacks and Hispanics, there were 186 females for every 100 males attending a four-year college or university. For white students: 153 females to every 100 males.

Note that radical feminists and socialists oppose solving this problem:

In the U.S., a powerful network of women’s groups works ceaselessly to protect and promote what it sees as female interest. But there is no counterpart working for boys—they are on their own.

[…]The reluctance to face up to the boy gap is evident at every level of government. In Washington, President Obama established a White House Council on Women and Girls shortly after taking office in 2009, declaring: “When our daughters don’t have the same education and career opportunities as our sons, that affects…our economy and our future as a nation.” On the other hand, the proposal for a Council for Boys and Men from a bi-partisan group of academics and political leaders has now been languishing in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s office for two years.

Similarly, in Maine, the Portland Press Herald ran an alarming story about the educational deficits of boys—reporting that high school girls outnumber boys by almost a 2-1 ratio in top-10 senior rankings, that men earn about 38 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded by Maine’s public universities, and that boys both rich and poor had fallen seriously behind their sisters. But the director of Women’s Studies at the University of Southern Maine, Susan Feiner, expressed frustration over the sudden concern for boys. “It is kind of ironic that a couple of years into a disparity between male and female attendance in college it becomes ‘Oh my God, we really need to look at this. The world is going to end.’”

The rest of the Atlantic article explains how to solve this problem. And the proven solutions clearly show that the problem is not with boys, it’s with an education system that discriminates against boys, making it harder for them to learn the skills they need to find work.

So, the tendency of young men to stay home and play video games comes from discrimination against men in the education system, and no-fault divorce laws that allow spouses (mostly women) to divorce easily. It is women who need to do a better job of “womaning up” to attack no-fault divorce and discrimination against boys in school. But pro-male voices among women are few and far between. Women tend to go along with what makes them look good to others in the culture, and what gives them the most autonomy to pursue happiness (unless they are balanced out by strong men who lead them), and that means the most women tend to just ignore the root causes of male decline.  When I see single women overwhelmingly supporting the anti-male Democrat party, it just tells me that they are not serious about marriage. Whether they intend to or not, they are killing marriage with their political support for misandry.

It would be nice if we got some leadership from pastors in the churches on this issue. It would be if nice the pastors could challenge women to think about how their voting and advocacy of certain policies affect boys. Basically, if pastors could get women to think “and then what happens” to boys who experience no-fault divorce and anti-male schools. But most pastors are like women, and they put more emphasis on being liked based on what is valued in the secular culture. It’s easier for them to remain ignorant and bash men than to pick up a book on education or divorce and read it. If we have a crisis of masculinity, it began in the church, from the “men” behind the pulpit. They need to man up and challenge the feminism that is killing marriage.

What kinds of things should boys do to be more manly?

Painting: "St. George and the Dragon", by Paolo Uccello (~1456)
Painting: “St. George and the Dragon”, by Paolo Uccello (~1456)

Super-wife Lindsay sent me this article by David French in National Review. I am skeptical of older men who try to get younger men of today to “man up” without realizing all of the challenges that men face. Many of them are fatherless because their mothers divorced their fathers. Many of them are in failing public schools where 90% of their teachers are women. Many of them are depressed by the $20 trillion debt that was run up to pay for the feminist welfare state. And on, and on, and on.

However, I decided to blog on this because the article was very balanced.

First, here’s David:

I look back to my own childhood. In 1985, I was 16 years old, and I was a nerd’s nerd. I toted graph paper and 20-sided dice to school to play Dungeons & Dragons at lunch. (I like to think I was the finest dungeon master Scott County, Ky., had ever seen.) When I wasn’t playing D&D, my nose was buried in Lord of the Rings, or the Shannara books by Terry Brooks, or the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I played sports, sure, but let’s just say that my varsity tennis exploits didn’t make the cheerleaders’ hearts flutter.

But none of my nerdiness relieved me of the responsibility of learning how to be a man — a protector, builder, and fixer. So that meant spending my Saturdays hauling out the ramps to change the oil and oil filters on all our cars. That meant helping my dad build a new back porch or constantly wrestling with immense piles of firewood. (We heated our house with a wood stove.) I made extra money working in neighborhood yards. Being a guy meant doing manual labor. That was just part of growing up — no matter your social class.

In the age of instant oil change (why entrust your car’s health to your 16-year-old?), ubiquitous lawn services, and on-demand handymen, privileged kids simply don’t have the same, naturally occurring opportunities to learn to work with their hands and to develop physical strength. In the age of zero-tolerance school-disciplinary policies — where any kind of physical confrontation is treated like a human-rights violation — they have less opportunity to develop toughness. Today’s young males don’t have common touchstones for what it’s like to grow up to be a man.

I just had to quote this, because wow, David French (Harvard Law graduate, Major in the Army Reserves, Bronze Star recipient, and heroic defender of religious liberty) played good old D&D. So did I, although I preferred Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play. I have over 200 hand-painted miniatures in my parents’ basement.

Anyway, I digress.

French continues:

Raising a boy to be a young man used to be a natural act. Common experiences and rites-of-passage meant that my D&D friends could pop the hood of a car and get to work right alongside the future mechanics of my high-school class. We weren’t as good or as knowledgeable, but we held our own. And there were no social-justice warriors shrieking that there was no such thing as distinctively male or masculine pursuits.

Now, for parents of the privileged, raising a boy to be a young man has to be an intentional act. You have to ignore the voices who are telling you to indulge your child’s inclinations — no matter what they are — and train them to be not just morally courageous but also physically strong. They can have their Xbox or their PC (my son brags about his kill/death ratio on Battlefield, and we belong to the same World of Warcraft guild), but they can also hit the weight room. They can also not just learn to shoot but also how to assemble and disassemble their weapon. Even if you’re rich, you can make your kid do the hard work that keeps any household together.

Though this sounds simplistic, never ever underestimate the positive effect that raw physical strength can have on a young man’s development. I’ve seen the impact that weight training has had on my son, and I wish I’d been as diligent when I was his age. I’ve experienced the impact — even as an older adult — of the physical transformation of Army training.

Our culture strips its young men of their created purpose and then wonders why they struggle. It wonders why men — who are built to be distinctive from women — flail in modern schools and workplaces designed from the ground-up for the feminine experience. Men were meant to be strong. Yet we excuse and enable their weakness. It’s but one marker of cultural decay, to be sure, but it’s a telling marker indeed. There is no virtue in physical decline.

Yes. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. My parents never had any plan for me growing up, except that I get As in school and work during the summers. However, since I got free of them after graduate school, I have been lifting weights, eating lots of protein from whole foods and taking the appropriate supplements on and off. I think it is important for a man to be able to lift his future wife across the threshold of her new home, and so I had this idea that I should lift weights. I have lifted up one woman (who I was in love with) and that was very fun. So, yes to muscles. Cardio, meh.

And lately I have been picking out my first firearm and getting ready to do my concealed carry permit. (I’m trying to decide between the S&W Performance Center M&P Shield and the Walther PPS M2). And I have always wanted to learn more about auto repair, so I can save money on that. Although, I think that my generation of men didn’t learn as much about cars as we did about computer programming and building computers from parts. I’d like to make things out of wood – maybe toys and perches for parrots. And I want to learn gardening, so I can feed myself from what I grow.

There are so many interesting things to learn and do, and I do think that men should be expected and encouraged to develop useful skills so that they can help others. Part of being a man is learning useful things so that you can help others. I think if you explain to young men why they should be learning useful skills and working and saving (to help others, to learn self-sacrifice, to practice being generous with gifts) then they would be more interested in these things. A man will do anything in order to get respect, especially from women. Maybe the problem is there – that women want men to be weak man-shaped girlfriends who just agree with them, and never challenge them to grow. I see that a lot in young women today. They aren’t comfortable giving men respect, or letting men help them and lead them.

Study of elementary school children finds entrenched discrimination against boys

The study is here (PDF), and Susan Walsh writes about the study on her blog.


A new study of nearly 6,000 elementary school children has found that boys are discriminated against beginning in kindergarten. Christopher Cornwell, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, says that ”gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.”

Despite having higher scores on standardized tests, boys get lower grades than girls. Why? Because teachers are basing grades at least partly on classroom behavior, and the standards are very much geared to female norms.

[…]Here’s what the disparity looks like for kindergarten boys:

Std. Deviation Test Scores Grades
Reading -.017 -.27
Math +.02 -.15
Science +.035 -.14

(Note: Values are approx., gauged visually from study graphic.)

Another interesting finding was that boys who adhere to female norms on non-cognitive skills were not penalized. Effectively, the more female behavior was rewarded with a grade “bonus” for males.

The implications of this are obvious. Masculinity, even normal maleness, is being punished in schools from a very young age. Only the most female-acting boys are rewarded with a fair assessment.

I found this story on Stuart Schnederman’s blog, and this is what he had to say about it:

The results demonstrated that schoolteachers are prejudiced against boys. When teachers do not just grade on performance, but include a number of intangible qualities that girls are more likely to possess, they are acting as bigots.

I recommend that everyone pick up a copy of “The War Against Boys” by AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to learn more about this anti-male discrimination problem.

I see a lot of people raving at men to “man up” these days. Many of those people are pastors who remain ignorant about the real, systemic causes of male underachievement. Even very obvious factors – like the dominance of female teachers and administrators in schools – are ignored by the blame-men crowd. Boys generally learn better when they learn from male teachers in all-male classrooms. But unfortunately for boys, there are people who don’t want to do what works for men, especially when it doesn’t fit with feminist ideology.

Before you marry, have enough money saved to keep your kids out of public schools

My friend William shared this excellent article from The Federalist, which talks about how public schools, under the influence of Common Core, are exposing children to pornography in order to advance a leftist culture agenda. The article has the stories of several heroic mothers who stood up to the school system and got the pornographic materials removed. Let’s look at one of them, and then I’ll comment on how public school administrators and teachers should be viewed, then I’ll comment on the issue of financing these public schools, then I’ll talk about planning for schooling of your children.


In 2012, Lebanon, Oregon, mother of two Macey France began studying the nationwide implementation of Common Core. While looking through a document titled “Common Core Appendix B” that contained reading exemplars, Macey found the book, “The Bluest Eye” listed as an example of appropriate assigned literature for eleventh- and twelfth-grade students.*

France, a contributor to the website PolitiChicks, took to her keyboard and typed up a scathing condemnation of the book as not high-school appropriate, including quotes directly from the book, such as:

I am not putting pornographic excerpts from public school books on this blog, duh.

We continue:

As a result, her article “Common Core-Approved Child Pornography” was viewed and shared hundreds of thousands of times and Macey was nominated for a CPAC blogger award for Best Sunlight Post of 2013.

“This is when I first became a ‘target’ for the progressives who support public education and minimize parental rights,” said France, who had a hard time understanding how her well-researched, truthful article could make her the target of the kind of emotional, hateful rhetoric she experienced. It frustrated her to be personally attacked for wanting to protect her kids. It also frustrated her to find many parents who weren’t concerned about their teens reading “The Bluest Eye” because they believed school officials knew more about what was best for their children than they did.

“I was called names, accused of being backwards, racist [Toni Morrison is a black woman], ignorant, a flat-earther, and even received private messages on Facebook telling me how hateful I was,” France said. “I was first introduced to the phrase ‘white privilege.’ At one point, I was called Hitler. I was misunderstood and accused of wanting to ban and burn books [even though] I went out of my way to convey that I am not an advocate for banning literature. I am a huge parental rights advocate. I got the distinct impression I was not supposed to question the manner in which they [educators] related to my kids.”

My problem with public school is not that education school graduates are selecting high brow reading material that is above me. I love Shakespeare and Spenser and Dickens and Austen and other classical writers. The problem I have with public schools is that some of the teachers, and most of the administrators, have this agenda to break down traditional morality and sexualize children at earlier and earlier ages. This is part of the secular progressive agenda – they know that sexualizing children makes them less likely to become conservative, less likely to marry, less likely to have children who are raised by a mom and dad, and who are therefore more resistant to the will of the secular leftist government.

Public schools are leftist indoctrination seminaries

A good example of how this works can be found in the province of Ontario, Canada. There, the Liberal Party government is led by a lesbian woman who left her husband and children to move in with her lover. The Liberal Party decided to re-write the education curriculum so that it would be more in line with their supporters in the Sexual Revolution crowd, e.g. -secularists, LGBT activists, abortion providers, etc. And so, they hired a convicted child pornographer to re-write the curriculum. They didn’t see the public school’s priority as teaching children how to get the skills needed to find jobs that pay. They wanted the public schools to make children non-judgmental about the immoral behaviors of the selfish adults.

It’s very important for parents to understand that people don’t just find themselves in education programs and then in public schools by accident. Sometimes they are in there because they couldn’t find real work in the private sector. Sometimes they are there because they want to indoctrinate your kids with their left-wing ideology. You can’t assume that the people in public schools want to partner with you to pass on prudent and practical Judeo-Christian wisdom to your children. The public school monopoly attracts those who are looking for job security and insulation from the disapproval of their customers. It’s true that some teachers are there to educate students so they have useful skills in order to find good jobs. But in my experience, many of teachers aren’t, and most of the administrators aren’t.

Note: private school teachers and administrators have to compete with other schools, so they are sensitive to meeting the needs of parents. At least you have a choice about where you send your kids, so they have to care what you want for your kids, and how much you are able to pay.

Don’t vote for bigger government if you value quality education

So how do these public schools get their funding? Well, it’s simple. They appeal to voters by saying that the more they spend on public schools, the more children will learn. This actually works on voters who don’t bother to familiarize themselves with the facts:

Education spending has tripled since 1970
Education spending has tripled since 1970

The truth is that parents who want children to do well should always vote for smaller government, lower taxes, and the pushing down of decision-making in education policy to the state and local level. We shouldn’t be swayed by “it’s for the children” rhetoric, because throwing more money at the problem only gives us more sexual revolution indoctrination and more gay rights agenda. Most of the new money goes to administrators anyway – not to the teachers in the classrooms. You might think that the public schools are there to help your children to get a job, but that’s not what they public school administrators think they are there for.

Getting married? Make a plan to provide for your kids’ education

One final point. I am finding myself surrounded by male Christian apologists who want to get married, and who are not interested in being providers. They’ve spend their entire 20s in school as students, they’ve taken money from their parents, they’ve never worked a day in their lives, they have outstanding student loans, they have no savings, and yet they all talk to women they like about marriage. My view is that Christian men should not be allowed to talk to women – even to ask them the time of day or for directions – until they have a STEM degree, 2 years of private sector work experience, all debts paid off, a car and some savings. And why not? Well, for reasons like this article on the public schools.

The public schools are what they are, and Christian parents cannot rely on them to educate our kids. If a man is talking about marriage without having taken steps to get a STEM degree, STEM private sector work history, and an investment account that is added to every month, then he has no business talking to a woman about marriage. He has to be able to show her that he is serious about providing the children with homeschooling or a private school education. How parents plan to educate their kids is a major issue in marriage – it affects whether the children will be effective and influential, or not. A woman should not trust the promises of any man who has not taken practical steps in the past to prepare for the needs of his children in the future. She cannot accept intentions and promises that make her feel good, she has to see evidence of his ability to put aside his ambitions in order to provide for her and the children – that is his obligation as a man (1 Tim 5:8). A man who wants marriage should prepare well in advance for it by having a career that will allow him to earn and save so that his wife and children will not be threatened in their worldview more than they can bear. If he has to give up some student stuff and some ministry stuff in order to prepare for husband / father responsibilities, then he should do that – before the wedding day.

Christina Hoff Sommers: helping boys succeed in school

Christina Hoff Sommers
Christina Hoff Sommers

An article from the leftist Time magazine by feminist Christina Hoff Sommers.


Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.”

These “defective girls” are not faring well academically. Compared with girls, boys earn lower grades, win fewer honors and are less likely to go to college. One education expert has quipped that if current trends continue, the last male will graduate from college in 2068. In today’s knowledge-based economy, success in the classroom has never been more crucial to a young person’s life prospects. Women are adapting; men are not.

Some may say, “Too bad for the boys.” The ability to regulate one’s impulses, sit still and pay attention are building blocks of success in school and in life. As one critic told me, the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged against lazy or unfocused workers. That is absurd: unproductive workers are adults — not 5- and 6-year-old children who depend on us to learn how to become adults. If boys are restive and unfocused, we must look for ways to help them do better.

She introduces three ideas to fix the problem, and here’s the third one:

In his delightful Boy Writers: Reclaiming their Voices, celebrated author and writing instructor Ralph Fletcher advises teachers to consider their assignments from the point of view of boys. Too many writing teachers, he says, take the “confessional poet” as the classroom ideal. Personal narratives full of emotion and self-disclosure are prized; stories describing video games, skateboard competitions or a monster devouring a city are not.

Peg Tyre’s The Trouble With Boys illustrates the point. She tells the story of a third-grader in Southern Californianamed Justin who loved Star Wars, pirates, wars and weapons. An alarmed teacher summoned his parents to school to discuss a picture the 8-year-old had drawn of a sword fight — which included several decapitated heads. The teacher expressed “concern” about Justin’s “values.” The father, astonished by the teacher’s repugnance for a typical boy drawing, wondered if his son could ever win the approval of someone who had so little sympathy for the child’s imagination.

Teachers have to come to terms with the young male spirit. As Fletcher urges, if we want boys to flourish, we are going to have to encourage their distinctive reading, writing, drawing and even joke-telling propensities. Along with personal “reflection journals,” Fletcher suggests teachers permit fantasy, horror, spoofs, humor, war, conflict and, yes, even lurid sword fights.

If boys are constantly subject to disapproval for their interests and enthusiasms, they are likely to become disengaged and lag further behind. Our schools need to work with, not against, the kinetic imaginations of boys to move them toward becoming educated young men.

There’s a short video to go with the article:

Dr. Sommers participated in a recent debate where she argued in favor of allowing all-male schools against a radical feminist. That page has audio and a transcript as well.

My thoughts

I do think that women need to realize that boys have to be encouraged to do the different things that boys do, if we want boys to be engaged. The good things that boys do in society are not free – they need to be encouraged and not dismissed. Playing a wargame or an adventurous boardgame with a boy is good. Firing real guns with a boy is good. Playing adventurous role-playing games with a boy is good. Going to a war museum or on a camping trip with a boy is good. Watching patriotic war movies or adventurous movies with a boy is good. Reading military history and military biographies is good. Reading classical adventure novels with a boy is good. Listening to adventurous music with a boy is good. Even watching the news with a boy is good.

Nothing is free. We have to create the boys we want, and encourage them to be aggressive, active and righteous.