Tag Archives: Boys

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.

Excerpt:

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.

Excerpt:

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.

Excerpt:

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.

On wargames, history and heroes: “this story shall the good man teach his son”

Memoir '44: Pegasus Bridge setup
Memoir ’44: Pegasus Bridge setup

Re-posting this old post because Dina and I spent Friday night playing games again! And this is one of my favorite posts. Last night was Portal 2 and Orcs Must Die! 2.

Last night, I played through the Pegasus Bridge scenario from the Memoir ’44 wargame with Dina a few times. We actually played the online version of the game, using Steam. She was very gracious to play a wargame with me, which I don’t think is necessarily the first thing on most women’s lists of things to do on a Thursday night! I appreciated her agreeing to learn how to play and then playing with me several times. I think that Christians need to plan and execute more “together” activities like that – activities that involve interaction, co-operation, communication and engagement. We try to avoid doing things where we are both spectators. Playing wargames is not the only thing we do – we also do Bible study and cooking lessons (for me), for example.

Anyway, the point of this post is to express the deeper meaning behind playing wargames. I think that it is important to recognize and celebrate those who have demonstrated good character, whether it be now, or in the past. I think that it is important for us to search out the best role models ourselves, so that they will influence the way we act in our own lives. The second world war was a clear example of good versus evil. Anyone on the Allied side who demonstrated bravery and courage should be celebrated for safeguarding the security, liberty and prosperity that we enjoy today. In the case of Pegasus bridge, the hero is Major John Howard of the British paratroops.

Here is a quick re-cap of his exploits that day from the New York Times:

Maj. John Howard, the commander of glider-borne British infantrymen who seized the strategically vital Pegasus Bridge in the first battle of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, died Wednesday in a hospital in Surrey, England. He was 86 and had lived in Burford, near Oxford.

Under cover of night on June 6, 1944, six gliders carrying 181 officers and men of the Second Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry landed on the eastern flank of a 60-mile invasion front on the northern coast of France. The regiment had a heritage going back to the battles of Bunker Hill and New Orleans, to Waterloo and to World War I. Now its soldiers were in the vanguard of the invasion of Hitler’s Europe.

Major Howard’s D Company was ordered to seize two bridges, one over the Caen Canal and the other spanning the parallel Orne River. If the Germans held on to those bridges, panzer units could move across them in a counterattack isolating 10,000 British paratroopers jumping behind the British invasion beach known as Sword, where infantry forces would arrive at daybreak. And Major Howard’s men sought to strike swiftly to prevent the Germans from blowing up the bridges if they were overwhelmed; the British needed those bridges to resupply their airborne units.

British Halifax bombers towed the gliders over the English Channel, then cut them loose.

Major Howard’s lead glider landed at 12:16 A.M., only 50 yards from the Caen Canal bridge, but the glider’s nose collapsed on impact, knocking everybody aboard unconscious for a few seconds. The soldiers quickly emerged, and over the next five minutes the men directly under Major Howard killed the surprised German defenders.

The nearby Orne River bridge was captured by other troops in Major Howard’s unit, and soon the words ”Ham and Jam,” signifying mission accomplished, were radioed to the airborne.

Two British soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in the operation.

Over the next 12 hours, British paratroopers and commandos reinforced Major Howard’s men, and British forces were able to move toward the city of Caen, their flank having been protected by the capture of the bridges.

On July 16, Major Howard received the Distinguished Service Order, Britain’s second-highest award for valor. On the 10th anniversary of D-Day, he received the Croix de Guerre Avec Palme from the French Government, which had renamed the Caen Canal span Pegasus Bridge, for the flying horse symbolizing the British airborne. The road crossing the bridge was later renamed Esplanade Major John Howard.

Why is this important? Well, it’s important to think on the things that are excellent. There are so many things in the culture that are not excellent that we are confronted with every day. We have to make it our business to do things together where goodness is celebrated. Especially when manly virtues like courage are celebrated. We don’t do that much anymore. And I think there’s a connection between wargames and Christian apologetics that we need to deliberately encourage.

Here’s an excellent passage from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” that makes the point:

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. (4.3.43)

This is from the famous speech in which King Henry charges his men to fight well before the famous Battle of Agincourt.

You can read more about the history of the British Airborne division and Pegasus bridge. The famous historian of the second world war Stephen E. Ambrose also wrote a history of the Pegasus bridge battle, called “Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944“. You won’t find many military historians better than Stephen E. Ambrose!

You might be surprised how many men are interested in military history and wargames, precisely because men instinctively look up to men like John Howard who embody qualities like bravery and courage. We have a dearth of moral character in this society. And we don’t do much to teach young men about manly virtues, even in the church. I think that it is important for us to think of creative ways for us to present good character to our young men. Young women should also learn about good character, because they must separate out the good men from the bad when they are courting.

Thanks to Dina for helping me to edit this post!

Christina Hoff Sommers: helping boys succeed in school

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

Excerpt:

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.

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.