Tag Archives: boys

Message to School Principals: Let Kids Be Kids and Boys be Boys

22 Mar
CHILDREN PLAYING. Roman artwork, 2nd century A.D. Credit: Campana Collection; purchase, 1861. Louvre. Source: wikipedia.org

CHILDREN PLAYING. Roman artwork, 2nd century A.D. Credit: Campana Collection; purchase, 1861. Louvre. Source: wikipedia.org

Where did our schools go wrong? When I was a boy, the absolute, guaranteed, 100% certain best things about school were: a) lunch; and b) recess. The reason?

Football, of the North American variety.

Not the organized version of the sport. Just a bunch of boys with a football going out in the fresh air and having a grand time. No safety equipment, and full tackling. We picked our own teams, ensured everyone played fairly, made certain that everyone got to play, and had a blast in the process. We played in the sun, we played in the rain. We played in the wind, we played in the snow.

We ran. We threw. We caught. We lived life to the fullest, as only boys can.

There was the odd bump or bruise, but never a serious injury. We never got into fights, as the game bred friendship and sportsmanship and honour of the good sort, not animosity.

The only school yard rules that we had were simple. No fighting. Stay on the school grounds. Obey the “duty” teachers on the playgrounds during recess. Be nice.

These were unwritten rules, as far as we knew. You didn’t need to have these written down. Everyone understood.

By the time that my sons were of a similar age–I’ll loosely define this as the grades 3 to 8 period–, my reading had suggested that misguided feminism had adversely affected the education system to make being a boy “bad.” When I checked with my boys’ school principal to see if tackling was still allowed, she told that it wasn’t, as it led to aggression. Only it doesn’t, as I know from experience. As Lenin stated, a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

Although my elementary school sons were forbidden from tackling or having any such fun on the school grounds, they knew how to change their tampons due to the school’s excellent state-mandated sex education program. This was a Catholic school, mind you. It was either while in grade 6 or 7 that my older son had a great laugh in his deadpan impersonation of his male teacher informing the class about cunnilingus.

I don’t think I learned what that word meant until I was 30.

Parents, do not despair, for all hope is not lost. There exists a single school in New Zealand where one brave principal has the courage to let kids be kids, which means that boys can be boys. In an uplifting article by the National Post’s Sarah Boesveld, we learn of Principal Bruce McLachlan’s brave and unheard of policy to–wait for it–let kids have fun on the school grounds.

Once Principal McLachlan threw out the rule book, so to speak, what he discovered was: “Fewer children were getting hurt on the playground. Students focused better in class. There was also less bullying, less tattling. Incidents of vandalism had dropped off.”

While Ms. Boesveld correctly discussed the fear of getting sued as a culprit behind schools’ taking all the fun out of the playground, there is a deeper problem. The sort of school that Principal McLachlan is running is the sort of school where boys will thrive. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. This is exactly what feminist education policy makers do NOT want.

Those who doubt this claim are encouraged to read Christina Hoff Sommers’, Ph.D. (and mother of boys), book The War Against Boys – How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men

Kudos to Principal McLaughlan for compassion, courage, and common sense. Kudos too to Ms. Boesveld and the National Post for a super article.

There is always hope.

Our schools need to help boys become men? Part III

17 Sep
In Part I, we saw an article that highlighted how poorly schools were doing with boys. In Part II, we saw that we should expect the exact opposite: there should be more boys excelling at school than girls, given the different distributions of intelligence.
So what the heck is going on?
To figure this out, we need to go back to Christina Hoff Sommer’s exceptional book The War Against Boys. Let’s do a super-condensced, Readers’ Digest version of it:
– In 1990, feminist Harvard academic Carol Gilligan informed the world that “America’s adolescent girls were in crisis.” Despite there being no real empirical evidence for this claim, feminists went berserk such that in a relatively short time, the topic became a virtual national emergency. Only there wasn’t one – it was all morbid feminist fantasy.
– Entities like the American Association of University Women (AAUW) marketed “research” which supported this girl-victim fantasy, but tended to ignore or exclude research showing that it wasn’t true. It’s as if every feminist organization in the US wanted this to be “true,” and went out of its way to make it appear so. And, as they say, a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.
– In response to this dire “crisis” – all feminist rubbish – Congress even enacted the Gender Equity in Education Act. Now feminist researchers and activists had even more money to “research” the non-existent problem of mass suffocation of girls’ education.
– The reality was that: girls were getting better grades; girls had higher educational aspirations; they followed amore rigorous academic program; they participated more in the prestigious Advanced Placement (AP) program; there were slightly more female students enrolled in high-level math and science courses; and girls outnumbered boys in student governments, at school newspapers, and even in debating clubs. Don’t get me going about reading and writing. Sports was the only area in which boys held a lead, and feminist activists targeted this “with a vengeance.”
– Even teachers generally believed the feminist propaganda – goodness knows the media was terribly irresponsible in parroting feminist claims. This was even though the truth of boys’ educational plight was staring teachers right in the face.
– Hence came a bunch of initiatives to address the girls’ “crisis.” What these were really doing was giving girls an unfair advantage in school. “In the United States, a proposal to do something special for boys usually gets plowed under before it has a chance to take root.” Britain was much more advanced than the US in recognizing boys’ problems; apparently Canada is nothing to brag about.
– As if this wasn’t bad enough, feminists starting to consider the cause of this girls’ “crisis.” Clearly it was due to “patriarchy” – according to feminists, boys were socialized to be dominant and to suppress adolescent girls in school. Thus, boys were to be socialized to be like girls. Thus, the very essence of being a boy became bad in the education system, although this wasn’t obvious. Feminists held that men were responsible for all violence.
– This more or less starts the feminist belief that gender is merely a “social construct” in earnest. Since boys’ gender is obviously bad (to feminists), they basically have to “educate” boys to behave socially like girls. Which, if you’re a boy, is really not much fun at all. Despite this having no basis in reality, this is what was and still is happening.
– Thus, you have the fabricated adolescent girls’ “crisis” at the very time that girls had generally caught up to boys in school. Feminists activists go to town to correct the “crisis,” and suppress any notion that this is all rubbish. Girls are given substantial extra resources to get ahead, while at the same time just being a boy was unofficially and surreptitiously declared to be “bad.” Normal male behaviour was effectively defined as bad and was to be driven out of them through deceptive educational policies and practices. As a result, boys are made to feel bad about themselves merely for being boys, although this is never generally openly stated.
All under the deranged feminist guise of the manufactured “crisis” for girls. How on Earth could such an outrageous, fraudulent, deceitful, duplicitous, heartless, cunning, manipulative and controlling feminist program of oppression of boys in the educational system ever have taken place, and why hasn’t it been corrected?
As it turns out, there is a very rational explanation as to why.
(To be continued …)

Our schools need to help boys become men? Part II

11 Sep

Having further thought about the topic of boys and schools, I’ve decided to break this subject into more parts than originally planned. Each part should be interesting in its own right, and the overall discussion will be easier to comprehend and more interesting.

I didn’t really understand the issue of boys and schools until I began analyzing feminism from a military perspective. Sounds weird, but it led to a fascinating discovery. This comes in subsequent posts. Anyhow, in the process I came across two incredible books by Christina Hoff Sommers, Ph.D.

Hoff Sommers is a mother of two boys. She is a bit of an intellectual “mama bear” in protecting her boys (and everyone else) from feminism. The first book was Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. (A must read for anyone who embraces or despises feminism.) The 2nd book – the mama bear one – was The War Against Boys – How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. It’s this 2nd book that I’ll focus on for the moment.

Hoff Sommers cites some important facts regarding intelligence and gender:

Nancy Cole, president of the Educational Testing Service, terms it the “spread” phenomenon. On almost any intelligence or achievement test, male scores are more spread out than female scores at the extremes of ability and disability: there are more male prodigies at the high-end and more males of marginal ability at the low-end. Or, as the political scientist James Q. Wilson once put it, “There are more male geniuses and more male idiots.”

To illustrate this concept – a picture’s worth a thousand words, after all -, here are the results of one major study on the topic:


We see that the girl’s curve is taller and narrower. Thus, in general girls tend to be closer to average (pink) in IQ scores than boys. The boy’s curve is shorter and wider. Thus, in general boys tend to be farther from average (pink) in IQ score than girls. Just like Hoff Sommers has informed us: there are more male geniuses (farther to the right of average) and more male idiots (farther to the left of average) than we find with females.

This is 100% pure statistics, and 0% gender politics. The sky is blue; the clouds are white. It is what it is, and nothing more.

Now pretend that you are a school district superintendent. You are responsible for a bunch of schools, and the education of all the district’s girls and boys. You know about gender and intelligence, so what do you expect to see in the overall results from your schools? One thing is that you might expect there to be more boys who excel academically than girls. (Let’s ignore possible other factors, such as work ethic differences).

That is, if our school system was working equally well for both genders, we would expect more boys than girls on the honour rolls, and perhaps more male high school graduates going off to university.

If we further consider the region to the left of the green line, since there are more male anti-geniuses, we might even expect more boys than girls to drop out of school at the higher grades, maybe in high school Grade 11 or 12. If this was actually happening to any significant degree, it would have the effect of shifting the remaining boys’ average intelligence to the right (or to a higher average) when compared to girls’.

Thus, we might expect more boys than girls amongst top students to be slightly even more pronounced. Not because boys are smarter than girls overall, because they are not. But because of the differences in how male and female intelligence scores are naturally distributed.

Yet according to our article from Part I, girls are absolutely creaming boys in school in terms of academic performance. I understand over 60% of students entering university are young women (which makes finding a good boyfriend tough, apparently). From our statistics, we would expect just the opposite of what is actually happening if our schools were working right. Therefore, there must be something wrong with our schools. They’re either grossly favouring girls, disadvantaging boys, or worst of all, both.

So what’s really going on? (to be continued …)

* * * A little more explanation on the graph for those interested * * *

I added the coloured lines in the image. If you go right, it means higher IQ scores. If you go left, it means lower IQ scores. For any given IQ score (i.e., left or right), how high the curve is above represents the percentage of boys or girls who score at that IQ level. Roughly, the higher the curve above a given IQ point, the more boys or girls will score there. Roughly again, the lower the curve above a given IQ point, the fewer boys or girls will score there.

The average IQ score for boys and girls is at the pink line. Average IQ, due to symmetry, occurs at each bell curve’s middle, which is also where its peak occurs. So, each peak happens at the average IQ score – it’s how bell curves work. Since the same vertical pink line hits both peaks, it means that both averages – boys’ and girls’ – must be the same. If the average intelligence scores for boys and girls were different, then these peaks (which occur at the IQ averages) would be offset from one another to the left or right, and then we would need two different pink lines. Or maybe a baby blue line one too instead.

To the right of the blue line is the “more male geniuses” region. The male curve is higher than the female curve in this region. The red double arrow highlights this difference (more male geniuses) at a single, arbitrary high IQ score. To the left of the green line is “more male anti-geniuses” (i.e., noticeably below average IQ scores). Once again, we find more boys than girls, as the male curve is higher than the female curve in this region too.

In contrast, we find more girls in the in-between region, as here the girls’ curve is higher. Girls’ intelligence scores tend to be closer to average than boys, so we find more girls here.

Our schools need to help boys become men? Part I

9 Sep

This article hit home for me as a father of two sons, now 17 and 19.  I thought it best to run this as a two-part post.

Part I is the short article from a respected Canadian newspaper. It deals with an issue I understand to be near-universal amongst the major English-speaking nations. There is no need to comment on Part I, other than to perhaps express interest or declare that you’ve read the article.

Part II will be my thoughts, and one work in particular that has corroborated these thoughts. It is here that I would invite comments from those interested, especially as to whether or not my Part II had any influence upon your final position (if indeed you have one).  Part II will probably happen on the weekend.

Here it is: Our schools need to help boys become men