Christina Hoff-Sommers’ 2001 book The WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, the second of her books criticizing radical feminism, really introduced the idea that modern public education is failing boys, misdiagnosing them as learning disabled when really, they were just approaching learning like, well, boys. That is, they weren’t as compliant, they wanted to know WHY they were learning things, and they are emotionally behind girls of the same age, and maturation expectations are unrealistic for many boys.
This past week, Albert Mohler reported on an article from City Journal that confirms the data in Sommers’ book. The source article, How the Schools Shortchange Boys, is well worth the read. It confirms not only the harm that radical feminism (as opposed to healthy feminism) has done, it displays how badly we need to reform public education, and how those of us who want to have healthy, successful kids ought to look for alternates to public education in the meantime.
Here are some critical points (my titles):
1. Boys, by nature, challenge authority
As Sommers understood, it is boys ‘aggressive and rationalist nature’ redefined by educators as a behavioral disorder’ that’s getting so many of them in trouble in the feminized schools. Their problem: they don’t want to be girls.
2. If you don’t answer the important questions boys ask, they disengage
When a teacher assigns a paper or a project, girls will obediently flip their notebooks open and jot down the due date. Teachers love them. God loves them. Girls are calm and pleasant. They succeed through cooperation.
Boys will pin you to the wall like a moth. They want a rational explanation for everything. If unconvinced by your reasons – or if you don’t bother to offer any – they slouch contemptuously in their chairs, beat their pencils, or watch the squirrels outside the window.
3. Our current system labels healthy male behaviors “learning disabled”
The notion of male ethical inferiority first arises in grammar school, where women make up the overwhelming majority of teachers. It’s here that the alphabet soup of supposed male dysfunctions begins. And make no mistake: while girls occasionally exhibit symptoms of male-related disorders in this world, females diagnosed with learning disabilities simply don’t exist.
4. Labeling our boys as “learning disabled” is mostly a self-fulfilling prophecy
In the first IEP (Individualized Educational Program) meeting, the boy and his parents learn the results of disability testing. When the boy hears from three smiling adults that he does indeed have a learning disability, his young face quivers like Jell-O. For him, it was never a hustle. From then on, however, his expectations of himself – and those of his teachers – plummet.
5. White males are now almost absent or relegated to the bottom rungs in our textbooks
But even in their superficial aspects, the textbooks advertise publishers’ intent to pander to the prevailing PC attitudes. The books feature page after page of healthy, exuberant young girls in winning portraits. Boys (white boys in particular) will more often than not be shunted to the background in photos or be absent entirely or appear sitting in wheelchairs.
6. Male characteristics actually help them excel in the hard sciences
In today’s feminized classroom, with its ‘cooperative learning’ and ‘inclusiveness,’ a student’s demand for assurance of a worthwhile outcome for his effort isn’t met with a reasonable explanation but is considered inimical to the educational process. Yet it’s this very trait, innate to boys and men, that helps explain male success in the hard sciences, math, and business.
Interest in people v. things
Of course, we have in the recent past had overly *masculinized* education. The advances of healthy feminism have gone a good way towards correcting that. But radical and lesbian feminism, which hates the true masculine, and has tried to get us to buy that equal also means “the same,” and that gender norms based on biology are harmful to “non-traditional gender identities” (read gays/transgenders), has damaged our entire culture, from education to marriage and sexuality. It’s time to return to the rational approach, which is that boys and girls are different, and have unique needs and learning styles. Me, I think they should be educated separately until a certain age so that they can focus on education that is designed for them.