Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Double Standard is Destroying Boys

This article makes a strong case for how the public schools have become very unfair to boys. Boys are suffering greatly as a result: decreased achievement, increased dropouts, not to mention increased Ritalin, increased teen suicide. Yet, the media has dismissed pleas for attention to boys as unnecessary. If girls had suffered such a decline, I'd bet a lot of money that the media wouldn't ignore it.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that situations for boys might be improved with single sex schools? Why or why not? If this became common practice, what do you think would be the effects on American society within a generation?

Marty Nemko said...

The data on single-sex schools is mixed. I think they'd be a plus if the teachers were truly boy-knowledgeable and empathic and the curriculum was boy-friendly.

But if I had a son in elementary school, what would be ideal would be a mixed-gender class but in which classees were grouped by student ability/achievement. It is almost impossible for a teacher to do a good job teaching a class with a wide range of student ability.

Grace said...

I was the program director at a summer camp for many years. Most of the weekly camps were co-ed, but there was always one week just for boys, and one week just for girls. The counsellors referred to the all-girls week as "Whine Week" and to the all-boys week "Hell Week". The all-boys camp was deemed too difficult to run, and was cancelled, while the all-girls camps continued for years after.

In school, I think that girls and boys have much to gain from each other provided the instructors understand the real needs of each student and can offer a truly supportive environment.

Marty Nemko said...

I completely agree with the last paragraph in Grace's comment.

Grace said...

One more thought.

As I reflect back on my summer camp experience, I think - this camp had been running an all-boys week for years - why was it not viable in the 90's?

Back in the 60's and 70's, camp was about survival techniques: lighting a fire, wood carving, long distance canoe trips, lighting a fire, building a shelter. There were even staff members who taught the boys wrestling/boxing.

In the 90's, it was all about cooperative games, dances, and crafts.

I think I see why it became a problem.

Anonymous said...

Love before logic Marty. Consider that going against this principle may even destroy families.

Marty Nemko said...

I think that "love before logic," has resulted in huge negative impacts on society. So many governmental programs are based on that assumption--to the nation's and world's detriment.

And I believe that unconditional love has destroyed more families than love tempered with consequences for behavior unworthy of love.

Anonymous said...

I think this double standard may be moving beyond the schools.


I read this article today. It's about Jericho Scott, a 9-year-old baseball pitcher that was told he can't pitch anymore because he's too good of a pitcher for his peers. He's actively being encouraged to NOT excel, NOT compete, and NOT do what he does best.

Everybody has to feel good and cooperate, even in a competitive sport.