Schools Discriminate Against Boys

Started by blackmanx, Jul 19, 2006, 01:19 PM

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Schoolboy's bias suit
Argues system is favoring girls
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff  |  January 26, 2006

At Milton High School, girls outnumber boys by almost 2 to 1 on the honor roll. In Advanced Placement classes, almost 60 percent of the students are female.

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Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts It's not that girls are smarter than boys, said Doug Anglin, a 17-year-old senior at the high school.

Girls are outperforming boys because the school system favors them, said Anglin, who has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys.

Among Anglin's allegations: Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes, and girls are rewarded for abiding by the rules, while boys' more rebellious ways are punished.

Grading on homework, which sometimes includes points for decorating a notebook, also favor girls, according to Anglin's complaint, filed last month with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

''The system is designed to the disadvantage of males," Anglin said. ''From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders, and listen to what they say, you'll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this."

An international group that examines equity in education called the complaint of discrimination against boys rare. And Milton school officials denied that girls get better treatment than boys. But the female student body president, Kelli Little, voiced support for Anglin's views.

Anglin, a soccer and baseball player who wants to go to the College of the Holy Cross, said he brought the complaint in hope that the Education Department would issue national guidelines on how to boost boys' academic achievement.

Research has found that boys nationwide are increasingly falling behind girls, especially in reading and writing, and that they are more likely to be suspended, according to a 2005 report by the Educational Equity Center of the Academy for Educational Development, an international nonprofit group with headquarters in Washington, D.C.

While school officials said their goal is to help all students improve, the Milton High principal, John Drottar, , suggested in an interview that there may be ways to reach out to underachieving boys. Drottar said the high school plans to reinstitute a mentoring program that will pair low-achieving students with teachers.

While it will not specifically recruit male students, boys are likely to make up a large portion of the students served, he said.

''We're aware of it," Drottar said. ''We're looking into it. On a school basis, does that mean we should look at each classroom and see if we have to encourage boys a little more than girls now? Yeah, it probably does."

Anglin -- whose complaint was written by his father, who is a lawyer in Boston -- is looking for broader changes. He says that teachers must change their attitudes toward boys and look past boys' poor work habits or rule-breaking to find ways to encourage them academically.
y book, Men's Rights Activists.


Girls Against Boys?  
Katha Pollitt

I went to Radcliffe, the women's wing of Harvard, at a time when the combined undergraduate student body was fixed at four male students for every female one. I don't remember anyone worrying about the boys' social lives, or whether they would find anyone to marry--even though nationally, too, boys were more likely to go to college and to graduate than girls. When in 1975 President Derek Bok instituted equal-access admissions, nobody said, "Great idea, more marital choice for educated men!"

What a difference a few decades and a gender revolution make. Now, although both sexes are much more likely to go to college than forty years ago--the proportion of the population enrolled in college is 20 percentage points higher today than in 1960--girls have edged ahead of boys. Today, women make up 57 percent of undergraduates, and the gap is projected to reach 60/40 in the next few years. This year, even manly Harvard admitted more girls than boys to its freshman class. So of course the big question is, Who will all those educated women marry? "Advocates for women have been so effective politically that high schools and colleges are still focusing on supposed discrimination against women," writes John Tierney in a recent New York Times column. "You could think of this as a victory for women's rights, but many of the victors will end up celebrating alone." If the ladies end up cuddling with their diplomas, they have only themselves--and those misguided "advocates for women"--to blame. Take that, you hyper-educated spinster, you.

The conservative spin on the education gender gap is that feminism has ruined school for boys. "Why would any self-respecting boy want to attend one of America's increasingly feminized universities?" asks George Gilder in National Review. "Most of these institutions have flounced through the last forty years fashioning a fluffy pink playpen of feminist studies and agitprop 'herstory,' taught amid a green goo of eco-motherism and anti-industrial phobia." Sounds like fun, but it doesn't sound much like West Texas A&M, Baylor, Loyola or the University of Alabama, where female students outnumber males in about the same proportion as they do at trendy Berkeley and Brown. Even Hillsdale College, the conservative academic mecca that became famous for rejecting federal funds rather than comply with government regulations against sex discrimination, has a student body that is 51 percent female. Other pundits--Michael Gurian, Kate O'Beirne, Christina Hoff Sommers--blame the culture of elementary school and high school: too many female teachers, too much sitting quietly, not enough sports and a feminist-friendly curriculum that forces boys to read--oh no!--books by women. Worse--books about women.

For the record, in middle school my daughter was assigned exactly one book by a woman: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. In high school she read three, Mrs. Dalloway, Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin, while required reading included male authors from Shakespeare and Fitzgerald and Sophocles to (I kid you not) James Michener and Richard Adams, author of Watership Down. Four books in seven years: Is that what we're arguing about here? Furthermore, I don't know where those pundits went to school, but education has always involved a lot of sitting, a lot of organizing, a lot of deadlines and a lot of work you didn't necessarily feel like doing. It's always been heavily verbal--in fact, today's textbooks are unbelievably dumbed down and visually hyped compared with fifty years ago. Conservatives talk as if boys should be taught in some kind of cross between boot camp and Treasure Island--but what kind of preparation for modern life would that be? As for the decline of gym and teams and band--activities that keep academically struggling kids, especially boys, coming to school--whose idea was it to cut those "frills" in the first place if not conservatives?

If the mating game worked fine when women were ignorant and helpless and breaks down when they smarten up, that certainly tells us something about marriage. But does today's dating scene really consist of women who love Woolf and men who love Grand Theft Auto? College may not create the intellectual divide elite pundits think it does. (Just spend some time looking at student life as revealed at if you really want to get depressed about American universities.) For most students, it's more like trade school--they go to get credentials for employment and, because of the sexist nature of the labor market, women need those credentials more than men. Believe it or not, there are still stereotypically male jobs that pay well and don't require college degrees--plumbing, cabinetry, electrical work, computer repair, refrigeration, trucking, mining, restaurant cuisine. My daughter had two male school friends, good students from academically oriented families, who chose cooking school over college. Moreover, as I'll discuss in my next column, sex discrimination in employment is alive and well: Maybe boys focus less on school because they think they'll come out ahead anyway. What solid, stable jobs with a future are there for women without at least some higher ed? Heather Boushey, an economist with the Center for Economic Policy and Research, noted that women students take out more loans than their male classmates, even though a BA does less to increase their income. The sacrifice would make sense, though, if the BA made the crucial difference between respectable security and a lifetime as a waitress or a file clerk.

This is not to say that boys make the right choice when they blow off school, or even that it always is a choice. People's ideas about life often lag behind reality--some boys haven't gotten the message about the decline of high-paying blue-collar work, or the unlikeliness of rap or sports stardom, the way some girls haven't gotten the message that it is foolish, just really incredibly stupid, to rely on being supported by a man. Most of them, however, have read the memo about having, if not a career exactly, career skills. Their mothers, so many of them divorced and struggling, made sure of that. As for the boys, maybe they will just have to learn to learn in a room full of smart females.
y book, Men's Rights Activists.


Would boys be experiencing so many manufactured difficulties in their lives, if their natural fathers were not routinely forced out of their families ? Forced out by, and in preference for paid male befrienders, paid probationers, paid social workers, paid lawyers, paid psychologists, paid jailers, paid juvenile offender guardians-at-litem and paid bail-bondsmen.

This lot represent self-interested professional father substitutes for profit, whom only exist to systematically rationalise the monetisation and commodification of boys and fathers by their enproblematisation ?
Public release date: 31-May-2012
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Economic & Social Research Council
UK children need more volunteer male befrienders

Many boys say they would prefer a male befriender according to early findings, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Yet, less than a quarter of UK volunteer child befrienders are men.

"The shortage means many boys in need of a strong male presence in their lives are missing out on the adult male companionship they would like," states researcher Dr Sue Milne of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh.

Many of the children referred to befriending services face difficulties at home or in school. Some have learning or behavioural problems; others have been affected by the death or imprisonment of a parent, or by parental substance/ alcohol abuse.

"Befrienders offer relationships to children without being goal orientated. They make a very valuable contribution to the lives of children living in difficult circumstances," says Dr Milne. "They provide friendship and support as well as the chance for the children to try new activities and enjoy themselves out of the house."

To discover whether the gender of their 'befriender' matters to children themselves, researchers talked in depth with boys and girls aged 6-15 about their hopes for, and experience of, befriending.

"Boys with a strong sense of a conventional male identity expressed a clear preference for a male befriender - someone with whom they could spend some 'guy time' and share interests and activities," Dr Milne points out. Speaking of their concerns with a female befriender, some boys said:

"If I said I wanted to do a bit of woodwork or something, they'd say oh why would you want to do that, go and do something else or they just wouldn't join in as much as a man would."
"I think with having my befriender we can do more of the go-karting, crashing into things, running around stuff... we can go cycling, and... he can help me and if he crashes I can help him."
"It would make a difference, like, if a man takes you out somewhere, it would be... like going to play basketball or going to a football tournament."
"No offence to any of the girls that I hang around with but I just ... prefer to be with guys."
Researchers suggest that girls, particularly those from lone mother families, could also benefit from a male befriender. At present, however, the shortage of volunteer male befrienders coupled with concerns voiced by some regarding the appropriateness of such a relationship means girls are rarely matched with men.

This lack of opportunity for girls to have a male befriender is unfortunate, says Dr Milne. "There's no reason why male befrienders shouldn't be matched with girls," argues Dr Milne. "Certainly the only girl in our study who was matched with a male befriender said she had gained a great deal, particularly in confidence, from the experience."

All children, Dr Milne suggests, would benefit from having greater contact with non-familial adults of different genders and generations. Given the predominantly female care provided to young children both at home and at primary school, children of both sexes could benefit from more contact with men. "How many opportunities are there today, particularly for young children from lone mother families, to experience men in their lives?" she asks.

"Clearly children should have this opportunity," Dr Milne continues, "and a male befriender can certainly fulfil this very important role. More than 75 per cent of children referred to befriending services come from lone mother households. If more male befrienders came forward it would provide welcome options not just for boys but also for girls."

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