Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Boy problems again

Here’s an excellent article on why boys are often left behind in school.

Update: Newsweek has a big package on this issue, which, among other things, points out the importance of fathers (for whom uncles, mentors, Big Brothers, etc. are only imperfect substitutes).

Discussions - 8 Comments

Why are boys being left behind? It’s because the schools aren’t teaching the boys useful stuff, like how to whittle. And whatever happened to home ec for the girls?

Most of the people quoted in this article (some of whom I know) have Ph.D.s. Why can’t the times find those letters on their keyboard?

Otherwise, I think this article points out a very real problem with schools. No child is meant to sit, read, listen, and obey quietly for hours on end. Boys have a much tougher time than do girls. As a result, and since the NCLB Act, boys are treated more than ever as nuisances, since they tend to bring a school’s scores down. And, instead of receiving more (or better) support, they are given Ritalin, suspension, expulsion, paddling (in the states that still permit it, much to their shame) and referral to "special" settings, leaving behind the obedient, quiet ones that don’t taz the teachers as much.

Speaking of finding the correct keys:

That should read "Times" and not times, and "tax," and not taz.

woah, Fung

are you suggesting there are inherent differences between the sexes?? Are you an essentialist?!? Seriously?

wm - I see relatively stable and consistent patterns that differentiate the sexes. I believe that the research points to an interaction between inherent differences due to chromosomal/ hormonal differences and gender roles that are provided culturally. Does that surprise you?

Also, I am philosophically challenged. What is an essentialist?

AS I understand it - and in my research I avoid gender issues like the plague - essentialists (in the matter of gender) are those that believe some qualities are essential in men or women. This is opposed by those who believe that all apparent sex differences beyond basic anatomy are the result of "nurture," and are not essential. As I understand it a Foucaultian or Lacanian, for ecxample, would argue gender is a constructed category.

Thanks, wm.

I would agree that gender and sex are different. In fact, a good bit of Jacquelynn Eccles’s research is based on that distinction. Sex is what we are born with, and gender is more about how we live with, and identify with, the anatomical differences.

Academically, I find this stuff a bit boring, but when my sons and their friends are confronted with systematic differences in expectation, punishment, and respect at achool, then I become interested personally.

Boys are left behind in school because they seek glory outside of the traditional academic structure, especially extra curricular activities. Ask most high school football players would you rather win a championship this season or get a 4.0? Any of them worth anything would answer that they desire a championship, and just because such a championship is in many cases more elusive than even straight A’s does not mean that student atheletes won’t pour more time into football than books. In fact most high school students would rather watch the NFL than study. If you think about it there are a 1001 occupations for time out there and since the number of hours in a day hasn’t changed one can deduce that fewer boys give a rats ass relatively speaking.

I mean come on, is this rocket science? An increase in the number of fun things to do relative to the same old same old means that less time gets spent on grades.

But why a difference between boys and girls? boys play more video games, listen to more music, watch more TV, stay on the internet longer, and focus more on high school sports ceteris paribus than girls. More time and energy expended on things other than school vs. the opposite sex, also means that boys as a group will have more in common with boys who are not nerds, Therefore studying is less cool among those who spend time doing less of it. For a host of reasons it is self-perpetuating. But it all comes back to how individuals use discretionary time. Look at the Koreans (asians in general) studying is an extra-curricular...hence they do better than average. But didn’t the Air Force Coach get in trouble for suggesting that they recruit asians instead of blacks? (most asians spend little time on atheletics vs. african-americans.)

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