Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Boy Crisis

"A study to be released today looking at long-term trends in test scores and academic success argues that widespread reports of U.S. boys being in crisis are greatly overstated and that young males in school are in many ways doing better than ever." I hope this is true, but I am not yet persuaded.

Discussions - 7 Comments

One obvious difficulty with the study is that it considers only elementary and middle school boys, when the crisis has long been found in secondary school boys. Test scores show kids doing reasonably well until eighth grade, and that drastic declines occur after that. The study also focuses on men 25-29 going to college, who have in some sense grown up, but neglects the problems with the younger men who are struggling to keep up because of their poor high school preparation.

Rather than worry about which study says what, I think I’ll just concentrate of raising my boys as best I can. Let the head-sheds research...I’ve got men to raise.

If you look at the graph at the bottom of the story it seems to confirm much of what Larry Summers was saying, doesn’t it? But this is the most disturbing part of the report and it seems to confirm Conservative worries about the potential mistreatment of boys in today’s educational system:

The report notes that boys are far more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities. Two-thirds of students in special education classes are male.

My sister teaches special ed kindergarten in Cleveland and I can tell you that she always complains that the regular kindergarten teachers are sending her all their "problem children" who are just active (or naughty) not learning disabled. Of course, she sends them back. But she is not very popular with those teachers as a result. I wonder if there aren’t many other special ed teachers with less fortitude accepting this abuse of both themselves and their students in order not to make waves. It seems to me to be a reasonable assumption--particularly given the 2/3 boys information because I find it highly unlikely that there are that many more boys with learning "problems" than girls.

If you want to see test scores improve in public education I might suggest three things;
1. Dress Code -I know that the jury is still out on this one but if you have seen what our young ladies are wearing in school and to a certain extent the young gentlemen, you can see where some of the distractions start. 2. Reading, reading, and more reading! -Not text book reading, not just in English but the good stuff across the board. I have noticed an incredible drop off in students having a voracious appetite for books starting about 7th and 8th grades. 3. Expand PTA until 12th grade. Elementary parents are incredible in the amount they are involved as well as the money they raise in these organizations. Why should this stop at junior high? It seems simple but from a teacher’s standpoint having your parents buy what your district is selling is a very important component.

I think we need to pay close attention to the current state of public education. Our clientele has changed tremendously over the last four years. Much of this current generation merely chose to ride their seats for 7+ hours a day and do not see the benefit to a free education until it is too late.

Took two of my boys to basketball camp (run by a famous ex-NBA star) this morning. Paid the $350 registration for the two of them. When my boys had left for the gymnasium, I spoke with the camp director about making a scholarship donation. I asked if is was too late to find a needy kid to attend. He assured me it wasn’t too late; they had names and phone numbers on a list for just that purpose. I wrote the check. He was very, very grateful.
Moral? We intact, two-parent households absolutely NEED to "raise men". We ALSO need to extend a helping hand to those in our communities who don’t routinely experience the normalcy (dare I say, "privilege"?) we enjoy every day.

-A deeply conservative Catholic father who still, I’m afraid, has not "given until it hurts." Pace’, Mother Teresa.

I don’t know, Anon. As good as that sounds, a lot of our problems today stem from subsidizing single-parent family formation. I guess it is important to help the boys...yes, definitely. But how do we do this without encouraging more single momhood?

Two cheers for the uniform idea...what these girls (and sometimes boys) aren’t wearing is major league distraction. I think strict dress codes would be preferrable to uniforms, however.

Dain, your concern about "enabling" single-parent households is legitimate. But what government and "personal" policy ought to be on the "front end" (i.e. before an unmarried woman gets pregnant) is necessarily different once the child is born and being raised. Again, I’m coming at this as a husband and father in an intact, two-parent family, who’s been materially (and every other way) blessed. More important than writing checks is to get the children of single-parent homes exposed to and involved in the hectic normalcy that is present in two-parent homes. Let them experience a father’s presence and concern, albeit imperfectly.
But yesterday, it just seemed the right thing to do to enable (there’s that word again) a child to attend a camp, who otherwise would not. BTW, the ex-NBA star who runs the camp hammers on personal character development (the camp t-shirt reads: "___’s 5Ds: Dedication, Determination, Desire, Discipline and Decision-Making" on the back.) throughout the camp. When we pulled up to register yesterday at 7:55am, he was out picking up trash in front of the (predominantly Hispanic, non-affluent) high school. My boys reported that there was a LOT of emphasis on defense yesterday, and it hurt!

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