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Men and Women

Too Cool for School?

Interesting hypothesis:

Women follow rules better than men do, so the women do better in school.  But, there is no correlation between doing well in school and doing well in adult life. And there might be a reverse correlation, because school is about doing what you're told, but strong performers in business make their own rules. Maybe this is why most big law firms have no women in their top 10 rainmakers. This is because it's an ill-defined, outside-the-rules-of-what-you-learn-in-law-school kind of job. But these are the people who make the money and have the flexibility to have a lifestyle they want outside of work--one not so hours-bound. So for women to really get the kind of workplace they want - flexible, responsive, and engaging, the women are going to need to break some rules.

Categories > Men and Women

Discussions - 7 Comments

The same holds in my industry. The top sales people are those who know how to operate outside the box to make things happen.

And we have quite a few very good female sales people.

I am a "by-the-rules" guy. I tried sales at one point in my career. I was awful at it. It simply is not in my nature.

That which produces results is sought out and rewarded.

I don't find much in this with which I can quibble . . . but I would say, too, that one thing I have always considered as a possible explanation for male under-performance in school is the hyper-abundance of female teachers--especially in the lower grades. Not that some of these female teachers cannot or do not inspire learning in male students, because some do. But I would wager that those who do are not the same teachers who hold to prevailing education and social theory about the insignificance of sex differences. Going one further, they are likely to be teachers who not only do not deny those differences but also do not resent them.

Juli: Your take is right on. I experienced the same issue with my son in public and private school. Too many females who a) really hated boys or b) just did not know how to deal with them effectively. Of course there are a few female teachers in the minority of course that can handle boys. Homeschooling him was the answer.

When I was in Catholic elementary school boys and girls were treated differently. When boys fought, the priest would take them into the old CCD hall, put on boxing gloves and safety gear and let them have at it. This would take about 15 minutes and the two boys would end the fight as friends and go on like nothing happened. Of course this would not work with the girls.
The Catholic schools were able to identify the wonderful difference between boys and girls. This is one of the secrets to their academic success and the reason for failure in the public schools.

The deficit of performance boys show today has erupted in the last 30 years, so one ought to be skeptical that it reflects abiding differences between the male and the female. One might assume that the institutional culture of the school is an aspect of it. My own contemporaries were commonly in households sundered by divorce, but compared to a generation ago, a far higher proportion of children are born as bastards and go through their lives without fathers in the strict sense. The sire or the mother's subsequent squeeze may be present but any authority he has over the youth is derivative.

There ARE abiding differences between male and female but, since a general capacity for academic work is not one of them, I think you are right to be skeptical about the notion that these differences per se are now the cause of the deficit of performance for today's boys. Rather, I think the culture of today's schools in reflecting an overly feminine approach to education puts off a good number of boys who might--under different conditions--thrive. There are also the social considerations you mention and those are not at all to be dismissed. But if a school or a school district wants to do something about these deficits, they are more likely to be able to have some success addressing the first problem than they are in noting the second. There is nothing the schools can do about that, after all . . . If, however, they can reach these boys in some way perhaps there will be less of the second problem a generation or so into the future . . .

I swear, it's the video games. They cater to everything young boys/men find sexy: Competition, violence, score-keeping, teamwork, you name it, a video game provides an endless supply of it, and without all the messiness of actually forging real human relationships. As entertaining as they are, I suspect they constitute a virtual (no pun intended) holocaust of academic achievement for young men.

I have no solutions.

Two things. They got rid of prayer and got rid of corporal punishment. Know Jesus, know paddlin'. No Jesus, no paddlin'.

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