K-12: The War on Boys and Men

Fox News just announced an upcoming series about the plight of Men in America.

"Men seem to be becoming less male," Tucker Carlson said.  "Something ominous is happening[.] ... Men are taught there is something wrong with them.  We took a close look at the numbers, and we found them so shocking that we're devoting the month of March to a special series on men in America." 

Carlson concluded, "You'll be stunned by the scope of the crisis.  We were.  It's a largely ignored disaster.  It affects every person in America." 

He noted, for example: "Men account for 77 percent of the nation's suicides, they are more than twice as likely to become alcoholics, they are more likely to die of an overdose than women, and 90 percent of inmates are men."

So what are the causes?  Eighteen years ago, Christina Hoff Sommers published The War on Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.  Sommers concluded, "It's a bad time to be a boy in America.  Boys are less likely than girls to go to college or do their homework.  They're more likely to cheat on tests, wind up in detention, or drop out[.]"  In short, Sommers found the causes in feminist theory and, more surprisingly, inside the nation's classrooms.

The dirty big secret here is that our public schools don't announce social engineering; they simply do it, especially with regard to altering how children view themselves.  Public schools suppress boys and uplift girls in many furtive ways.  This manipulation has been hugely successful: 57% of college students are female; 43% are male.  More women stay in college and earn advanced degree.  Women wear business suits, and men drive pickup trucks.  Culturally similar men and women who used to marry each other are now separated by class differences!

The question still haunts us: how exactly are America's social engineers able to win this war for females?

The discussion is tricky from every point of view.  However you might describe boys and girls, you'll invite argument about what is good and what is bad.  If you say girls are "more sensitive," is that an insult or a compliment?  The Atlantic Monthly nicely dances among many competing viewpoints:

[A] host of cross-cultural studies show that females ... are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals.  They also are more likely than boys to feel intrinsically satisfied with the whole enterprise of organizing their work, and more invested in impressing themselves and their teachers with their efforts[.] ... On the whole, boys approach schoolwork differently.  They are more performance-oriented.  Studying for and taking tests taps into their competitive instincts.  For many boys, tests are quests that get their hearts pounding.

David Sortino, a teacher, argues on his blog: "[G]irls work best when sitting in a circle facing each other and find it more comfortable to learn in a group setting.  Instead, boys often excel in a traditional class structure with desks lined in rows, which could support their more competitive energies and attention getting behaviors.

"Girls respond to stress as a threat, which drives blood to the gut rather than to the brain, placing them in a fight or flight persona.  However, for boys, it's the opposite.  They love to take risks and almost always overestimate their abilities."

QED: There are big, very real differences.  We should wonder if these differences are artificially induced and then exaggerated.  Oh, so that's why some schools have all students sitting around tables – because it's good for girls...?

What we know for sure is that girls are outperforming boys at all levels.  Is this good for the country?  Is it good for the girls?

The Economist reported:

A new study by the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development], a club of mostly rich countries, examined how 15-year-old boys and girls performed at reading, mathematics and science.  Boys still score somewhat better at maths, and in science the genders are roughly equal.  But when it comes to the students who really struggle, the difference is stark: boys are 50% more likely than girls to fall short of basic standards in all three areas [emphasis added].

Why are girls performing better at school than their male classmates?

"First," according to the OECD study, "girls read more than boys.  Reading proficiency is the basis upon which all other learning is built.  When boys don't do well at reading, their performance in other school subjects suffers too."

The basis upon which all other learning is built.  That is ominous.  Suppose social engineers figured out how to undercut reading.

One statistical site states that "[w]omen are more likely to develop solid reading skills.  Around 38% of men report reading at the lowest proficiency levels, compared to 33% for women."

Suppose our social engineers routinely seek to widen this gap.  That would be feasible because boys and girls respond in different ways to absurd instruction.

Girls, as noted, feel more comfortable in a group setting.  They want the whole group to move along harmoniously; they want their teacher to be successful.  The result is that they are more patient and long-suffering with dumb curricula and wrongly trained teachers.  Boys, on the other hand, are not so patient.  If there is a skill or a task, boys want to do well quickly.  Fair enough.  But what if the curriculum is inherently stupid and impossible to master?  Boys at some point will declare, I can't do this.  I don't want to do this.  I'm walking away.

Today, in Common Core, we see many absurdities almost perfectly designed to drive boys to escape and evasion.  The internet is full of videos of children weeping because instruction seems so illogical.  Little seven-year-olds are already beat up. 

But the paradigm of stupid instruction remains Whole Word.  That's where the student has to memorize the English language one word at a time.  The famous Dr. Samuel Orton, a neurologist, did a study in 1926-28 and declared that this method doesn't work...and, in addition, it will damage every child it touches.  He was exactly correct, and the Education Establishment knows it.  What do we see in the schools of America?  Millions of semi-literate children with messed up minds.

StatisticBrain claims that 32 million Americans "can't read."  Tens of millions more read marginally.  This is a vast national  tragedy.  Ask yourself, why is this tolerated?  Perhaps because it makes the population easier to control.  Perhaps because it enables the stratification of the sexes.

You want to fix it?  Fix reading.  I think the smarter people understand this.  But the Education Establishment won't let go because this particular stupid curriculum is the foundation for making women more successful and making men less successful.

Here is a good overview by TeacherMag:

But what if today's classroom and curriculum structure catered (however unintentionally) to one gender more than the other?  Many researchers say this is now the case, with boys facing an upward struggle from primary school on.  For many boys, co-educational public schools can be uncomfortable, unfriendly, unproductive places.  Teaching styles and disciplinary habits are often not suited to the average boy[.] ... In learning environments biased against their strengths, boys may become turned off or frustrated and may attempt to have their needs met by seeking negative attention.  This rebellion completes the circle of failure ... with many boys labelled as troublemakers or diagnosed with hyperactivity.

That can mean drugs, which make boys weaker and less manly.

Bruce Deitrick Price's new book is Saving K-12.  He deconstructs educational theories and methods on Improve-Education.org.  Support his work on Patreon.

Fox News just announced an upcoming series about the plight of Men in America.

"Men seem to be becoming less male," Tucker Carlson said.  "Something ominous is happening[.] ... Men are taught there is something wrong with them.  We took a close look at the numbers, and we found them so shocking that we're devoting the month of March to a special series on men in America." 

Carlson concluded, "You'll be stunned by the scope of the crisis.  We were.  It's a largely ignored disaster.  It affects every person in America." 

He noted, for example: "Men account for 77 percent of the nation's suicides, they are more than twice as likely to become alcoholics, they are more likely to die of an overdose than women, and 90 percent of inmates are men."

So what are the causes?  Eighteen years ago, Christina Hoff Sommers published The War on Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.  Sommers concluded, "It's a bad time to be a boy in America.  Boys are less likely than girls to go to college or do their homework.  They're more likely to cheat on tests, wind up in detention, or drop out[.]"  In short, Sommers found the causes in feminist theory and, more surprisingly, inside the nation's classrooms.

The dirty big secret here is that our public schools don't announce social engineering; they simply do it, especially with regard to altering how children view themselves.  Public schools suppress boys and uplift girls in many furtive ways.  This manipulation has been hugely successful: 57% of college students are female; 43% are male.  More women stay in college and earn advanced degree.  Women wear business suits, and men drive pickup trucks.  Culturally similar men and women who used to marry each other are now separated by class differences!

The question still haunts us: how exactly are America's social engineers able to win this war for females?

The discussion is tricky from every point of view.  However you might describe boys and girls, you'll invite argument about what is good and what is bad.  If you say girls are "more sensitive," is that an insult or a compliment?  The Atlantic Monthly nicely dances among many competing viewpoints:

[A] host of cross-cultural studies show that females ... are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals.  They also are more likely than boys to feel intrinsically satisfied with the whole enterprise of organizing their work, and more invested in impressing themselves and their teachers with their efforts[.] ... On the whole, boys approach schoolwork differently.  They are more performance-oriented.  Studying for and taking tests taps into their competitive instincts.  For many boys, tests are quests that get their hearts pounding.

David Sortino, a teacher, argues on his blog: "[G]irls work best when sitting in a circle facing each other and find it more comfortable to learn in a group setting.  Instead, boys often excel in a traditional class structure with desks lined in rows, which could support their more competitive energies and attention getting behaviors.

"Girls respond to stress as a threat, which drives blood to the gut rather than to the brain, placing them in a fight or flight persona.  However, for boys, it's the opposite.  They love to take risks and almost always overestimate their abilities."

QED: There are big, very real differences.  We should wonder if these differences are artificially induced and then exaggerated.  Oh, so that's why some schools have all students sitting around tables – because it's good for girls...?

What we know for sure is that girls are outperforming boys at all levels.  Is this good for the country?  Is it good for the girls?

The Economist reported:

A new study by the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development], a club of mostly rich countries, examined how 15-year-old boys and girls performed at reading, mathematics and science.  Boys still score somewhat better at maths, and in science the genders are roughly equal.  But when it comes to the students who really struggle, the difference is stark: boys are 50% more likely than girls to fall short of basic standards in all three areas [emphasis added].

Why are girls performing better at school than their male classmates?

"First," according to the OECD study, "girls read more than boys.  Reading proficiency is the basis upon which all other learning is built.  When boys don't do well at reading, their performance in other school subjects suffers too."

The basis upon which all other learning is built.  That is ominous.  Suppose social engineers figured out how to undercut reading.

One statistical site states that "[w]omen are more likely to develop solid reading skills.  Around 38% of men report reading at the lowest proficiency levels, compared to 33% for women."

Suppose our social engineers routinely seek to widen this gap.  That would be feasible because boys and girls respond in different ways to absurd instruction.

Girls, as noted, feel more comfortable in a group setting.  They want the whole group to move along harmoniously; they want their teacher to be successful.  The result is that they are more patient and long-suffering with dumb curricula and wrongly trained teachers.  Boys, on the other hand, are not so patient.  If there is a skill or a task, boys want to do well quickly.  Fair enough.  But what if the curriculum is inherently stupid and impossible to master?  Boys at some point will declare, I can't do this.  I don't want to do this.  I'm walking away.

Today, in Common Core, we see many absurdities almost perfectly designed to drive boys to escape and evasion.  The internet is full of videos of children weeping because instruction seems so illogical.  Little seven-year-olds are already beat up. 

But the paradigm of stupid instruction remains Whole Word.  That's where the student has to memorize the English language one word at a time.  The famous Dr. Samuel Orton, a neurologist, did a study in 1926-28 and declared that this method doesn't work...and, in addition, it will damage every child it touches.  He was exactly correct, and the Education Establishment knows it.  What do we see in the schools of America?  Millions of semi-literate children with messed up minds.

StatisticBrain claims that 32 million Americans "can't read."  Tens of millions more read marginally.  This is a vast national  tragedy.  Ask yourself, why is this tolerated?  Perhaps because it makes the population easier to control.  Perhaps because it enables the stratification of the sexes.

You want to fix it?  Fix reading.  I think the smarter people understand this.  But the Education Establishment won't let go because this particular stupid curriculum is the foundation for making women more successful and making men less successful.

Here is a good overview by TeacherMag:

But what if today's classroom and curriculum structure catered (however unintentionally) to one gender more than the other?  Many researchers say this is now the case, with boys facing an upward struggle from primary school on.  For many boys, co-educational public schools can be uncomfortable, unfriendly, unproductive places.  Teaching styles and disciplinary habits are often not suited to the average boy[.] ... In learning environments biased against their strengths, boys may become turned off or frustrated and may attempt to have their needs met by seeking negative attention.  This rebellion completes the circle of failure ... with many boys labelled as troublemakers or diagnosed with hyperactivity.

That can mean drugs, which make boys weaker and less manly.

Bruce Deitrick Price's new book is Saving K-12.  He deconstructs educational theories and methods on Improve-Education.org.  Support his work on Patreon.