Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why Are School-Age Boys Struggling? | Newsweek Education |

Why Are School-Age Boys Struggling? Newsweek Education

I certainly don't want to or intend to offend, but I have an opinion on this and nobody reads my blog anyway. The struggle that is described in this article was very evident to me as a school teacher. I have thought about it for the last several years, and at the risk of being politically incorrect at best and labeled a macho pig at worst. I think that a big part of this problem is exacerbated by the unequal proportions of men to women educators especially in the early grades. People all the time argue that men and women are equal, and they are and both should be treated equitably, but to ignore that fact that men and women are fundamentally, biologically, and psychologically different is foolish.

There is a disproportionate number of women educators especially in the early grades. Even the best and most educated and experienced female teacher simply can't remember what it was like to be a 'boy'. Largely our current educational practice, I am not talking the theory or the stated philosophy, but the actual practice encourages compliance. For thousands of years, boys that were strong, assertive, leaders were those that were encouraged. They became the Washingtons, the Martin Luther Kings Jr.s', the Lindbergh's, but now what is rewarded is compliance, submissiveness, obedience. "Sit down, and do you worksheet" We say on the surface we encourage innovation and leadership, but not when kids push back on the teachers decisions.

I know that in large part, at least in the state of Utah, part of the reason we have such a disproportionate number of male to female teachers has to do with salary. Your average Husband and Father simply can't provide effectively for his family as an educator. Salaries set by the State legislature are still based on the unspoken philosophy that teachers are: mostly housewives who want extra income for the family. Well, as long as that is true the kinds of men (and women, quite frankly) who are the most devoted spouses and best leaders are going to leave education creating a void for the boys who need a good example of how to be a good man without being disruptive to society.

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