Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Christina Sommers: Where the Boys Are(n't)



"If boys are in trouble, it's a women's issue - we're all in trouble."

Christina Sommers talks about the effects of a philosophy that can be somewhat hostile to young men: Women's Rights. Advocating for recognition of gender differences while maintaining equality, Sommers discusses the implications, risks, and consequences of consistently supporting and encouraging females only.

16 Comments:

At 9/07/2010 9:26 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

the great problem with all the affirmative action programs is that they are largely based on two statements that do not reconcile:

i am equal to you.

i demand preferential treatment.

predicating either one on the other does not really make any sense and offends basic notions of fairness.

you have to pick one or the other.

 
At 9/07/2010 10:04 AM, Blogger QT said...

Morganovich,

Could not agree more. To give preferential treatment to one group at the expense of another in society is inefficient and inequitable. Not sure that Christina Sommers emphasis on organizations is really the decisive factor although I agree that the nature of the problem must be researched to understand the unique needs of boys.

Was surprised that the idea of segregating girls and boys in school was not mentioned. The attention on behavior (sitting still, being quiet), the methods of teaching like lecture, and testing methods that favor seriation and ideaphoria tend to be more oriented towards girls. Wouldn't it be logical to develop teaching methods that more actively engage boys in their learning?

Your thoughts?

 
At 9/07/2010 12:38 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

qt-

i'm not sure. your argument that males and females learn differently is very likely true. this would seem to imply that, yes, dividing classes by sex might be of merit.

however, it's important to realize that those categories are just bell curve centers. it would not be best for everyone. if you're going to break up classes by learning style, then shouldn't you use actual tested learning style to do it as opposed to do it rather than the coarser sieve of sex? i lack the background to be able to tell you even if male/female is the most important bifurcation of learning styles. might it be visual vs auditory thinkers or any one of any number of other dichotomies? has anyone studied that credibly?

it would also never fly to break classes up by sex. invariably, someone would claim the boys were getting a better education and demand access. this is precisely what happened to all the new england boarding schools. mine was co-ed, but when i was there, many were still single sex. the girls sued their way into all the boy's schools. of interest, the girls schools are still mostly all girl.

i for one am glad to have had girls at my school. 4 years in the woods without a date did not sound appealing to me.

one could also argue that the existing format is a sort of compromise. the real world is not going to have 2 meetings segregated by sex or two corporate policies. you might actually wind up handicapping someone by teaching them to learn in a way that the world won't work when they graduate. i'm not really sure where i come down on that.

 
At 9/07/2010 1:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich said:

"the great problem with all the affirmative action programs is that they are largely based on two statements that do not reconcile:

i am equal to you.

i demand preferential treatment.
"

The bridge between those two irreconcilable statements necessarily blurs the distinction between individuals and groups, and usually goes something like this:

"I am equal to you, however your group has mistreated my group in some way, therefore to help correct for this accumulated balance of unfairness, I demand preferential treatment."

In fact, this argument is often presented, not by the potentially aggrieved individuals themselves, but by elite third parties who believe they are so wise that they know what is best for all of us.

 
At 9/07/2010 1:13 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

QT

Thanks for the two new vocabulary words:

'seriation' and 'ideaphoria'

:-)

 
At 9/07/2010 1:26 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

i think the distinction you are driving at can be best described as the difference between pursuing equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.

it's one thing to say we all have the same rights, but a very different thing to say we should all get the same results.

the problem with the latter is that not only does it never stop once it starts, but that it punished people who did not commit an offense.

an 18 year old student looking to get into college was not a part of the jim crow laws, but it is they who must give up their place to someone with lower scores. there is no ethical basis for punishing them, merely a new cycle of victimization with the other side holding the power. expecting it not to result in the same ethical problems and animosities that the last one did seems a bit of a stretch.

if it was wrong to ask rosa parks to give up her seat (and i believe it was) then why is it OK to ask rosie mcdonald to give up her seat in college? i find it terribly disingenuous that so many people purporting to be incensed by the former so vigorously support the latter.

 
At 9/08/2010 6:28 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from QT: "Wouldn't it be logical to develop teaching methods that more actively engage boys in their learning?"

Quote from morganovich: "if you're going to break up classes by learning style, then shouldn't you use actual tested learning style to do it as opposed to do it rather than the coarser sieve of sex?"

Here's an idea. Let the parents decide how they want their children educated, stop centrally planning education, and get the government out of the education business.

 
At 9/08/2010 9:18 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

geo-

i'm another big proponent of that idea.

we spend $12,600 per student per year on public education.

that's $250k per class of 20. for that kind of money, we need to be doing much, much better.

 
At 9/08/2010 3:54 PM, Blogger QT said...

morganovich,

Have to agree that in a country as litigious as the U.S., segregation by sex is likely a non-starter.

Would agree that sex is a coarse sieve by comparison to aptitude testing. The challenge becomes one of resources and resistence within the educational community.

One of the fundamental problems with the present approach to education is that the focus is on raising students to the same level of basic skill/competence rather than focusing developing areas of high aptitude.

 
At 9/09/2010 10:37 AM, Blogger juandos said...

My gosh!

What nonsense!

Boys are doing worse than girls in school?!?!

So where are the responsible adults that are the boys' parents and what are they doing about it?

Where is the discipline and the follow through by the responsible adults or adults that should be acting responsibly?

Don't like the politcally correct crapola being foisted off in taxpayer funded public schools?

There are alternatives and they should be used...

 
At 9/09/2010 11:06 AM, Blogger QT said...

Thanks for the reality check, Juandos.

 
At 9/09/2010 9:16 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Here's an excellent article on affirmative action by Walter Williams

 
At 9/10/2010 9:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Man! I love Walter William's common sense...

Thanks for the link Ron H...

How about a small dose from that other great economist, Thomas Sowell?

If the stimulus isn't working, the true believers have to believe that it is only because it hasn't been tried long enough, or with enough money being spent...

 
At 9/11/2010 1:59 PM, Blogger FeFe said...

I think this might be why Autism, which affects boys more than girls, has gotten such limited attention. And the first focus was on refrigerator mothers which was wrong. 1 in 90 American children; a generation lost.

 
At 9/11/2010 3:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"How about a small dose from that other great economist, Thomas Sowell?"

Another of my favorites.

I'm currently working my way through this great book. A collection of some of his best columns.

 
At 9/16/2010 9:47 PM, Blogger rose 57 said...

Is it possible that boys are finding rewarding employment in male dominated positions that pay well enough to make a career out of it? IE How many electricians, plumbers, construction supervisors are women? Maybe the university degree is not essential to all the work our economy needs done.

 

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