03 March 2008

Single Sex Education, Mind the Difference

Boys and girls have different ways of learning. But modern schools are biased toward a girl's way of learning. This hurts boys, which is evident by educational statistics showing increasing numbers of boys driven away from higher education over time.
Boys are currently behind their sisters in high-school and college graduation rates. School, the boy-crisis argument goes, is shaped by females to match the abilities of girls (or, as Sax puts it, is taught “by soft-spoken women who bore” boys). In 2006, Doug Anglin, a 17-year-old in Milton, Mass., filed a civil rights complaint with the United States Department of Education, claiming that his high school — where there are twice as many girls on the honor roll as there are boys — discriminated against males. His case did not prevail in the courts, but his sentiment found support in the Legislature and the press. That same year, as part of No Child Left Behind, the federal law that authorizes programs aimed at improving accountability and test scores in public schools, the Department of Education passed new regulations making it easier for districts to create single-sex classrooms and schools.

...Among advocates of single-sex public education, there are two camps: those who favor separating boys from girls because they are essentially different and those who favor separating boys from girls because they have different social experiences and social needs. Leonard Sax represents the essential-difference view, arguing that boys and girls should be educated separately for reasons of biology: for example, Sax asserts that boys don’t hear as well as girls, which means that an instructor needs to speak louder in order for the boys in the room to hear her; and that boys’ visual systems are better at seeing action, while girls are better at seeing the nuance of color and texture.

...After visiting a handful of single-sex schools, Sax threw himself into studying neurological differences between males and females, eventually focusing on how to protect boys from a syndrome he calls “failure to launch,” which Sax often characterizes as caring more about getting a Kilimanjaro in Halo 3 than performing well in high school or taking a girl on a date. Among his early proposals was that boys should start kindergarten at age 6, a year later than girls, in order to ease the “sense of scholastic incompetence” that so many boys feel early on because they tend to develop later. Several friends quickly convinced Sax that American families would never go for this. So Sax started thinking it might be better for boys and girls to be in different classrooms.

...For boys, he said: “You need to get them up and moving. That’s based on the nervous system, that’s based on eyes, that’s based upon volume and the use of volume with the boys.” Chadwell, like Sax, says that differences in eyesight, hearing and the nervous system all should influence how you instruct boys. “You need to engage boys’ energy, use it, rather than trying to say, No, no, no. So instead of having boys raise their hands, you’re going to have boys literally stand up. You’re going to do physical representation of number lines. Relay races. Ball tosses during discussion.” For the girls, Chadwell prescribes a focus on “the connections girls have (a) with the content, (b) with each other and (c) with the teacher. If you try to stop girls from talking to one another, that’s not successful. So you do a lot of meeting in circles, where every girl can share something from her own life that relates to the content in class.”___NYT

Boys are different than girls? Well, who cares? Certainly not teachers' unions, the ACLU, university schools of education, and most of the rest of the education-industrial complex.

Another important factor being ignored in North American education is that boys need male role models. Since male role models are often not provided at home, boys need to see male role models at school. But North American early education is becoming a woman's profession. Alternative certification methods that could bring in many more qualified male teachers are rejected by teachers' unions, school boards, and the education bureaucracy.

Perhaps the enormous anti-male bias seen throughout North American society will blow over in the next few decades. Probably not, but even should it do so, it will be far too late for at least three generations of boys thrown on the trash heap.

H/T to Half Sigma

Also see Dennis Mangan's discussion of why boys are falling behind.

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Blogger SwampWoman said...

Alternative certification is alive and well in Florida.

I believe that the reason there is a dearth of males in early childhood education is because of the fear of being labeled a potential pedophile.

Monday, 03 March, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

If male teachers taught only male students, and parents were welcome as observers in the classroom, I suspect the pedophilia fear would be diminished.

Certainly it is a concern that should be addressed proactively. The importance of strong male role models in a young boy's life cannot be overstressed.

Monday, 03 March, 2008  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Uh......no, I don't think the lack of girls in the classroom would do it given that many pedophiles prey on young boys.

Some of the teachers had a discussion re: same sex classrooms in our school because of a county in Georgia going to same. The male teachers were adamant about not teaching the girls. (This was at a high school level.)

Monday, 03 March, 2008  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Another reason that men are deserting/have deserted teaching in droves has to do with the pay scale. There are a lot of teachers delivering pizza/cashiering at Wal-Mart/waiting tables at night.

Monday, 03 March, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Retired military often work medium pay scale jobs such as teaching or police work because they want to, and because their retirement pay gives them some leeway. Of course, in states where the educational establishment (generally political forces allied with teachers' unions) has a stick up its ass, certification requirements prevent that kind of thing.

The key to protecting teachers from charges of pedophilia is to provide incontrovertible evidence that it did not take place and is not taking place. Being proactive.

The alternative to providing male role models and good learning environments for boys, is to continue destroying the lives of boys, as is being done currently.

Monday, 03 March, 2008  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I was a mediocrity in the classroom until my last two years of high school. Thankfully, my parents could afford to send me to an all male private (military) school. Granted, I cried like a complete wuss for the first few weeks (I went through the equivalent of basic training) but eventually settled in. The differences from public school:
* Most of the teachers were male. The best ones were retired military. Several had intense backgrounds in the engineering and science fields. One in particular, my math teacher was involved with the development of the phalanx cannon. This is one of the reasons I started to TRY much harder in math (which does not come naturally for me).
* There was less politics and no political correctness (this was the days before the term was coined). There was actual open debate. You were not ridiculed or punished, but you were forced to back up your opinion with reasons and facts.
* There was a physical aspect of the school (running, push-ups, etc)that you could never do with women. This aspect improved discipline and helped burn off excess energy found in teenage males.

My first year there, my SAT scores went up so much that I was warned that I would be investigated for cheating.

Sadly, the school closed over a decade ago.

Tuesday, 04 March, 2008  
Blogger Bruce Hall said...

A lot of needless money has been spent on this subject.


Tuesday, 04 March, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks Bruce. I wish someone were listening.

The schools are in the hands of the social engineers. A President Hillary would strengthen the grip of the radical engineers enforcing a left-feminist revolution from the bottom up. Boys have little chance now, but under President Hillary, boys would be doomed.

Wednesday, 05 March, 2008  

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