Sunday, June 14, 2009

The anti-male bigotry in the schools and colleges will hurt women too

Men are staying away from places that are hostile to them. So the educated male is becoming rarer. The boiler-suited Lesbians won't care but normal women want male partners -- and they want partners they can respect. Many women are now set to fail in that search, as education is a major source of respect and there are now not enough educated men to go round

Over the Memorial Day weekend, many college administrators attended a conference about the absence of men on today's college campuses and expressed concern about the negative experiences and unprecedented challenges facing college men today. The "2nd Conference on College Men" at the University of Pennsylvania featured sessions examining the implications of negative comments about men that are prevalent on college campuses and the sexist campus activism of participants in the nation's 500 college gender studies departments. The conference program, attended by about 100 professors and student affairs personnel, exposed some unpleasant facts: men are "overrepresented" in drug and alcohol abuse, violations of campus regulations, and acts of violence and sexual assault, and they are "underrepresented" in academic programs and campus leadership activities.

Over the past couple of decades, the male-female ratio on campuses has been changing dramatically. Women outnumber men by a 4-3 ratio on college campuses. Men currently make up only 43 percent of college graduates. In short, many today acknowledge that there is a crisis of the disappearing educated male.

Some experts claim that the imbalance begins in the public schools, where recess and physical education are being cut. More active boys are at a disadvantage, they say, when there is no outlet for their energy and restlessness. In addition, Title IX programs have hurt men's athletics with the less profitable men's sports being cut (over 400 men's collegiate athletic teams have been cut since Title IX went into effect) in order to fund women's programs. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), "for every new women's athletic slot created between 1992 and 1997, 3.6 male athletes were dropped."

As more and more campuses institute distance education programs, we are learning that men typically are not drawn to such programs and either flunk out or drop out at a higher rate than women. We are also learning that men are told that it is not "cool" to study, make good grades or even to attend class and buy the textbook for a class. For many college males, "being manly" means tremendous external pressure to "not really work at anything; to just be cool and detached." Women, on the other hand, are encouraged to "be the best" and to excel in order to "make it" in the workplace. The end result is a disturbing imbalance in terms of numbers as well as performance of men in the university environment that is already carrying over into the job market where women are increasingly landing the top jobs and earning the big salaries.

According to USA Today, "currently 135 women receive bachelor's degrees for every 100 men." That imbalance, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education, "is expected to widen in the coming years."

The negative implications are enormous. It will be harder for men to succeed, and the loss of educated men in the workplace will be incalculable. We are already seeing huge social gaps between educated women and the uneducated, immature and/or irresponsible men that constitute the marriage prospects available to them. That gap is showing up in the declining marriage rates as well as in the divorce rates. As Christina Hoff Sommers said in her book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming our Young Men, the fact that "women are significantly more literate, significantly more educated than their male counterparts" is likely to create a "lot of social problems;" the lack of well-educated men does not "bode well" for anyone.

Is it any wonder that men are avoiding today's college campuses? Hostility toward men and masculinity begins in daycare and increases each year thereafter. Sexual harassment training and policies have created an uncertain environment, if not a hostile one, where men have to watch their every word and action lest it be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Some experts criticize a campus "worldview that sees things only in terms of oppressors and the oppressed." Typically, the few campus men's studies programs are designed to push an anti-masculinity agenda.

Researchers have put the problem on their agendas. Some feminists are claiming that "educated women have always made some people nervous." Some even claim the gap is a matter of men realizing that they can make a better living than women even without an education.

In an increasingly more technological society, some experts are calling for a male affirmative action plan. Already, savvy campuses increase the number of males by instituting majors attractive to men, instituting or reinstating sports teams that were dropped, and highlighting programs that might attract male students. Almost all campuses feature men in their public relations pictures, being careful to avoid pictures that exclusively feature female students. Some campuses are shortening the period of accepting women's applications, while lengthening the time that applications are accepted from men. Some rumors claim that acceptance standards are lowered for men as well. Still, some experts think that the trend cannot be reversed.

Actually, the solution is much simpler: create an environment starting in kindergarten that teaches children to respect masculine traits. To do otherwise is to discriminate against our sons and brothers.


Arne Duncan backs charter schools

The Obama Administration's $100 billion in "stimulus" for schools has mostly been a free lunch -- the cash dispensed by formula in return for vague promises of reform. So we were glad to hear that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is now planning to spend some of that money to press states on charter schools. "States that don't have charter school laws, or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools, will jeopardize their application" for some $5 billion in federal grant money, Mr. Duncan said in a conference call with reporters this week. "Simply put, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the largest pool of discretionary dollars states have ever had access to."

Charter schools improve public education by giving parents options and forcing schools to compete for students and resources. For low-income minority families, these schools are often the only chance at a decent education. Charters are nonetheless opposed by teachers unions and others who like the status quo, no matter how badly it's serving students. As a result, 10 states lack laws that allow charter schools (see nearby table), and 26 others cap charter enrollment.

To his credit, Mr. Duncan singled out some of the worst anticharter states. "Maine is one of 10 states without a charter schools law, but the state legislature has tabled a bill to create one," he said. "Tennessee has not moved on a bill to lift enrollment restrictions. Indiana's legislature is considering putting a moratorium on new charter schools. These actions are restricting reform, not encouraging it."

On everything from test scores to graduation rates, charters in many states regularly outperform nearby public schools serving the same demographic groups. View Park Preparatory High School, for example, is a charter school located in predominantly black South Los Angeles, where the graduation rate is under 50%. Yet earlier this week View Park graduated every senior for the third consecutive year, and the entire class has been accepted to college. Charters are also much easier to shut down if children aren't learning, unlike traditional public schools that live on indefinitely regardless of student performance.

The Obama Administration's new rhetoric is certainly welcome, but the political reality is that every Member of Congress will want to see some of this money sent to his home state. So Mr. Duncan will be under intense pressure to soften or fudge his terms. A good test case will be Ohio, where Democratic Governor Ted Strickland's budget would reduce charter funding by 20% and add regulations that could make their creation more difficult.

This is one way that unions and their political allies try to kill charters by starving them rather than opposing them outright. Will these facts be considered when Mr. Duncan is determining which states are hostile to charters? And will he be willing to take on the unions in a state crucial to the President's re-election bid in 2012?

As a percentage of what the Obama Administration is spending on education, $5 billion isn't much. But it does give the federal government some leverage, and the best way to use it is for Mr. Duncan to show states that he means what he says about charters.


Lack of discipline destroying the education of young British children

Excluding children is the only means schools have of dealing with disruptive and violent behaviour. The situation will get ever-worse until they bring back the cane

Thousands of very young children are being excluded from primary schools for physically attacking pupils and teachers, research by The Times shows. It exposes the extent to which children of infant-school age are being expelled or suspended, even though the tactic is more commonly associated with uncontrollable teenagers.

The Times survey of 25 local authorities found that almost 4,000 primary school children had been excluded for fixed periods in 2007-08. This is the national equivalent to 25,128, a 6 per cent increase on last year, if extrapolated to cover the whole of England. Over the same period the primary school population fell by almost 20,000, so the real rise is 6.7 per cent.

More than three quarters of those who gave reasons said that one of the biggest causes of exclusion was the child physically assaulting another pupil. Another main reason was attacking a teacher.

Our findings underline national figures, which show temporary exclusions in primary schools have risen by 10 per cent in three years, from 41,300 in 2004 to 45,730 in 2007, because staff could not cope with their threatening and disruptive behaviour. More than 1,200 of the fixed-term exclusions in 2007 involved children aged 4 and under. Another 12,000 were under the age of 8.

Our survey paints a picture of teachers struggling to deal with violence from ever-younger children, some of whom in effect drop out of the education system before reaching secondary school.

John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, said: “There’s a small and growing group of very young children creating very real problems, over whom parents seem to have no control. It’s a relatively new phenomenon for primary schools. They are reporting that groups of parents have real problems with their young children.”

Professor Carl Parsons, who has researched primary school exclusions for 16 years, said that children may be picking up bad behaviour younger. “The rise in fixed-term exclusions could be because there are more socially troubled families who are more isolated and less able to provide guidance and support for children.”

Many primary schools do not have the resources to deal with aggressive children in any other way, as they lack staff to offer one-to-one teaching and do not have on-call child psychiatrists. One teacher from a primary school in Norfolk told The Times: “I have worked at several schools and there has been a marked deterioration in behaviour in the last five years. Behaviour strategies don’t seem to work because schools have no power. Teachers are left to get on with it.”

Our survey showed that schools in Kingston-upon-Thames, southwest London, suspended 87 young children last year, including three from reception class and another seven aged 7 and under.


1 comment:

Robert said...

When the consequences of bad, violent behavior is a free vacation instead of a bottom so sore the miscreant can't bear to sit for a while, even more bad behavior is automatically encouraged. We need teachers around the world who are faced with violent students to grow a pair of hairy balls, and cane the violent miscreants right after the act that deserves the punishment, and damn what school officials say.