Friday, December 04, 2009

Feminists want even fewer males on campus

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced in November that it will investigate whether colleges illegally discriminate against women by admitting less qualified men. This is only the latest in a decades-long campaign by the feminist lobby to sell the false propaganda that girls are cheated all through the education system, K through 12.

Colleges used to have a male-female ratio of about 60-40, and suddenly, we've discovered that it's close to 40-60. Colleges don't like this change; men don't like it; women don't like it; but the feminists are bragging about it and plan to use their clout in the government bureaucracy and in the Democratic Party to maintain it.

One of the causes for this dramatic shift is that colleges perceive applications by women to be better than those by men. Another cause seems to be that men don't seem to be as eager to get a college education as women. We see the results in the granting of degrees. Women receive 58 percent of bachelor's degrees in four-year colleges and 62 percent in community colleges, and graduate degrees are headed in the same direction.

Those who worry about the continuation of American exceptionalism are concerned because, if they have the courage to face reality, they know that women and men follow different paths both in and after college. Many more men than women drop out before graduation, and women receive only about a fifth of bachelor's degrees in engineering, physics or computer science.

After college, men and women make different choices, too. Women don't take the risks necessary for business start-ups or for business ownership, or choose the social isolation of technical laboratories, in anywhere near the proportion of men.

But why is it that women knock at the college admissions office with higher high-school grade-point averages, better essays and even a bigger variety of extracurricular activities than men? Fewer boys manifest significant interest in academic achievement or aspirations to walk through the doors that a college degree can open. Even the Wall Street Journal calls this the "boy mystery" that "nobody has solved." We should respond with the famous line attributed to Sherlock Holmes: It's "elementary, my dear Watson."

We can even claim a double entendre for the word elementary. The reason is obvious, and the causes originated in elementary school. The ultra-feminist American Association of University Women (AAUW) issued a report in 1992 called "How Schools Shortchange Girls." It claimed "findings" that teachers focused their attention on boys, neglected girls and discouraged girls from taking important math and science courses.

The AAUW report was a lie that started real discrimination against boys and young men plus government spending to address a nonexistent problem. The AAUW report was fully debunked by researcher Christina Hoff Sommers, who proved that feminist claims that girls are shortchanged in school are "riddled with errors" and not "published in peer-reviewed professional journals."

Elementary schools are not only ruled by females -- they are dominated by feminists who make school unpleasant for boys from the get-go. Fewer than 10 percent of elementary school teachers are men, giving boys the distinct impression that school is not for them. Elementary school teachers used to understand that boys will be boys, but teachers now look upon boys as just unruly girls. Feminists manifest hostility to males and to masculine traits such as competitiveness and aggressiveness, and instead reward typical female behaviors such as non-assertiveness and group cooperation.

Schools cannot make gender go away by pretending that boys do not have an innate masculinity, or by trying to suppress it with ridiculous zero-tolerance punishments, banning sports such as dodge ball and tag, and allowing only playground games without winners.

Five- and 6-year-old boys are not as able or willing as little girls to sit quietly at a desk and do neat work with pencil and paper. Even worse is the appalling fact that first-grade kids are not taught how to read phonetically, and the assigned stories are mostly about topics of interest to girls, not boys.

It's no wonder that boys are more likely to have academic or behavior problems, repeat a grade, get suspended, be enrolled in special education programs or become involved in drugs, alcohol or crime. Little boys make the calculation that school (and college) is not an environment where they want to remain.

The solution to the college 40-60 male-female problem is certainly not to let the feminist bureaucrats force colleges to admit an even higher percentage of women. One solution is for colleges to be told (by regulation or statute) that a 50-50 male-female ratio is not, by definition, "sex discrimination."


Extra billions fail to raise British school standards

Billions of pounds channelled into schools under Labour have failed to produce a corresponding improvement in standards, the Government’s statistics agency said yesterday.

Although spending has increased by more than £30 billion a year, value for money from schools has fallen steadily and is no better than in the final years under the Conservatives, it said.

The findings by the Office for National Statistics will embarrass ministers and infuriate teachers. The Conservatives said that higher budgets had not been matched with lasting reforms and had been wasted on Whitehall bureaucracy.

Statisticians said that the cost of hiring large numbers of support staff to ease teachers’ workloads, combined with falling pupil numbers, in effect cancelled out the benefits of improved exam results. As a result, productivity in the education sector had been on a downward trend for eight years and last year fell to zero.

Implicit in the report is that increased spending should have led to a sustained rise in productivity and that standards in schools ought to have increased by a significantly bigger margin than they have. The authors measured productivity by comparing the cost of the education system over 12 years with the quality of its output, based on exam results plus attendance rates.

Spending on education rose, at current prices, from £29 billion in 1996 to £63.9 billion last year — an annual rate of increase of 6.8 per cent. Although the number of teachers rose from 399,200 to 432,800, the biggest change was in support staff: numbers of teaching assistants increased from 60,600 to 181,600, and other administrative staff from 72,900 to 157,300.

The figures also reflected increased spending on goods and services, such as teaching materials, electricity and capital services, based on the rental value of buildings. Overall total “input”, in terms of more staff, goods, services and capital spending, rose by 33.3 per cent over the period, an average of 2.4 per cent a year.

The Office for National Statistics admitted that no single measure could accurately rate schools’ productivity, and its focus on GCSE results did not reflect extra support for children with special needs, broader improvements in children’s wellbeing or early years education.

Nick Gibb, the Conservative schools spokesman, said: “Huge sums of money have been spent on fortnightly initiatives and bureaucracy, which are burying teachers under a mountain of paperwork and which rarely lead to improvements in education.”


British primary schools 'failing' in English and science

The number of pupils leaving primary school with high test scores in English and science has declined for the second successive year.

Primary school league tables out yesterday showed that the proportion of children achieving a Level 5 score in English dipped to 29 per cent last year, down from 30 per cent the previous year and 34 per cent two years ago.

In science, 43 per cent achieved a Level 5, down from 44 per cent a year earlier and 46 per cent in 2007.

Only in mathematics did the results of more able children improve, 35 per cent scoring at Level 5, compared with last year’s figure of 31 per cent. Two years ago the number was 32 per cent.

The lower proportion of pupils doing well in national curriculum tests will raise concerns that schools are failing to stretch more able children at 11.

Almost three in ten children — 28 per cent — left England’s primary schools without the basic levels of English and maths, one percentage point more than last year. The Government’s target is that within two years 78 per cent of pupils will achieve a basic Level 4 pass in both subjects. Results at Level 4 for English were also down, by one percentage point, at 80 per cent, the first drop since 1995.

As in the past, boys lagged behind girls in English. This was especially marked in writing, 75 per cent of girls achieving a Level 4 pass but only 61 per cent of boys. In reading, girls were ahead by 89 to 82 per cent. Girls were also ahead in science and maths.

A total of 1,472 schools failed to meet the Government’s basic target that 55 per cent of pupils should achieve Level 4 passes in both English and maths, up from 1,359 last year.

Diana Johnson, a junior Schools Minister, admitted to “concern” about the fall in results for English but said that extra funds for one-to-one tuition for those behind in their maths and reading would lead to improvements. Nick Gibb, the Shadow Schools Minister, said: “There remains a huge problem with literacy in primary schools, one in ten 11-year-old boys not even getting a grade in this vital subject.”


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