Saturday, December 03, 2011

Why we must save our sons from feminized education

I have myself seen evidence of the advantages for boys of having male teachers. I sent my son to a private High School where his mathematics teachers were all male and enthusiastic about mathematics. He now has a B.Sc. with a first in mathematics and is working on his Ph.D. in it at a university known for its excellence in mathematics -- JR

By David Thomas

Fred and his father

So now it’s official — young women are outdoing men at work. The Office for National Statistics has confirmed that female twentysomethings earn more than their male peers — 3.6 per cent more, to be precise. As the father of two daughters in their 20s, I can’t say I’m surprised.

I’m incredibly proud of my girls. Holly, 23, is working day and night to make her way in journalism, a profession that is even more competitive and insecure than when I started out 30 years ago.

Lucy, 22, is training to be a doctor, a profession which, it emerged this week, will have more women than men in just six years’ time. I’ve seen how much effort and determination both have displayed, from their first GCSEs onwards.

They went to a comprehensive, so they weren’t spoon-fed their A-grades. They had to put in the hours, keep themselves motivated and sweat for their achievements. They’ve earned their success.

I also have a 13-year-old son, Fred. He attends the same school as his sisters did. He has just as much energy and, when he puts his mind to something, just as much determination. But he is growing up in a world that seems more and more biased against boys; one in which our sons are falling behind our daughters in almost every measurable way.

A world in which politicians still obsess about every conceivable form of discrimination against women, but ignore the young men who so desperately need help.

That’s why it’s time to send out an SOS message: Save Our Sons.
Huge numbers of young men are effectively being thrown on the scrapheap when they are barely old enough to shave. It’s not just that they are failing or choosing to fail within the education system: the system is failing them.

Let’s just start by looking at the facts. Barely half the pupils in this country get five or more GCSE passes at grades A-C. Of those who do, well over half are girls. The majority of boys in this country, therefore, are failing to reach the basic level of educational attainment. Every year hundreds of thousands of teenage boys leave school with virtually no chance of getting any kind of decent, well-paying job.

In fact, of all the class, race and gender groups in this country (with the sole exception of the tiny number of traveller children), working-class white boys perform the worst. A staggering 85 per cent of boys from poor white families fail to get those five good GCSEs.

The prevailing dogma in early education now demands that both lessons and sport are devoutly non-competitive. It requires children to sit still around tables in which they work together as groups, rather than alone at desks. It is, in other words, perfectly suited to sociable little girls and anathema to boisterous, competitive little boys.

Thus it is all too easy for boys to conclude early on that school is what girls are good at — and they, by extension, are not.

And yet it does not have to be this way. When my daughters went to a small village primary school, the teachers were all women. They were absolutely dedicated to their pupils, but they could not relate to the boys as naturally as to the girls. And then, for a single year, a young, male teacher took over the Year Five and Six class of ten and 11-year-olds.

Suddenly the boys in the class had someone they could talk to about football, computers and other Boy Things. There was someone who understood them, and they blossomed. Then that teacher left, and it was Girl Time again.

Seeing that convinced me I would pay for Fred’s prep school education if it meant he would be taught by male teachers and be given the chance to play competitive sport. Sure enough, he thrived in that environment.

By the time they get to secondary school, though, too many boys who don’t have that opportunity are actively hostile to education. That hostility is a defence mechanism, of course, a way of masking their own sense of alienation, but if that outlook continues until they are 16, they may well be headed for the scrap-heap.

Some will get one of the ever-decreasing number of manual jobs that remain in manufacturing and industry, others will join what’s left of the Armed Forces. But many more slip into the twilight, underclass world of unemployment, drugs, crime and the feckless spawning of children who are then effectively fathered by the State via the benefits system.

These young men have little to offer women, no lasting contribution to make to society, no hope for their own lives. They cost society a fortune, all the way from the dole queue to the prison cell. And if that’s not a major social and political issue, I don’t know what is.....

This may be a politically incorrect and sexist observation in the eyes of some delicate Guardian-reading souls, but most women still want a man who can provide for his family, and who is confident enough in his own status not to feel insecure about his partner’s.

And this leads us on to a deeper, more human issue that has nothing to do with statistics or incomes. We have, as a society, lost the ability, or the will, to acknowledge that our sons have anything at all to offer the world as men.

Our daughters, raised in the era of Girl Power, have rightly been encouraged to believe that anything a man can do, they can do, too. But they’ve also been told again and again that they have qualities men lack. They are more emotionally mature, more sensitive, better communicators, better team-workers, and so on.

In other words, they have been taught that men and women are equal — except for all the ways in which women are superior.

There is now a massive equal rights industry that is obsessed with every real or imaginary form of female inequality. But equality must work both ways, and if it is now boys who are lagging behind, then the political and educational establishment must make it a priority to help them.

Though they are rarely celebrated any more, there are solid male virtues that still exist in decent men: reliability, stamina, physical strength, the desire to provide for and protect their families, and sometimes, as unfashionable as it might be, the ability not to be too emotional. There are times when an arm round the shoulder and the offer of a drink can do more good than all the agonised empathy in the world.

All of us, men or women, are moved by pictures of soldiers coming home from war. The men reach down, their arms open to greet the children running towards them in an image that embodies the strength and courage of a warrior and the love of a father.

But who is telling our sons about that kind of positive, benevolent manliness? Who sets them a good example? Having more male teachers, especially in primary schools, would be a start.

And we should stop being afraid to say anything positive about men, or masculinity, for fear of offending women. In a culture in which so many young men do not have father figures at home or at school, too many boys take their lead from the ill-disciplined brats of Premiership football; the swaggering, misogynist materialism of rap music; or the psychotic violence of computer games.

Our boys — including my own son Fred — are full of potential, full of energy and full of ambitions. All they need is the encouragement and the attention to help them realise their dreams.


British schoolchildren to be banned from using calculators amid fears of generation growing up with poor maths skills

Pupils are set to be banned from using calculators in primary schools amid fears a ‘sat-nav’ generation of children are growing up with poor maths skills. Schools minister Nick Gibb said pupils should not ‘reach for a gadget every time they need to do a simple sum.’

It is understood that in future, teachers could be told to stop allowing children aged under nine to use calculators in state schools. Maths exams taken by 11-year-olds are also likely to be reformed – scrapping an existing section that allows pupils to use calculators.

The move comes after a recent survey revealed that Britain was falling behind its international rivals in league tables rating children’s mathematics skills.

British teenagers are now ranked 28th among peers in developed nations after slumping dramatically in the last decade, while Singapore, which has virtually no calculator use for 10-year-olds, was second.

Almost half of all adults have basic maths skills that are no better than those of children aged nine to 11, Government-commissioned research has shown. More than five million people were also found to be struggling with simple reading and writing.

The latest Skills for Life survey questioned more than 7,000 16- to 65-year-olds in England to examine literacy and numeracy levels. The findings reveal that many adults still have maths and English skills similar to those expected of primary school children.

Campaigners warned that there are 'far too many' people with poor basic skills, and more needs to be done for them. In total 16.8million adults - or 49.1 per cent - have numeracy skills at Entry Level 3 or below. This level is equivalent to the achievement expected of a child aged nine to 11.

In literacy, 5.1 million adults, or 14.9 per cent, were at Entry Level 3 or below. Adults with numeracy skills below this level would struggle to pay household bills, or understand price labels on pre-packaged food.

The survey showed that millions of adults are no better at maths and English than five to seven-year-olds.

In total, 2.3 million people in England were found to be at Entry Level 1 or below - the level of attainment for five to seven-year-olds in numeracy, while five per cent were at this stage for literacy. Adults below this level may not be able to write short messages to family, or select floor numbers in lifts.

According to a previously published report, adults are considered to have 'functional' literacy skills if they are above Entry Level 3, and 'functional' numeracy skills if they are above Entry Level 2. Today's survey reveals that 8.1 million adults in England (23.7 per cent) are at Entry Level 2 or below.

Carol Taylor, director for research and development at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (Niace), said: 'We have far too many people with very poor basic skills in this country and the system isn't working for them.

'The headline results of today's survey show a welcome increase in those adults working at Literacy Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) from 44 per cent (in 2003) to 57 per cent, which proves the powerful impact the Skills For Life strategy has had. 'However, it's alarming that 15 per cent of the adult population are performing at Entry Level 3 or below in literacy and 24 per cent in numeracy at Entry Level 2 or below.

'Put simply, around one in six of the adult population has difficulty with aspects of reading and writing which means they are seriously disadvantaged as employees, citizens and parents.

'And around one in four of the adult population struggle with the basics of numeracy, a skill which can have a greater impact on life chances than literacy. 'This is why we're calling for a specific challenge fund to help those with the lowest skills.'


Sex-Ed Classes and the Rape of Our Children's Innocence

As outrageous as it is to hear about the new sex-ed curriculum for New York City schools, beginning with middle schools, there are some school districts for which the program does not start early enough. And so, in June, 2010 the Provincetown, Massachusetts school board voted unanimously to begin distributing condoms to elementary school children upon the student’s request, beginning in first grade and without parental knowledge or consent. (What possible use could a 6-year-old have for a condom?)

After a public outcry, the district agreed to consider restricting condom distribution to grades five and up, meaning, to kids as young as 10. According to the official policy, “the school nurse is to give counseling and abstinence information to a student prior to handing out the condom,” although without parental knowledge or consent.

As for the question of criminality, the age of consent in Massachusetts is 16 (under certain circumstances, it is 18), and in answer to the question posed by a 16 year-old boy who was having sex with his 13 year-old girl girlfriend, the website explained that, “Any sexual conduct with a child age 13 [is] a very serious matter in Massechusetts [sic] whether you are a minor or an adult” (their emphasis).

Doesn’t that mean that this school’s condom distribution is contributing to criminal behavior, not to mention to dangerous and harmful behavior? How can this be allowed?

In a recent article for American Thinker, family activist Linda Harvey notes “that America as a whole is still horrified by child sexual abuse” yet she points to books recommended by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, better named the Gay, Lesbian, Sex Education Network) that recount the sexual experiences of boys as young as 13 with men more than twice their age. How is this not criminal?

Think about it. We are rightly outraged when we hear of the alleged acts of child rape by trusted adults (such as Jerry Sandusky at Penn State), but is there not a rape of a different kind – at the least, an assault on innocence – when schools show virtually pornographic movies in sex-ed classes or conduct lessons in which girls put condoms on boys’ fingers? (For a shocking report, see this article by Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Policy Institute.) And in the countless cases where these kids are anything but innocent, at the least, these schools are condoning, if not actually encouraging immorality.

One mother posted this on my Facebook page: “I visited the sex-ed teacher at the high school our children were going to attend in 1992. I had heard stories about some of her techniques and was very concerned. When I asked her about modesty, she told me that is something she tries to get the kids over as quick as possible. My daughter brought home the curriculum from the class and I was appalled. There were several pages of vocabulary they would have to know, including every perversion I had ever heard of and some that I never heard of. The definition they had for virgin was someone who had never had the opportunity to have sex. The list included polygamy but not monogamy. It even said that sometimes it is beneficial for a marriage if there is an affair.” And that was back in 1992.

On November 30th, a high school teacher from New York City called into my radio show, wanting me to know that things were far worse in the schools than I could imagine, from the way the kids dress and act to the fact that many of them spend far more time playing terribly violent (and often sexually charged) video games than reading books.

He also told me that in his school, there is a table in the hallway with condoms and lubricants. The students can take them freely, as desired. (Does this surprise you?) The other day, a student put a pile of Gideon’s Bibles on the table, also for the students to take freely. As a result, there was outrage in the school – outrage over the presence of the Bibles, not the presence of the condoms.

Is it an exaggeration to say that we need a massive moral and cultural revolution?

During that same broadcast, I received another called from a man in New York City who was involved in teaching sex education to high school students. As part of the program, he tells these students which condoms work best, among other things.

When I asked him, “Then shouldn’t you also teach the kids about responsible drug use and give out clean needles to intravenous drug users?” he responded, “Yes, we also teach about them drug use as well as where they go for clean needle exchanges.”

We need a revolution.


No comments: