War Against Boys: The boys are losing

The War Against Boys still rages, writes Christina Hoff Sommers in the revised edition of her 2000 book.

The boys are losing, writes Nathan Glazer in an Education Next review. Schools continue to ignore boys’ “distinctive characteristics” and “the gap in school achievement between boys and girls” is “even more substantial and troubling.”

Sommers describes trends in education that hurt boys, including “the
ednext_XIV_3_waragainstboys_coverdecline of recess, punitive zero-tolerance policies, myths about juvenile ‘superpredators,’ and a misguided campaign against single-sex schooling.”

“As our schools become more feelings centered, risk averse, competition-free, and sedentary, they move further and further from the characteristic sensibilities of boys,” she writes.

“The movement to give special attention to girls and their needs was part of the grand drive to equality that has dominated American life and politics for decades,” writes Glazer, a Harvard professor emeritus in education and sociology. “But the drive for equality for the sexes was accompanied by a litigious and bureaucratic fervor that often went beyond common sense.”

Career tech programs that have engaged boys are under pressure to enroll more girls, Sommers writes. Few girls sign up for welding or pipefitting. Few boys want to be cosmetologists or child-care workers.

The Obama administration hopes to use the $1.1 billion Perkins Act to push more girls into “nontraditional” vocational and technical training, notes Glazer.

Sommers points out that in 2010 women made up 64 percent of graduate students in social science, 75 percent in public administration, 78 percent in veterinary medicine, and 80 percent in health sciences. Will that attract the attention of politicians and of bureaucrats enforcing Title IX?

Thirty-two percent of 27-year-old women have earned a four-year degree, compared to only 24 percent of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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  1. How many times can Hoff write the same thing and still make money? So far, so good….

  2. Another reason why people opt to homeschool – they don’t have to subject their sons to being treated like defective girls ~

    • I only have girls, but I homeschool in part so that they will not spend all their schooltime in an environment that, based on outcomes, is so detrimental to boys. I don’t want them to internalize the idea that boys are defective girls (I have a sister who genuinely seems to believe that, and I sure feel sorry for her sons) or that they’re somehow better than boys just because their tractability and relative lack of wiggliness makes them easier to educate in a modern school setting.

  3. Never ever forget: boys are “raised” by mothers and teachers unconscious of their repressed memories who compulsively repeat their childhood traumas. Mothers “raise” men who will render their daugthers unhappy.

  4. Miss Sommers is correct, but sounds like a broken record, or scratched CD 🙂

    A boy who finishes high school with a diploma is at least 1 grade level behind in math, and 1.5 grade levels behind in reading, compared to girls.