Where are the men?

From Townhall.com-

Where Are the Men? by Phyllis Schlafly

…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.

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.

Is this a factor in churches and Christian schools, as in, are Christian school facutlies and Sunday Schools staffs filled mostly by women, and do you think this is good, bad, or irrelevant?

 

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Ed Vasicek's picture

I don't think the problem is lack of male teachers in grade schools -- it has been this way for over 100 years. As a matter of fact, teaching and nursing were pretty much "it" for female professions years ago.

The problem is a concerted effort to try to de-masculinize boys and men, and it is working wonderfully.
More and more boys get absorbed in video games and have no inclination to take initiative. Girls are encouraged to be more male-like, and boys more feminine. This has been pushed not only by schools, but by the most powerful influence, the entertainment industry.

Although the public school system is downplaying the aggressive, the "attention deficit" and "learning disability" epidemic has also played a big role. Boys have always been wiggly and restless, but they used to behave much better (and pay more attention) in the classroom decades ago.

The broken family is a big part of this, but the whole ball of wax is one big MESS. The structure and environment necessary to produce disciplined children has been removed, in many cases. Without that structure, attempts at discipline in the schools can only have limited results. Kids need structure, and a traditional family with a father who really is a pro-active leader is becoming a rare entity. And, even when it exists, since it is such an exception, kids from good families are often driven by peer pressure to imitate the values of kids from crummy families.

In addition, social skills and true friendships are biting the dust as well.

"The Midrash Detective"

Charlie's picture

First and shortest,

Quote:
Even worse is the appalling fact that first-grade kids are not taught how to read phonetically

What in the world does that have to do with gender? That was a jab from nowhere.

Second and still fairly short,

Quote:
Elementary schools are not only ruled by females — they are dominated by feminists who make school unpleasant for boys from the get-go.

Really, how does the author know that? Sounds like conspiracy talk to me. If the author had said college English departments were dominated by feminists, I might have been inclined to agree. Wink Also from this quote, elementary-school boys have always hated school. Augustine, Luther, and Erasmus are all on record saying that early schooling was a miserable experience. Augustine, however, identified the problem as his sin nature rather than feminists. (I am not denying that certain practices can be counter-productive to males learning.)

Third, and potentially much longer through discussion, I'm not sure that there was any real evidence offered as to the cause of the female majority in higher education. It is possible (though I'm just speculating) that a higher number of females actually represents a broader societal male bias, since males can find work more easily with a lower level of formal academic achievement.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Rachel L.'s picture

I haven't read any studies regarding this phenomenon, but my personal observation would be that much of this would be due to differences in minority-group enrollment.

At both of the universities I attended, I think the male to female ratio of white students would have been close to 1:1. However, in minority groups there were SIGNIFICANTLY more females than males in each group. The black women in my dorms often bemoaned how difficult it was to find a boyfriend who was enrolled in college. There were very few Hispanic students at these universities, but those that were were almost exclusively female.

My point being: I'd be interested in how the male to female ratio is affected by disparity within ethnic groups, and the general trend within them for the females to be more likely to "rise above" the education levels of the previous generation.

Dave Stertzbach II's picture

I'm praising the LORD for my son's fourth grade male teacher.

Dave

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I don't think the gender bias towards girls is a conscious conspiracy, but schools have evolved over the years in a way that harms both boys and girls.

From http://www.genderdifferences.org/

Quote:
... In recent years, scientists have discovered that differences between girls and boys are more profound than anybody guessed. Specifically:

The brain develops differently. In girls, the language areas of the brain develop before the areas used for spatial relations and for geometry. In boys, it's the other way around. A curriculum which ignores those differences will produce boys who can't write and girls who think they're "dumb at math."

The brain is wired differently. In girls, emotion is processed in the same area of the brain that processes language. So, it's easy for most girls to talk about their emotions. In boys, the brain regions involved in talking are separate from the regions involved in feeling. The hardest question for many boys to answer is: "Tell me how you feel."

Girls hear better. The typical teenage girl has a sense of hearing seven times more acute than a teenage boy. That's why daughters so often complain that their fathers are shouting at them. Dad doesn't think he's shouting, but Dad doesn't hear his voice the way his daughter does.

Girls and boys respond to stress differently - not just in our species, but in every mammal scientists have studied. Stress enhances learning in males. The same stress impairs learning in females...

Since the mid-1970's, educators have made a virtue of ignoring gender differences. The assumption was that by teaching girls and boys the same subjects in the same way at the same age, gender gaps in achievement would be eradicated. That approach has failed. Gender gaps in some areas have widened in the past three decades. The pro-portion of girls studying subjects such as physics and computer science has dropped in half. Boys are less likely to study subjects such as foreign languages, history, and music than they were three decades ago. The ironic result of three decades of gender blindness has been an intensifying of gender stereotypes.

I believe that the manner in which men and women are hardwired differently is evident in Scripture, and nothing I have read so far that acknowledges gender differences contradicts the Biblical roles of men and women. As a matter of fact, there are no examples of age segregation in the Bible, but quite a few instances of gender segregation- and the plan laid out is for mature men to teach young men, and mature women to teach younger women.

So when it comes to the predominance of women in teaching positions, (who have most likely been taught that there is no real difference between boys and girls, interpret the wiggly boy who can't sit still as misbehaving, and the boys sitting in the back of the class as goof-offs and rebels), I think we should acknowledged that the lack of men in teaching positions does hurt our boys.

Jennifer Wilson's picture

My theory on this: Teachers pay is usually on the low side, so a man trying to support his entire family on a teacher's salary might find it difficult. On the other hand, most female teachers are married with husbands who work, and I'd venture to say that many of those husbands make more money than their wives.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

In Ohio, teachers' salaries range from about $25G to $60G per year. The average beginning teacher salary is about $30G. My husband has made much less than this at times, and we've always been fine. I also know a few single parent teachers who do not receive child support and manage to take care of their families, but I am sure that these salary numbers vary from state to state, and it could be true that in some areas of the country teacher do not make a living wage.

As for Sunday School teachers- that is a volunteer position, but yet it seems as if teaching children is considered to be a task better suited to women. I believe this needs to be reconsidered since it has no basis in Scripture, and more men should take on the task of teaching boys and young men.

Becky Petersen's picture

Susan R wrote:

As for Sunday School teachers- that is a volunteer position, but yet it seems as if teaching children is considered to be a task better suited to women. I believe this needs to be reconsidered since it has no basis in Scripture, and more men should take on the task of teaching boys and young men.

Amen, Susan. There is no reason that men can't "do the hard thing" and deal with these kids as well as women can. It is infinitely easier to teach adults who will sit quietly and listen than to teach kids when you first have to get and keep their attention, however.

(Teaching rebellious teenagers, however, isn't easy, though and many men are willing to do that, but often they don't have to deal with the wiggles and short attention spans of children--but they do have immature behavior to deal with out of 13 year olds!)

They aren't really used to doing it in the home and don't want to do it on Sundays, figuring their wives have mastered the technique. (This is just an idea as to why they don't want to teach 2 or 3 year olds--based on observation--but it may not be a fair one...I'll freely admit that.) Most men do not spend hours playing or dealing with their own small children--they've left it to the wife and they retire to their office/computers or tv when at home. They do not actually "teach" or play with their young children. Maybe I'm wrong, here....I hope I am, but I think studies do show this to be an accurate picture of reality.

Many of these children desperately need men to be good role models for them but the men aren't willing to interact with the kids.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Becky Petersen wrote:

Amen, Susan. There is no reason that men can't "do the hard thing" and deal with these kids as well as women can. It is infinitely easier to teach adults who will sit quietly and listen than to teach kids when you first have to get and keep their attention, however.

In our church, whenever possible, it is couples that teach a class together, to use the different strengths that men and women have. For a while, my wife and I had pre-kindergarten kids, but the demographics of our church has changed in that area, so we don't need as many teachers. This year, we are teaching 5th-6th grade kids. We had been teaching this approximate group anyway, in our FrontLine kids program, which we have on Wednesdays.

There is another consideration that we have to deal with today in churches -- one of the reasons that men don't take groups of kids below the teen years, is that because for the sake of testimony as well as legal issues, a man cannot really be alone with a group of young kids, even with windows on the doors. Having a woman do it alone is not perceived in the community as being as large a problem (probably based the statistics of molestation).

Having a couple deals with this, as well as having a proper-gendered bathroom escort for anyone in the class (this really only applies to 2nd grade and below, though there can be some older kids that cause trouble when they don't have an escort). The bigger issue, of how to teach and handle classroom behavior is also dealt with more easily with a couple. One can handle police duties while the other teaches, etc.

We also use, when possible, two couples for each class, on a rotating basis. This allows the teachers to attend SS classes themselves, as well as allowing for easier substitutes with sickness, etc. Plus, it gets more people involved in ministry.

I certainly agree that children need to see men in teaching positions, and that this goes double for boys, who need to have good examples to learn to emulate.

Dave Barnhart

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I love it when I see couples working together. My dh and I have always worked as a team, and it not only solves a multitude of logistics problems, but it can serve to draw a couple so much closer to God and each other.