Skip to comments.No Running, No Jumping: The War Against Boys in Our Schools
Posted on 08/20/2003 8:02:38 PM PDT by GrandMoM
By Charles W. Colson
Commentary from BreakPoint
The Cleveland Avenue School in Atlanta has all the amenities you would expect a new school to have: computer equipment, an up-to-date library, and modern classrooms. It has everything except a playground.
No, it wasn't an oversight. It was designed that way, in order to make little boys behave more like little girls. And it's part of a trend.
In 1998, Atlanta eliminated recess in its elementary schools. Other cities, like Philadelphia, retained something called recess, but it bears little resemblance to the unstructured play time most of us enjoyed as kids.
Why? As Christina Hoff Sommers says in her new book, THE WAR AGAINST BOYS, educators today are intolerant of boys acting like boys -- moving, making noise, and engaging in raucous play. This intolerance goes beyond the need for order and discipline. The rule is "no running and no jumping," and boys who engage in normal active play are frequently punished or sent home.
When boys aren't being punished for being boys, they are being medicated to accomplish the same result. It is revealing that 95 percent of the kids on Ritalin today -- a drug used to treat hyperactivity -- are boys.
As Michael Gurian, the author of THE GOOD SON, puts it, "If Huck [Finn] and Tom [Sawyer] were in today's schools, they would be labeled ADD, having attention deficit disorder, and drugged."
Behind this campaign against what Sommers calls "youthful male exuberance" is, in her words, "misguided feminism." Many feminists insist that it is maleness itself -- defined by characteristics like aggressiveness, competitiveness, and assertiveness -- that causes violence.
This view has found its most receptive audience in education, which is dominated, to a greater extent than other professions, by women. The result is a commitment to what Dr. Sommers calls feminizing boys: monitoring and policing characteristically male behavior, and getting boys to participate in "characteristically feminine activities."
As a result, our sons think there's something wrong with being a boy. As Dan Kindlon, a child psychologist, puts it, our sons feel like a "thorn among roses" and a "frowned-upon presence" in our schools.
This war that's being waged on sons isn't only cruel; it's culturally disastrous. When Christians say that God made us male and female, it isn't only about sex. It's an acknowledgment that the attributes of both sexes were intended to complement each other, and achieve results that neither sex, acting on their own, could achieve.
While she isn't a Christian, Camille Paglia, a feminist author, understands this. She has written that masculinity is . . . the most creative cultural force in history." "Men," she adds, "created the world we live in and the luxuries we enjoy."
To be more precise, it is the masculine role as provider and protector, as restrained by clear standards of right and wrong, that has produced the civilization we know.
But our schools are failing our sons today by not encouraging them in this role.
We need to help our neighbors understand that a generation of boys who are taught that there's something intrinsically wrong with being male will not be able to act as the kind of responsible and creative force that Paglia describes. And our sons won't be the only ones paying the price.
If we really understand what's really at stake in society's "war against boys," we'd realize that a little "male exuberance" on the playground is a small price to pay.
Another good way to offset the negative influences at school is to involve your child in some kind of group that encourages, teaches, and praises moral, healthy behavior. In many cities, you don't have to belong to a church/religious body to have your kids attend the youth group or go to Sunday school.
It's a tremendously difficult to be a good parent and the primary provider. I will continue keep you, and other hardworking parents (single or not), in my prayers.
....What's your take on this???
I guess their hearts are warm and gay these days!
Because the pay sucks ?
RECESS the one time during the school day when boys can legitimately engage in rowdy play--is now under siege and may soon be a thing of the past. In 1998, Atlanta eliminated recess in all its elementary schools. I Philadelphia, school officials have replaced traditional recess with "socialized recesses" in which the children are assigned structured activities and carefully monitored.
I'd just like to stick up for the Third Worlders for a moment. Whatever else you might say about them, they generally have beliefs right in line with the "European/Christian values" which once prevailed. The Latin Americans believe in strong families and are usually quite religious. The Asians believe in building a better life for their children, and instilling their children with a strong respect for study and hard work. Modern Christianity, for that matter, is seeing its strongest growth in sub-Saharan African.
I kind of prefer the Third World immigrants to the postmodern post-Christians we're already stuck with (and who comprise the majority in Europe). They may have a lot to learn about our cultural practices, but you're not going to see them insisting that Gaia the Wiccan Earth Goddess and her sacrament of recycling be taught in school.
My husband and I are old-fashioned, strict Roman Catholic. At present, our church has a school attached, but the waiting list is so long and the classes are so small, the possiblity of our children being placed is slim.
Since the Southern Baptists in our area are most closely aligned with our moral beliefs (overlooking litergical and some doctrinal differences, the Southern Baptists hold a similarly strong line on morality), we are sending our children to a Baptist Pre-School and will probably start them in a Baptist Sunday School program. I already spoke to the Pastor; he is more than willing to have our children attend Sunday School there, even though my husband and I are of a different denomination.
The program is wonderful, very Christ centered, and has built upon what I have been teaching my children at home. They are still babies (2 and 3), but they have fabulous manners, are well behaved, and love learning. There is plenty of rough and tumble play time, too, particularly in our house.
My girlfriend very much wants to home school and has investigated the network here in our area. Since I went to school to teach, I am highly confident I could aid her in this venture.
Should my children encounter difficulty with the local public school, I will teach them at home. After having tutored several kids on the block and having witnessed the errors and omissions in assignments given to them, I am confident I am equally, if not better qualified to instruct them - and I will do so, without hesitation.