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.
That's why I didn't teach. Went all the way to my senior year, got high praise from others for my classroom management skills and perception, my "student-teacher" instructors thought I was a natural.
Then I realized I would need a second job just to eat in most parts of the country.
Sorry, couldn't do it. My day started at 7:30 a.m. and usually didn't end till 8:00 p.m., after grading 150 papers, writing tests, lesson plans, etc.
Did I love it? Heck, yes, I loved it. Would I have burned out after a few years. Probably.
Did I make more money moving into another field. Goodness, yes, gobs of it.
When I was in school the kids would all move way back when it was my turn to kick the ball!
I loved that and also loved to kick!
Wasn't as good as Ray Guy of the Raiders though! =^)
Are you serious?? .. Why can't these adults just let kids be kids ..
It's a bad time to be a boy in America. As the new millennium begins, the triumphant victory of our women's soccer team has come to symbolize the spirit of American girls. The defining event for boys is the shooting at Columbine High.
"The carnage committed by two boys in Littleton,Colorado."declares the Congressional Quarterly Researcher," has forced the nation to reexamine the nature of boyhood in America."
William Pollack, director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital and author of the best-selling Real Boys; Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood, tells audiences around the country, "The boys in Littleton are the tip of the ice-berg. And the iceberg is all boys!
Especially during deer season, rifles were common in the back window racks of trucks parked in the student parking lot. We were allowed to carry pocket knives. We prayed before football games and said the pledge of alliegance. Fights between students were met with paddlings instead of police.
What a difference 20 years makes.
Nor would I. And thankfully it's not an issue for us. But sadly, some school districts don't offer a choice and even question a parent's ability to care for their child if they refuse.
A good idea if they can stay private or all boys. But in our area all-boys have become co-ed and some have been subverted by 'well-meaning' school boards under the guise of improving education or making sure they follow a state approved curriculum.
Homeschooling is a great alternative, for those who can.
That's exactly what they don't want. Boys, masculinity in general, are bad, haven't you heard? They want to make sure the boys socialize properly (read - like girls).
Wow, I mean, wow. I didn't read this - till now. Perhaps they have reversed that. Perhaps the behavior of the 2 boys is a result of years of ritalin and behavior forcibly altered.
And proud of it.
In April 1999, the massacre a Columbine HS shocked an uncomprehending nation by its cold brutality. It was the seventh school shoting in less than two years. This time, more than ever, the public's need to make sense of such tragedies was palpable. How could this happen?
Asking "Why now?" and "Why here?" puts us onto the track of what is missing in the American way of socializing children that was present in the recent past. To find the answers, we need to attend to the views of the progressive-education theorists who adovocated abandoning the traditional mission of indoctrinating children in the "old morality." They succeeded in persuading the American educational establisment to adopt instead the romantic moral pedagogy of Rousseau.
Teachers and parents who embraced this view badly underestimated the potential barbarism of children who are not given a directive moral education. That the romantic approach to moral education is harmful is becoming increasingly obvious to the public, but it will take some time for the educational establishment to change. One week after the Colorado shootings, Secretary of Education Richard Riley talked to a group of students at a high school in Annapolis, Maryland. After the secretary rounded up the usual causes and reasons for the atrocity, a student asked him about one he had mot mentioned: "Why haven't students been offered ethics classes?" Secretary Rily seemed taken aback by the question.
Had K-12 teachers in the Littleton schools seen it as their routine duty to civilize the students in their care, they would never have overlooked the bizarre, antisocial behavior of Klebold and Harris. When the boys appeared in school with T-shirts with the words "Serial Killer" emblazoned on them, their teachers would have sent them home. Nor would the boys have been allowed to wear swastikas or produce grotesquely violent videos. By tolerating these modes of "self-expression" the adults at the High School implicitly sent the message to the students that there's not much wrong with the serial or mass murder of innocent people.
And, no doubt, praised for their creativity.
Thanks for posting the rest of the article.
Ethics class? I wonder if ethics class shouldn't be preceded by ethics taught at home. It's my understanding that in another such shooting, the boy (was it the one in Seattle area?) was left alone for hours on end with his computer and video equipment. He was called creative and left to do as he pleased so as not to stifle his creativity. Since when is any discipline translated as stifling creativity? But the article hits the nail on the head:
. To find the answers, we need to attend to the views of the progressive-education theorists who adovocated abandoning the traditional mission of indoctrinating children in the "old morality." They succeeded in persuading the American educational establisment to adopt instead the romantic moral pedagogy of Rousseau.
It seems to be on/off. Either no supervision or molding the next metrosexual generation of males.
Isn't indoctrination children in the old morality just a twisted way of saying teaching right from wrong? I love when they call the old method 'indoctrination', but their method, which is more intense indoctrination, is merely the 'correct' way and not indoctrination at all.
I attended Catholic high school myself; very advanced curriculum, long days, lots of electives. Heck, I even skipped lunch twice a week to attend an elective art class!
Spent one year of business school and two years of college never cracking a book. I didn't need to. I had learned it already in high school.
Great school, great teachers, great principal. I'm a fan of religious education, despite all the pathetic movies Hollywood puts out bashing it. Made all the difference for me!
Belated bump! Thanks for posting this.
I agree, it IS a war on boys. Kids (both boys and girls) NEED recess. They need time for free play, not all this constant structured activity.
A little structured activity in physical education class is ok. Unfortunately, even physical education has been phased out in many schools over the years. Or sissified.
When I was in elementary school, we had two recess periods per day on a huge, well equipped playground. We also had a very large sand lot for playing football, baseball, kickball, etc. Boys could be boys back then!