Sunday, April 16, 2006

More Statistical Lies Put Out by Our Men

Like the “missile gap” between the US and the Soviet Union that scared the American public into pouring more money into the military, starving our public sector of desperately required funds for other goods and services. Or the infamous “weapons of mass destruction” that tricked us into Iraq causing the on-going deaths and crippling of thousands of American soldiers, these fathers of lies never get tired of spinning the truth, no matter the cost to others.

Just as many of us suspected right along there is NO CRISIS FOR MOST BOYS AND/OR MEN in western civilization. It is total and complete bullcrap made up by our men trying to get MORE resources for themselves, when they already have so much already; but always grasping for more as is the nature of the male of every species as well as our own. Or should I say ESPECIALLY our own, since let’s face it the men of western civilization have made an art form of the statistical lie to justify getting their own way.

If you need any more evidence of this just look at the way men have manipulated the statistics against mothers ever since high child support guidelines became mandatory.

Now those statistical lies have morphed into an excuse to instigate a custody fight at every opportunity painting themselves as soooo concerned about children. How coincidental that this concern never manifested itself earlier when it could have done some real good for children in dire situations such as all the children they propagated on slave women over the centuries or the thousands of homeless boys abandoned on the streets of every major city at the turn of the last century.

Instead a man with NO KIDS (a priest) had to start a social movement to help those homeless boys, that's why Boy's Town was created. How come no father ever thought to do that when all these poor boys were homeless on the streets? THEN they said nothing, when a fathers' movement could have done some real good to help children, but NOW they are concerned and of course, their concern has led them to fighting for custody.

AND, of course, it's probably just a coincidence that men are then allowed to use these kids to get tax benefits/credits, housing subsidiaries, medical and food supplements as well as child support from the child's mothers using imputed income, and a 101 other public benefits for their own fat, greedy selves...

I predict that if the men in western civilization continue their attempts to use statistical lies in order to amass more resources for themselves, at the expense of everyone else including their own women and children, they will wind up destroying us all.

If they continue…

The Myth of 'The Boy Crisis'
By Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Chait Barnett

Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page B01

It was the early 1900s, and boys were supposedly in crisis. In monthly magazines, ladies' journals and books, urgent polemics appeared, warning that young men were spending too much time in school with female teachers and that the constant interaction with women was robbing them of their manhood. In Congress, Sen. Albert Beveridge of Indiana railed against overeducation. He urged young men to "avoid books and in fact avoid all artificial learning, for the forefathers put America on the right path by learning completely from natural experience."

What boys needed, the experts said, was time outdoors, rubbing elbows with one another and learning from male role models. That's what led -- at least in part -- to the founding of the Boy Scouts in 1910.

Now the cry has been raised again: We're losing our boys. The media have been hyping America's new "boy crisis" in magazine cover stories, a PBS documentary and countless newspaper articles. Boys, these reports lament, are falling behind in academic achievement, graduating from high school at lower rates than girls, occupying fewer seats in college classrooms, displaying poorer verbal skills.

This time, experts are calling for a complete overhaul of American education based on gender, saying that boys are wired differently from girls, learn in different ways and may just need their own schools. Boys, they say, are at a disadvantage in the many classrooms headed by female teachers, who are supposedly hostile to their sex. One male high school student in Massachusetts has even filed a federal lawsuit claiming that his school is biased against males.
But are American boys in academic free fall? Not really, if we look closely. Nor do they need special boys-only classrooms to teach them in ways tailored for their unique brains.

The boy crisis we're hearing about is largely a manufactured one, the product of both a backlash against the women's movement and the media's penchant for continuously churning out news about the latest dire threat to the nation. The subject got a big boost last year when first lady Laura Bush announced that she was going to turn her attention to the problems of boys.

But those problems are hardly so widespread. The alarming statistics on which the notion of a crisis is based are rarely broken out by race or class. When they are, the whole picture changes. It becomes clear that if there is a crisis, it's among inner-city and rural boys. White suburban boys aren't significantly touched by it. On average, they are not dropping out of school, avoiding college or lacking in verbal skills. Although we have been hearing that boys are virtually disappearing from college classrooms, the truth is that among whites, the gender composition of colleges is pretty balanced: 51 percent female and 49 percent male, according to the National Education Association. In Ivy League colleges, men still outnumber women.

One group of studies found that although poor and working-class boys lag behind girls in reading when they get to middle school, boys in the wealthiest schools do not fall behind, either in middle school or in high school. University of Michigan education professor Valerie Lee reports that gender differences in academic performance are "small to moderate."

When it comes to academic achievement, race and class completely swamp gender. The Urban Institute reports that 76 percent of students who live in middle- to higher-income areas are likely to graduate from high school, while only 56 percent of students who live in lower-income areas are likely to do so. Among whites in Boston public schools, for every 100 males who graduate, 104 females do. A tiny gap.

But among blacks, for every 100 males who graduate, 139 females do. Florida's graduation rates among all students show a striking picture of race and class: 81 percent for Asians, 60 percent for whites, 48 percent for Hispanics and 46 percent for blacks.

A peculiar image of the "typical" boy has emerged in many media reports: He's unable to focus, can't sit still, hates to read, acts up in class, loves sports and video games, gets in trouble a lot. Indeed, such boys exist -- it has long been established that boys suffer more from attention deficit disorder than girls do -- and they need all the help they can get. But research shows this is not the typical boy. Boys, in fact, are as -- or more -- different from one another as they are from girls.

Nonetheless, some are advocating boys-only classrooms in which boys would be taught in boot-camp fashion. In a recent Newsweek cover story, Houston neurologist Bruce Perry described today's co-ed classes as a "biologically disrespectful model of education." In the New Republic, Richard Whitmire wrote of a "verbally drenched curriculum" that is "leaving boys in the dust." New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested that boys ought to be given books about combat, to hold their interest. (Forget Julius Caesar, give them GI Joe?)

There's actually not much evidence that most boys lack verbal skills. In 2005, University of Wisconsin psychologist Janet Hyde synthesized data from 165 studies on verbal ability and gender. They revealed a female superiority so slight as to be meaningless. And psychologist Diane Halpern of Claremont McKenna College looked at many studies of verbal and math abilities and found that, overall, the gender differences were remarkably small.

This research casts doubt on the idea, championed by author Michael Gurian ("The Wonder of Boys") and others, that boys' and girls' brains are so different that they must be taught in very different ways. Although there are indeed some structural differences in the brains of men and women, we don't know what they mean. Perhaps very little. In the 19th century, scientists thought that the greater size of the male brain meant that men were a lot smarter. We now know how off the mark that was.

The Massachusetts student who has brought the discrimination suit against his high school wants boys to be given credit for sports and to be excused from the school's community service requirement. But might that not send the message to boys that they are inherently too dumb to get academic credit and too insensitive to be concerned about community issues?

Many, perhaps most, boys would be bored to tears in the kind of classroom that is now being described as "boy-friendly" -- a classroom that would de-emphasize reading and verbal skills and would rely on rote learning and discipline -- because it is really a remedial program in disguise. That's great for boys who need it, but most boys, especially those in affluent suburban schools, don't.

Still, as Newsweek reported, educators "are reviving an old idea: separate the girls from the boys." We may see a rush to single-sex classrooms that won't really be good educational policy. California tried such classrooms in the 1990s under Gov. Pete Wilson, but they did not succeed in boosting academic achievement. In fact, according to a 2001 Ford Foundation report, the academic success of both girls and boys is influenced more by small classes, strong curricula and qualified teachers than by single-sex settings.

The Department of Defense offers a better model. DOD runs a vast network of schools on military bases in the United States and abroad for more than 100,000 children of service members. And in those schools, there is no class and race gap. That's because these schools have high expectations, a strong academic focus, and hire teachers with years of classroom experience and training (a majority with master's degrees). Of course, this solution costs money, and has none of the sex appeal of the trendy single-sex-school quick fix.

Obsessing about a boy crisis or thinking that American teachers are waging a war on boys won't help kids. What will is recognizing that students are individuals, with many different skills and abilities. And that goes for both girls and boys.

Caryl Rivers is a professor of journalism at Boston University. Rosalind Chait Barnett is a senior scientist at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.

Just to be clear historically ALL WOMEN in our society of every race and ethnic background faced the same discriminatory educational and employment issues. matter how much money their families had or how important or well connected their family was. For instance, none of the ivy leagues used to admit women until fairly recently. This doesn't sound like a big deal today but then it probably meant even women from elite families were denied opportunities to enter the prestigious fields of law, medicine, or politics as these schools were the engine that fed many of those fields.

Additionally it probably meant that the only outlet for most women to express themselves in any really significant way or participate in society in some manner was through a marriage and children, as what else existed for them? Sadly if you look at the resume of most famous women they all start with either her father or her husband, sometimes a brother or a son, being a man of distinction and she piggybacked to some greatness through this important boost.

Anyway, this policy of the ivies I believe is really even the genesis of the gender gap in college today. Since many of the 'sister' colleges these all male ivies started became schools for JUST women and pretty much remain so (unofficially) today, ie., Vassar, Barnard, etc.,...

Actually where I work this has definitely been the genesis of a gap between the number of men and women attending the college. As what happened is the all-women 'sister' school, which was started to allow women to attend classes without getting rid of the all-men admissions policy, well their sister decided NOT to merge into the all-male college in the 80s after it became co-ed. The 'sister' school felt it had already established it's own identify and wanted to keep it. So now they have the sister school (an all-woman college) and their own college (both 50% men and 50% women now since the 80s) attending classes this, of course, means MORE WOMEN then men in classes.

I think this is what they refer to as 'blowback'...

Anyhow, we see the same sort of thing in employment. Since some women did manage to get an education but then no one would hire them in the established industries, law, medicine, newspapers, etc., after graduation. So what did they do...they started their own employment industry the 'settlement house movement'.

This was really the genesis of the entire social/public services industry that so dominates the many urban areas employment scene today. Everything from classes in English to personal hygenie and housekeeping were offered to women. All of this was largely financed through private contributions from sponsors (ie., family and friends of these women) and later when it was shown to be a useful aid into integrating newly immigrated families into the mainstream some small government funding followed. AND the same sort of funding patterns are obvious today in many non-profit groups, that followed in the footsteps of these earlier women.

If you ever have the opportunity to walk through the streets of the lower east side of Manhattan you will see the tributes to these early pioneer women celebrated in the names of the buildings as memorials to them.

For instance, Jane Addams, who originally brought the settlement house movement over from England. She opened Hull House in Chicago, which still exists today and still adheres to the original mission of providing services to the surrounding community.

Lillian Wald, founder of the Henry Street Settlement. Again, this stands as a tribute to her, even today. Actually the NAACP was founded there at the Henry Street Settlement. I just walked past the place yesterday and I was impresssed with the range of its activities as it is STILL working within the community but now with the homeless, children and teenagers.

Margaret Sanger, yes I know it's conventional wisdom to hate her today...she was a racist, eugenist, etc., YET remember one thing many of these women were from the elite classes or at the very least, like Sanger, associated and used the language of the elite. So what we assume was racist language and thinking was very common then and many others "clearly identified with the broader issues of health and fitness that concerned the early 20th-century eugenics movement". So it wasn't JUST about racism as many people try to tar her with today. It also concerned mothers being fit and healthy to bear children.

Additionally many of the 'shanty' Irish and recent Italian immigrants were Margaret Sanger's patients. She was on-call for her patients day and night, often working alone and lugging heavy bags of medical instruments up steep tenement stairs in order to help women deliver babies or treat them when they were ill. So that doesn't sound like someone who hated these people. She also worked with many African American groups in the rural South who recognized that "uncontrolled fertility represented the greatest burden to the poor".

Eventually she too started an organization that exists to this day, Planned Parenthood which is NOT just about abortion but about OB/GYN exams, well-baby care in some of its locations, as well as birth control for women including but not limited to abortion.

Anyway my main point here is that ALL women suffered discrimination no matter their race or social class. Otherwise these women would probably have been working in medicine, law or even government and we would never have had a settlement house movement or any of the other organizations that were begun during this period. I, at least, think our society would have been the poorer due to this so I'm glad these women were't siphoned off into more conventional employment areas. I love walking through that area btw and seeing all those names/places, etc., and realizing what good women accomplished by being outside the mainstream.

But back to my main point, ALL men have NOT suffered discrimination like ALL women have. So this makes it very offensive for ALL men to use the statistics of mostly African-American men to get special benefits and considerations for themselves.

Quite frankly, it's disgusting.

Now, I know that this 'special privileges' for certain victim groups has gotten out of control, I know that. But let's attack that problem directly...not divert energy from it by attempting to paint more of us as bigger victims...

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