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Dr. Helen

Schools can’t kill imagination but they can sure try

August 19th, 2013 - 11:35 am

Christian Hoff Sommers, whose updated book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men comes out tomorrow, has an article in Time entitled “School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys”:

Girls occasionally run afoul of these draconian policies; but it is mostly boys who are ensnared. Boys are nearly five times more likely to be expelled from preschool than girls. In grades K-12, boys account for nearly 70% of suspensions, often for minor acts of insubordination and defiance. In the cases of Christopher, Josh and Alex, there was no insubordination or defiance whatsoever. They were guilty of nothing more than being typical 7-year-old boys. But in today’s school environment, that can be a punishable offense.

Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodgeball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun….”

Schools must enforce codes of discipline and maintain clear rules against incivility and malicious behavior. But that hardly requires abolishing tag, imposing games of tug of peace or banning superhero play. Efforts to re-engineer the young-male imagination are doomed to fail, but they will succeed spectacularly in at least one way. They will send a clear and unmistakable message to millions of schoolboys: You are not welcome in school.

It is this message that has alienated thousands of boys and led some of them to decide college is not for them. It’s almost like there is a a college strike or something.

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All Comments   (10)
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College is now a high cost low yield endeavor for most men. College is about garnering prestige and not seeking truth.

For men, who have a natural predilection for technical material, you can learn science and math better on your own without being cudgeled with "sensitivity and awareness" courses. Here is a short list of books I have found useful for self study:

Heat - Essential Steam Power Library - International Correspondence School Paperback – January 1, 2006
by Lindsay Publications
Entropy and Steam (Essential Steam Power Library) (2006) Lindsay Publications
Mathematical Preparation for Physical Chemistry Paperback
by Farrington Daniels
(Even if you are not going to study P-Chem, this is a great book for elucidating Partial Derivatives).
Differential and Integral Calculus, Vol. One and Two by Richard Courant
(massive but very good. This is much better that the muddled explanations given by graduate student TA's)

I know women can learn technical things but it's really not in their blood. How many girls have I met that rave about their Holley carburetor or 426 Hemi engine? None!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dr. H. fwiw, I have teenaged grandchildren, and thus read facebook. I routinely see young teenage boys in the early stages of puberty declaring themselves gay. It is especially prevalent in boys who are still waiting for a little muscle.
1. The gushing teenage girls as 'just friends' gives them better access than the traditional male profile.
2. Teachers pay attention to them, both as 'girls' and as 'oppressed minorities'.
3. The abrosexual communities give them positive cultural support.
4. Sex, when introduced, only has to feel good, thus supporting the puberic decision.
5. Now that in many places Trans Gender or Third Gender self identification is becoming legal, boys are finding a hide out.

It is also worth noting that the human zygote, in utero, begins life as female, then, when maleness is specified genetically, hormones kick in and begin flooding the one day old zygote, creating men. What happens to women who were on birth control, female hormones, when the child is meant to be male. Heck if I know.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
25% Fewer Men Than Women Graduate College; Obama: It's ‘A Great Accomplishment ... For America' - See more at:

( - In an op-ed published Saturday in Newsweek, President Barack Obama marked the 40th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX--which bars gender discrimination in education—and noted that more women in the United States are now graduating from college than men, which he characterized as “a great accomplishment” for the nation. “In fact, more women as a whole now graduate from college than men,” Obama wrote. “This is a great accomplishment—not just for one sport or one college or even just for women but for America. [b]And this is what Title IX is all about.[/b]”

Nothing to be concerned about folks..."it's a great accomplishment for America."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was going to email you today and tell you the story of my 3 year old son and the preschool drama. They require 3 year olds to be "100% potty trained" even though every book and pediatrician I've consulted tells me that should not be expected until 4. The general consensus is that "boys go later than girls" in the potty training developmental leap and yet almost all preschools require 3 year olds to be 100% potty trained. The result? His class has 10 girls and 4 boys. And the school reserves the right to expel a child for "excessive accidents." It's no wonder people don't put boys in 3 year old preschool. Girls are disproportionately receiving a head start (no pun intended).

The school administrators are talking to me like my child is remedial because of a muscle development issue in his bladder (what the pediatric urologist calls it) and yet at home, I've been successful at teaching him how to count to 20 (not just 10), to read small words (not just know the alphabet), and to differentiate between a pentagon and an octagon (not just standard shapes). Homeschool is looking better and better from my vantage point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't read "every book" and talk to "every pediatrician" about potty training. Talk to your grandparents and ask what past practice was. Until the overpermissiveness, "don't squelch the spoiled rugrat" brigade took over this stuff and advised gullible parents to follow their worthless advice, it was usual to potty train every child by age TWO, or very shortly after the child's second birthday.

This didn't cause the child any discernible problem; it was universal: toilet trained around age 2. This is still the standard in most other industrialized countries. Only in the US do we see children routinely still in diapers at ages 3 and 4. It was only about 10 years ago that diapers for that large a toddler became widely available, which should tell you something.

This is one of many problems with today's parents raising today's children. We expect less, we get less.

So do us a favor and don't homeschool. If you are following that garbage advice on potty training, then your child is likely to be one of the growing number of "homeschooled" children who still can't read at age 12. Can't rush things, you know. Then after your child begins committing crimes in his mid-teens because he wasn't taught right from wrong, you'll be saying, "He's just a child! I didn't see the need to rush to teach him how to behave in society!" And you'll be part of the problem.

In fact, you already are.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That is a truly fascinating nuance.

The kind of factoid that the MSM cowards wouldn't dare publish.

Nice work, SelinaB5!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The most important thing to a 3 year old is a secure relationship with a parent. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Numbers, colors, shapes....all that is absorbed while you doing other things. Kids are hard wired to learn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You and a few other concerned mothers will, possibly, save your sons, as long as you allow them to be boys at home. Snaps and snails and puppy dog tails. Unfortunately most of this garbage is perpetrated by your peers, even unto their own sons.

Home schooling is a God send for lots and lots of issues. Unmentioned, however, is the sense of achievement in sending a well taught, productive, functional human being into the world who will produce the ultimate reward ... grandchildren. Way more satisfying than a career...especially since most women have no more chance to be a CEO than do men.

The danger is over mothering. Too much piano and not enough scrapped knees. I am associated with an active home school community. 90% are superb results.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another institution ruined by concentrated power giving control over to the politicians, special interest groups, and social engineers. The war against boys isn't the only bad agenda being implemented in our public schools. This is why parents need to support school vouchers with decentralized control and competition.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"They will send a clear and unmistakable message to millions of schoolboys: You are not welcome in school."

Mission accomplished. Why would the authorities abandon such an obviously successful policy?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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