Dr. Helen

“Boys are treated like defective girls.”

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men, has an article in Time: What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed:

Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.”

Christina offers three suggestions to schools: Bring Back Recess, Turn Boys into Readers and Work With the Young Male Imagination. I agree but I wonder if we can trust schools not to botch up such suggestions. As the article points out, recess needs to be something boys want to do, not some dopey structured play, the books must be interesting to guys, not books that teachers think boys want to read or some list of acceptable PC material, and dealing with some boys being interested in war, weapons and pirates needs to be seen as normal, not aberrant behavior.