[EDEQUITY] Re: Categorically Terrifying

From: CFlood@aol.com
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 12:10:44 EDT


With this post, the time is long overdue for me to enter this discussion.
use of such anecdotal information to characterize the entire body of
equity advocacy" is so deliberately divisive. Further, to use this "story"

as a generalized example without any reference to the facts reflects the
in which gender equity efforts are criticized by those with a purely
political agenda. Christina Hoff Sommers has been doing it for years. Her

peeches are rife with such anecdotes as she rails against the presumed
inaccuracy of research, missing facts, statistics. Her own arguments are
built on anecdote, inaccurate and twisted data and deliberate omission of
information and variables that reveal the true nature and complexity of
gender related issues in our schools and society. For me, the sad truth is

that for every story such as the one you share, I can, from personal
experience as an educator, share 5 that are "terrifying" in their impact on

girls. So, who do we believe? But, I don't want to go round and round
that...such anecdotes are not the basis of advocacy.

Your post does little more than perpetuate this extremely tired, simplistic

and politically motivated "either/or" debate. This "seesaw" discussion
which group suffers most and where efforts truly need to be focused only
serves the purpose of being divisive. It reflects the "misdirection" of a
"con-artist" or "sleight of hand" magician...no one wins, except for the
con-artist. The notion that such "categorically terrifying" stories can
collectively create some basis for the "emerging" concerns about the needs
boys in our schools is as unsubstantiated as the claims of a "war against

As an educator for over 30 years now (18 as a gender equity advocate),
serious concerns about boys are not "emerging" or new at all and they
certainly have not resulted from a focus on girls. All my teaching was in
special education with children with social-emotional problems (80-90% of
whom were boys...this is not "nature" we are talking about here)...just one

well substantiated example of boys in need. Boys are also nine times as
likely to be diagnosed with ADHD/ADD and their lag in reading and writing
test scores have been consistent for over 30 years. 85% of the violence in

chool (in society) is committed by males....and then there is the suicide
rate; 5 times that of girls. Most of these patterns precede any gender
equity efforts in our schools.

I really don't want to hear the response that, as Sommers likes to suggest,

these are just "subsets" of all boys. To minimize these serious concerns
such a way, while also claiming boys problems are caused by gender equity
advocacy or some "pro-girl" agenda is what is terrifying to me. If there
any "subset" of boys in this debate, it is the truly few athletes you claim

have been victimized by Title IX. That fact is still questionalble when
"football factor" is thrown into the equation (namely, the refusal of many
athletic programs to cut in that area). Ever wonder why the University of
Michigan (for example) "suits up" 130 football players for a home game?
I played football we never had more than about 35-40 players and I remember

the equipment being incredibly expensive...but that was in the late 60's.

Contrary to the "debate," gender equity advocacy and a focus on girls needs

has not created the concerns about boys needing our attention. Boys,
particularly the ones we need to be concerned about, have long been
out of our classrooms and schools either into special education classes or
into the streets. My work and the work of many of my colleagues in gender
equity have always taken the needs of both girls and boys seriously. Much
my own work for the past ten years has specifically focused on ways to
address the concerns about boys in our schools. I have implemented
successful programs in that arena, at the same time I have assisted schools

in attending to the particular needs of many girls.

Where is there any discussion of the work that has been implemented on
of boys? Two years ago I sat next to Sommers in a meeting about boys and
discussed such work, yet it never finds its way into her critique. To do
would mean acknowledging that gender equity advocates have long recognized
the cost of bias for boys in our schools.

Most important, none of my work, nor the work of my colleagues, has ever
conducted at the expense of any group. That simply cuts against the grain
our ultimate goals. Such "either/or" conceptualizations are only the fuel
debates, the true challenge in our schools is creating learing environments

that mutually address the needs of BOTH girls AND boys. That is the most
truly amazing magic and it is the more accurate reflection of gender equity

advocacy work. And I can back the success of such efforts with all the
you would like.

Amber, I have always enjoyed a debate, but what I enjoy most about my work
knowing that I have been able to make a difference in the lives of both
and boys, including my daughters and son. I would like to see the
here assume that challenge. It can be done...it has been done...it is
happening everyday. No one wins in the kind of war that is being
Makes me wonder who's war is it, anyway? It has never been mine nor my
colleagues. It is "misdirection" at its finest. Peggy McIntosh at
has suggested that boys are being used as "human shields" to further a
political agenda that benefits few. Thankfully, the "con" doesn't work if
refuse to be "duped" and keep our eyes on the real prize. Worry for our
girls and boys if we can't stayed focused on that. Care to become a part
that effort?


Dr. Craig P. Flood, Chair
National Coalition for Sex Equity in Education

Email: cflood@aol.com

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