Re: Dialogue on Single-Sex Education -Reply

H Furbrow (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 11:50:20 PDT

Peggy Weeks wrote:
>Not one message I've read here in this discussion dismisses problems
>that male students face.

This is a true statement. But the messages that specifically acknowledge boys
are being disregarded as "missing the point" and "not seeing the forest for
the trees". I've seen no such criticism when the issues of girls and young
women are raised. This gives the appearance of gender bias within this forum.

We're here to discuss single-sex education, and so far, it has been countenenced
only for girls and - ludicrously - for persons of color. Suggestions that boys
be included for any reason have been dismissed out of hand. "Making up for past
discrimination", and fretting that single-sex-ed might cause boys to think they
are a "priveliged class" have gone unquestioned by the majority.

Attempts have also been made to dismiss the single-sex-ed (SSE) question for
boys by setting up an analogy with single race education, thereby raising the
spectre of racism in addition to sexism. I'm sorry, but I miss the point on
that one.

I'm not an educator. But I keep seeing here that the "special needs of girls"
could legally set up a need for SSE, but that the special needs of boys can be
addressed in a co-ed environment. I disagree.Boys in high risk locales who
are in fear of - and in real danger of - losing their lives may not want to talk
about these fears in front of the opposite sex. They might not want to hash out
differences in a way that would meet their emotional needs in a co-ed
environment, where they are now being told that their very mannerisms could
constitute sexual harrassment and result in suspension or expulsion.
Before you read "violence" into this, realize that boys are still expected to
hide emotions such as sadness and anger from girls. They are taught to be
ashamed of failing in front of girls. This could legitimately set up a condition
that causes them to fail out of the sheer fear of failing, just in order to
maintain that "higher level of self-esteem" that feminist studies say are giving
them so much advantage. By the way, there are no studies definitively linking
low academic achievement to low self-esteem. On the contrary, anecdotal
indications are that the relationship is inverse.

Let's give some thought that boys and girls might be biologically different
enough that they might benefit from different schedules, different remedial
work, different disciplinary practices, different physical activity levels, and
different tools for coping emotionally. Society is attempting to disregard any
suggestion that boys are different from girls or vice versa. And feminism is
leading the charge. But when a boy turns 18, he is required to register
for the draft [to become "cannon fodder" as one woman here put it] or be denied
a federal job or a student loan. Suddenly the academic and feminist worlds are
quiet about the subject of gender equity.

While we're on the subject, has it occurred to anyone thatyou have legitimized
expensive government programs to make "equitable" the number of women in male
dominated professions, but give only the faintest lip service to calls for
increasing the number of men in female dominated professions? I speak
particularly of the teaching profession. Yes, the profession of the majority of
participants here. It apears to be the dirty little secret of government
sponsored Ed Equity programs.

If men were caught up in the game at which feminism has become proficient, we
would be clamoring for a full 50% of the slots in our colleges of education,
then insist that we be given guaranteed jobs upon graduation. Pretty radical,
huh? Perfectly equitable by the standards I see around here. But the double
standard set up by legislative trickery like Title IX could interpret it as
illegal if men were to press for such "equity". Afer all, we aren't defined in
the fine print as a "protected class". So any calls for increased numbers of
men in female dominated jobs, in my opinion, is meant not to be taken
seriously, but to create a facade which would otherwise show this movement
in favor of "equity" as the sexist money grubbing girls club it is.

H. Furbrow

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