The War Against
(Feminism Over) Boys


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The War Against (Feminism Over) Boys

Kevin J. Fandl
May 2000

The article in the Atlantic Monthly by Ms. Sommers is symbolic of the  current movement to re-evaluate the entire educational system. Many reports  have been released recently pointing at the poor scores that girls are  receiving, and placing blame solely on boys along with their "aggressive"  natures. I work for an organization which does this exact research, and a  dear friend of mine works with the AAUW (who did the study that Sommers  attacks). According to this source, the study was conducted as by an outside  organization in an attempt to put statistics behind what the public  mainstream opinion was suggesting - that girls suffer more in schools than  boys. Obviously, they got the results that they were looking for.  It does not seem fair to blame Sommers for her report, being that the  articles we've been reading up until now have been very one-sided and have  blinded us to the array of teaching techniques and educational systems  within each school in America. The issue is not as simplistic as many of the  recent studies have made it appear. No, paying more attention to girls in  class will not narrow the gap in scores on standardized tests.

Maybe we  should begin to look at what types of questions we are asking, what types of  skills we are valuing, and what types of students we are creating. Education  has become such a competitive market that schools in the metropolitan DC  area are now proposing to reject students from graduating if they do not  pass the state-issued standardized tests. They also suggest reducing the  already-low salaries of teachers if they cannot produce a class full of  cookie-cutter students that pass the test. Measures such as these should be  examined for legitimacy and motive. Will standardized tests designed to  produce a world of IT professionals and scientists truly balance the scales  and adjust the learning curves between girls and boys? When we raise  children to believe that they can be anything they want to be, and then hand  them a multiple-choice test telling them that it will determine their  future, we are opening up a serious contradiction.

 I am a firm believer that  whether you choose A, B, C, or D, and whether you are a girl or a boy, you  can be anything that you want to be. Of course, I do understand that this is  not the case today, but hopefully we can all agree that this should be a  goal of educational systems. These tests and studies are taking us in the  wrong direction. We need to highlight the individual dreams and goals and  talents of each girl and boy. We do not need to expand the differences  between them and the shortcomings of each. Strength through diversity is  still strength.     On a personal note, I am now in the process of putting together a study of  men's experiences in high schools to get a better idea of which factors  played an important role in their development. If any of you have some ideas  of which questions would be important, where to post this survey, and what  other means I may take to make it as comprehensive and valuable as possible,  I would greatly appreciate it.     

In Peace,  Kevin J. Fandl  
Kevin J. Fandl  727 6th Street #B, SE  Washington, DC 20003  (202) 548-2727   


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