Sunday, February 12, 2006

OK, so I was taking a shower, and this quote kept going through my head, and I just had to post it while we're still thinking of Doug Anglin. Here's Anglin at the height of his eloquency:

"But he said: 'I'm not here to try to lower the rights of women or interfere with the rights of minorities. We just want to fix this one problem that we think is a big deal.' "

OK. I just have to say: We'll get to your "big deal" after we fix the following much more pressing learning inequities in this country (what would Doug call them? "Really big deals"?):

1. The fact that African American, Latino, and Native American children face performance gaps in school (check out this link: http://www.fwps.org/info/press/0001/010529gap.html)

2. The rising costs of college for those of us who DON'T come from solidly middle class families (and the budget cuts in federal aid programs). Oh, and while we're at it, the lost ground that many children of lower class families have to make up for once they reach school (because not everyone has parents who can help them with every school assignment).

3. The fact that female students, around the age of puberty, mysteriously start falling behind in math.

4. The consistent societal barriers that women face in getting equal treatment at work (promotions, salaries). The fact that women seem to be the new

5. The challenges faced by those with physical disabilities and actual learning disabilities.

I could go on. But suffice to say, I'd rather see these problems addressed, before dealing with Doug's desire to get grades for his ability to play sports.

3 comments:

Myst Dragon said...

This and the previous article are quite interesting. Thanks.

I had a prof that pointed out the widening gap of men not getting the grades, the test scores, nor the college education (not that he had to, I was in Becky's graduating class). His question was, what happens when men don't have jobs, due to lack of education? Crime skyrockets. However, the solution was never to lower standards. Almost any sane person could see that is stupid.

I'm concerned about attitudes toward boys from girls. Shirts like "boys are stupid. throw rocks at them." I think that's sexist simlar to a (hypothetical) shirt like "girls are sluts. Beat them up." Our society needs to figure it's crap out. Something fierce. How about teaching both sexes to respect one another?

And stop coming up with half-assed excuses for failure? Call it what it is.

Becky said...

Thanks for your comment! Wow, I very much remember seeing those "boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" shirts EVERYWHERE. I didn't quite understand the craze, but I think you're right that it's sexist (honestly, if you ever saw a shirt that said "throw rocks at girls," you can imagine the outcry, right?) One more example of the bizarre backlash that ends up seeming more like reverse sexism than female empowerment...

And I think it'd be really interesting to hear profs & theorists try to explain what's going on with men in some ways falling behind women in school, with things like honor roll statistics, college admissions, etc... Is it just women catching up and making up for lost time? Are women more socialized to be "rule followers" than men? (Because I still think that our school system is all about jumping through hoops -- doing the busy work even when you know it's not going to help you in your real pursuits.) Ahh I want to keep thinking of this, but I guess I should go make dinner!

Myst Dragon said...

I can't beleive that this is a matter of women being socialized to follow rules more than men. I have two ideas why. First, if that were the case, why would women have strived to break through male-governed institutions, which are very rule-based? Wouldn't it be easier to just follow the rules that men are always the leaders? Second, if it is just a matter of a set of new rules, why would men stop following them all of a sudden, when in the past following rules guaranteed a decent place in society?

I think the problem is that men haven't changed from the start of the women's movement, and their behavior in school or work is still something of a good ol' boy's club. Women have made the changes, they've strived for their position, and the result is women outperforming men academically. In essence, perhaps what was thought as stellar performance for men has always been mediocre. Women are just working harder than men in school, to get ahead and reap the benefits. The guy asking for better grades participating in sports rings all sorts of bells.

What we are seeing now is reaction from parents and male students, because now their men can't just skate through school and expect to succeed as part of that good ol' boy's club. I believe that parents who say school has become feminized are just trying to point the finger back on women, to keep the archaic boy's club in power. It is, in my opinion, just another attempt to turn back the clock and take from women another success.

But these are my opinions. Maybe I'm missing something and it is a matter of of some change in men. However, I stand by that it is more of a lack of change. This is new. Women have never had the upper hand before, and people are just running around with their heads cut off.

About time.