Why One Scholar Thinks There’s a ‘War on Boys’ in America’s Public Schools
May. 19, 2014
By Billy Hallowell
Forget the “war on women.” American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers says that there’s a “war on boys” unfolding in America’s public school classrooms.
Christina Hoff Sommers discusses the so-called War on Boys (Image credit: YouTube/Prager University)
“Being a normal boy is a serious liability in today’s classroom,” Sommers said in a short video lesson for Prager University, a conservative video series. ”Increasingly, our schools have little patience for what only a few decades ago would have been described as boyishness.”
Sommers says it’s past time to make elementary schools more friendly to boys, and she has four ways to do that: turn boys into readers; inspire their imagination; get rid of zero-tolerance policies; and bring recess back.
She noted that boys score lower than girls on reading measures and says they need adventurous content tailored to their interests. She heralded the importance of inspiring the male imagination — something that can be done by embracing the themes they care about.
Boys fall behind, she argues, because schools chastise them for activities and themes they are inclined to care about.
Sommers mentioned the story of a boy who got in trouble for drawing a picture of a sword fight and another child who was suspended last year after chewing his breakfast treat into the shape of a gun to highlight what she says are out-of control policies.
Sommers favors getting rid of zero-tolerance policies that put boys at a higher risk of being expelled, many times for what she called “minor acts of insubordination.”
Sommers also says that bringing back recess would help meet boys needs as they require the ability to “work off their energy.”
“As our schools become more feelings centered, more competition-free, more sedentary they move further away from the needs of boys,” Sommers said. “We need to reverse the male averse trends.”
Watch her explain these themes below: