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Laws needs an education

Written By: - Date published: 3:32 pm, November 9th, 2009 - 43 comments
Categories: education, feminism, scoundrels - Tags:

I told myself I’d never do a post on pathetic publicity groupie Michael Laws, so here I am failing to live up to yet another resolution. Sigh. But really, this can’t pass without comment:

Boys are failing, and feminism is at fault

One of the great triumphs of feminism is education. It is a profession now completely dominated by women and by feminine thinking. Early childhood education and primary schooling are dominated by women nine out of 10 teachers are female. It is also a profession that aims to imbue political correctness schooling being the method by which this social imperialism is imparted. I have no difficulty with education providing alternative views, but there is something dangerously monocultural about education today: one world view that dare not be challenged.

Consequently the latest research by the Ministry of Education on university bachelors’ degrees should not surprise. Almost two-thirds of undergraduate degrees are gained by women. Even in traditional specialist fields like law, medicine, accounting and planning, the majority of graduates are women. And that trend is increasing.

It used to be the conventional wisdom that girls developed earlier in education but then that boys caught up. That is no longer true. Boys are not catching up and the gap is getting greater. Boys are failing, and then failing some more. They are having opportunity stripped away every day. … But these criticisms aside, boys should still be doing better. Something is seriously wrong when the gender achievement gap accentuates with age, rather than diminishes.

But the issue remains. The Ministry of Education accepts boys are backward with regard to reading and writing and girls stay at school longer. But that’s it no new policy or funding. At Year 6, twice as many boys as girls will be in reading recovery something of a joke these days because it is so chronically under-resourced. Education Minister Anne Tolley drew the ire of teaching unions last month for directing that any new education funding needs to go into the basics reading, writing and maths. She might have gone further and also redirected non-basic streams especially at boys. But it’s a start. In the meantime, parents will still expect their children irrespective of gender to be getting a good, basic education in the nation’s state schools. Certainly, their daughters will. Too bad about their sons.

There’s a serious issue in there of course, and it should be explored by both educational experts and in the broader context of other societal changes and issues. But Laws does this process more harm than good by casting it as the fault of “feminism” (what is “feminine thinking” exactly?). In this piece Laws has simply clouded the issue with his own prejudice and insecurity.

43 comments on “Laws needs an education ”

  1. trademark 1

    There’s certainly much that could be said about Michael Laws… but instead of going on about that, why don’t we talk about the issue: why are more boys failing and what can be done about it?

  2. SHG 2

    Summary: r0b agrees with Laws, but feels guilty about it.

    • Daveski 2.1

      Not that r0b needs any defence from me, but I’d feel guilty if I agreed with Laws too!

      As paraphrase Groucho Marx, who’d want to hold any political view expressed by Michael Laws (except paid up members of Lynchmobs-R-Us).

    • Ari 2.2

      Or perhaps he agrees that he’s got the facts right, but has absolutely no evidence on what is causing the problem.

      (Personally, I think some of it might have to do with the fact that women often need to be more qualified to land a given job than men, so there are different academic incentives operating here)

      • r0b 2.2.1

        Or perhaps he agrees that he’s got the facts right, but has absolutely no evidence on what is causing the problem

        As Ari says.

        The issue of a disparity in educational outcome for boys and girls exists, no doubt about that. When we understand the causes of this we will have an idea what (if anything) could be done about it. But to blame “feminism” makes about as much sense as the rest of Laws’ peculiar publicity-seeking ravings.

        For starters, is the fact that school teachers are overwhelmingly women a result of “feminism”, or good old fashioned sexism / sex stereotyping (women over represented in low paying jobs and caring professions). Cuss and discuss.

        • mickysavage 2.2.1.1

          Or a result of the sidelining of the profession by the continual attack on wages?

          IMHO teachers should be paid twice as much as accountants or stockbrokers or real estate agents but their pay is severely challenged and getting worse.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.2

          For starters, is the fact that school teachers are overwhelmingly women a result of “feminism’, or good old fashioned sexism / sex stereotyping (women over represented in low paying jobs and caring professions).

          I put it down to some old fashioned stereo typing and fear. The fear popped up in about the 1970s when everyone suddenly decided that all men were paedophiles. After that happened getting a job as a teacher for a man was pretty much a guarantee that you were going to have to defend yourself against unfounded accusations of impropriety and could also end in jail for something you didn’t actually do.

  3. Walter 3

    Mere Laws hit list seems to have grown, we now have:

    – Maori
    – Gang members
    – Beneficiaries
    – Youth
    – Anyone who disagrees with him
    – And now Women!

    So, who does that leave? – ahh…..those nice white middle aged businessmen.

    Well, as a white middle aged businessman myself, I’d like to say I’d rather spend time with any on the list above – over Mr. Laws. What a prick.

    • millsy 3.1

      No, I belive Jews will be next.

      Someone needs to start taking the fight to that piece of fascist scum. Personally I would throw a brick through his window if I could,

  4. George D 4

    The Feminist Conspiracy has also reached the heart of the Islamic Republic of Iran – 60% of university students there are female.

    • prism 4.1

      The Taleban in Afghanistan and various muslim states agree with Michael Laws! Perhaps he is bin Laden’s cousin – his appearance is rather unusual I’ve always thought. Of course states with education for girls also tend to rise up the wealth stakes – that is a regular statistic. Female school teachers may not be so good at coaching rugby though, and a bit prissy and middle class for robust boy education?

  5. Laws is attempting to be the first Kiwi “shock jock”.

    He is making as much sense as his American equivalents. For instance his claim:

    The Ministry of Education accepts boys are backward with regard to reading and writing and girls stay at school longer. But that’s it no new policy or funding. At Year 6, twice as many boys as girls will be in reading recovery something of a joke these days because it is so chronically under-resourced. Education Minister Anne Tolley drew the ire of teaching unions last month for directing that any new education funding needs to go into the basics reading, writing and maths.

    This highlights a major misunderstanding of the issue and why the teachers are so up in arms about Tolley’s proposal. The resources are being redirected away from teaching to running tests. There are absolutely no further resources to help with the kids the testing of who has shown they are lagging. And the teachers will have less time actually teaching them because they will be spending all of their time testing and marking and testing and marking and testing and marking …

    Tolley did not direct that new education funding goes into teaching. She did the exact opposite.

    • Roflcopter 5.1

      The resources are being redirected away from teaching to running tests. There are absolutely no further resources to help with the kids the testing of who has shown they are lagging. And the teachers will have less time actually teaching them because they will be spending all of their time testing and marking and testing and marking and testing and marking

      You need to go have a closer look at what teachers are complaining about. National Standards are about teachers making overall teacher judgements based on EXISTING testing already in place. It’s not about testing more.

      The teachers want more resources available to assist in making the overall teacher judgements for reading, writing & maths.

    • prism 5.2

      The Nats want a willy wonka factory system, where kids turn out square and uniform. Tolley makes much of parents not being informed but you don’t have to introduce another test to improve that.
      Kids developing their own learning after they have the basics might get us further with boys. Catching the attention of some to concentrate on the subject can be hard. I used to see a class in the school library supposedly researching for an essay. One boy spent the whole hour looking at motor magazines making engine noises. Gerald McBoing Boing? He may have been a special class student but some are not wanting to learn in the way that schools are run now.

  6. Chen 6

    “Well, as a white middle aged businessman myself, I’d like to say I’d rather spend time with any on the list above over Mr. Laws.”

    Did saying that give you a sense of smug moral superiority? Laws spends a lot of time mocking white middle aged men & their antics if you pay attention.

  7. Chen 7

    btw. I agree that blaming feminism for male underachievement is silly. Although perhaps a lack of male teachers is a factor?

    • Ari 7.1

      That, and probably a lack of kinestetic-style education where people can learn from touching and doing things without getting told they’re misbehaving.

  8. logie97 8

    Reading Recovery at Year 6. I think not Michael – they may been through the programme but it is for 6 year olds, not 10 and 11 year olds. When he is so ignorant of such facts so the rest of his argument probably fails as well. The man is not worth the read.

  9. vto 9

    I betcha Laws point about feminism being to blame has a part (a point is a point no matter how small) truth to it. Why wouldn’t it? It was a major movement some time ago and forces like that can take some time to work through a bunch of people like us. If it is a factor then whine and moan a bit and then acknowledge and get on with it.

    • Ari 9.1

      So what part of feminist philosophy is about leaving young boys behind?

      I’d have to say that any feminist I talk to about boys underachieving seems concerned, (and some of them are actually involved in solving the problem) so long as I don’t act like they’re soulless demons who are at fault for everything. 😉

  10. vto 10

    r0b, your post doesn’t say why what Laws says is dumbo jumbo, it just says it is. Why?

    • r0b 10.1

      I dunno, maybe someone dropped him on his head?

      No seriously – because:

      (1) “Feminism” addresses social, political and economic equality for women, it isn’t an educational theory and it doesn’t have a secret plan to take over and run education.

      (2) The dominance of women in teaching is not evidence of any feminist take over, it is evidence of longstanding gender based inequalities in the workforce and in pay.

      (3) There is no evidence (of which I am aware, not an expert) that female teachers damage educational outcomes for boys. (There may be evidence that male teachers as role models have other beneficial effects separate from educational outcomes, that’s a different matter).

      (4) There’s no evidence that the concepts of “feminine thinking” and “feminisation of education” are real enough to have any actual impact in the real world.

      (5) It’s not obvious (again, need to see the stats, bet Laws hasn’t) that the gender balance in the teaching profession has changed significantly in the last few decades.

      (6) Society has changed in many many ways in the last few decades that are much more significant than any slight change in teacher balance. (Perhaps video games make boys dumb.)

      (7) Right wingers love to rabbit on about individual responsibility for the poor and minorities and so on. But when their sons aren’t achieving suddenly it’s women’s fault? Phuhleaze.

      (8) Laws is a twerp.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        There is no evidence (of which I am aware, not an expert) that female teachers damage educational outcomes for boys.

        When I was in the primary schooling system 40 years ago, there were still a substantial number of male teachers, nowadays they are a small minority.

        Over the last 30 or so years both relatively and absolutely fewer young men are achieving compared to their female peers at University level.

        These two trends may or may not be causually related, but somehow I get the feeling no-one has done the basic research that could cast some real light on this question. In the meantime I suspect that it’s an open, and still valid question to ask.

        • Zorr 10.1.1.1

          I am choosing to enter the teaching profession to my own detriment. I have many friends trying to dissuade me from such a choice due to the fact that as a male teacher I will undoubtedly, at some point, have to deal with being accused of some impropriety. Despite this, and the continuing climate of uncertainty around the future of schools in this country, I am choosing to go in to teaching.

          Why? Because I want to. Because I have a very active desire to teach and help raise the next generation. Not everyone has this and the points I mentioned previously are enough to drive off most potential male teachers. To be a male teacher in this day and age, you either have to be very brave or very stupid… or maybe a little of both.

  11. Ron 11

    Fascinating that when boys fail it’s the system’s fault but when Maori fail – it’s their own fault.

    But further to the discussion – there seems to be a bit of disagreement about the stats. Just with the single sex school myth the rel problem (isn’t it always) seems to be socioeconomic. Educationalists do agree that boys READ less than girls but stats from three years ago showed the achievement gap closing in many sections of the curriculum.

    And how Tolley’s system is going to change this is a mystery. Boys do better in experimental, hands on style learning environment in which the piece together bits of the curriculum to achieve concrete goals. They do much less well is exam and test type environments.

    So once again Laws and his cronies basically don’t know what they’re talking about.

    captcha=logical

  12. RedLogix 12

    In my own primary/intermediate school days I had three male teachers and five female ones. My very clear recollection was that I made much better progress with the male teachers… while I had nothing but a miserable time with the female ones.

    I don’t know how many other men have had similar a experience, and I don’t imagine that it’s a universal one by any means, but it does seem to me that whereas girls generally do well with teachers of either gender, boys tend to do better with male teachers.

    I don’t see this as an ideological issue, nor any slight on the competence or commitment of female teachers; but with male teachers so rare in primary/intermediate schools I cannot help but wonder about the effect it is having.

  13. Dan 13

    The lack of male role models at schools may be part of the problem, but I think a more important problem is that there are many homes with no male model at home. Mum is the only authority figure, and instead of being the protective and caring and encouraging figure of motherhood, she struggles against the peer pressure of the adolescent male, and ends up pretty ineffectual.
    Don’t blame the feminisation of teaching: rather look at the jockism, the booze culture and the inane role models the media trots out where school success is demeaned.

  14. Cal 14

    The question for me is, if girls are smarter than boys, why do we still get paid less?
    Wonder what incredibly intelligent remark Lhaws has for that?

    And I agree with many people saying the lack of male role models is a problem, especially at primary school. All but one primary school and intermediate teacher I had was a middle-aged/elderly lady. I only really began to get male teachers at highschool, and it was usually about half and half there. I guess teaching primary doesn’t appeal to blokes.

  15. Cal 15

    Well if girls are smarter, how come we get paid less??

    And I agree with people saying that there aren’t enough male role models in school. I only had one male teacher up untill I was 13, the rest were old/middle aged ladies. When I got to high school, then it evened out to about half and half.

    • Ari 15.1

      Well if girls are smarter, how come we get paid less??

      Because your qualifications are undervalued. Because even being able to see that someone is female creates a bias against a candidate- women became far better represented in orchestras after blind auditions were introduced as a hiring practice in the USA, even though the interviewers had all thought they were being fair to female musicians previously. Sadly not all sexism is obvious or conscious.

      • prism 15.1.1

        After leaving school do boys lag behind girls in getting jobs and pay levels?
        On average women are paid less, but I think that also women are a greater proportion of part-time, casual, temporary workers. Sometimes that suits if they have children but the trouble is when they are able to go back to full time work and they can’t get a job that matches their qualifications. Refresher courses don’t always help. Many are definitely under-employed.
        Perhaps boys know that they can get jobs so don’t stress on the learning, and those that didn’t get a job or a good education didn’t have the right attitudes for either. Talking about educational deficiencies has been a crisis centre with the right for years. It’s well known that you can dramatise any portfolio and create an apparent crisis, and education is tailor-made for this as apart from the basics, each youngster has a different pathway.

        • Ari 15.1.1.1

          On average women are paid less, but I think that also women are a greater proportion of part-time, casual, temporary workers.

          And are still paid less than male workers in similar conditions.

          Likewise comparing women that take maternity leave to men who take extended sickness leave results in the same conclusion- women are generally underpaid across the board, and not as a result of their employment situations.

    • Strathen 15.2

      The cultural revolution hasn’t made it all the way to the top yet. What I mean is the people receiving the high paying jobs now, are the people that started their careers 30-50 years ago. In that era, most courses were still dominated by men.

      The reports now indicate the majority of students in the professional courses (accounting, law, doctors, dentists, etc) are female. This will indicate that in 30-50 years time the majority of those earning the high levels of pay will be female, most likely causing the opposite perception of females being paid less, as males will be paid less on average.

      I have an issue about the perception of females being paid less. Overall, yes. However with the studies I’ve looked at, once you compare averages per industry, they’re very much even. I’m well aware that different industries pay different amounts. When comparing wages, I do not see it accurate to compare what men earn in the financial sector with what women earn in the education sector. It distorts in my eyes. Perhaps I’m looking at the wrong studies, so if someone can provide me with a link, I’ll re-educate myself.

      • r0b 15.2.1

        I can’t find the link to the NZ study in a hurry – but in case Rocky doesn’t step in you could just start here:

        http://www.google.com/search?&q=paid+less+than+their+male+counterparts+in+the+same+job

        • Strathen 15.2.1.1

          Cheers r0b! Will go check it out now.

          edit: Not easy to find the NZ one, maybe Rocky could step in?

          Catchpa: girl

          • Strathen 15.2.1.1.1

            It appears the pay discrimination against women is a myth. Interesting article by someone who has published many books on the topic here: http://nzmera.orconhosting.net.nz/paygapwf.html

            “The pay gap, then, is not the problem. It is a reflection largely of family decisions that we may or may not wish to change. The law can still attend to discrimination, but not by starting with the assumption the pay gap means discrimination.”

            The other links I found from r0b’s stuff, also backed up my hypothesis in my previous post. I also did an extra search and still only found statistics that supported my claim. I found plenty of other stuff about there being a pay inequality, but none were backed by actual information/statistics/facts. They were more hyperbole than anything.

            However, my search is not exhaustive, someone may be able to get me to the correct place.

            Until that time, I my perspective has still only been influenced to the point that in the next 20-30 years, Women will overtake men in their take home pay as per the cultural revolution in the yesteryear. There is a lot of change, however pay discrimination is not just comparing overall pay packets, but looking at the vocations, hours worked, sacrifices made, and life choices of both sexes gives the reasons why there is a perceived pay inequality. Once you account for these, women predominantly get paid more than men.

            Catchpa: laws
            2 on topic in a row!

  16. hitmouse 16

    No-one has reading recovery at year 6, neither boys nor girls. Perhaps you meant age 6 or perhaps you meant twice as many boys would need it if it was available. The lack of funding for older students with reading difficulties is outrageous.

  17. Jared 17

    I had a similar debate with the welfare elect and womans rights officer elect after the AUSA elections about creating an Mens Rights Officer on campus to deal specifically with Mens Mental Health Issues, Mens Sexual Health Issues, and disturbing achievement levels only to be told that it was a male society and that males on campus had more “rights” and we didn’t deserve any representation, both welfare elect (john kingi) and WRO elect (Soriaya Daud) are current Princess Street Labour members. Neither would listen to reason when I tried to say that it would compliment the WRO officer, and AVP Joe McCrory told me it just wouldn’t work, even when Massey have a Mens Rights Officer that works well.

  18. Strathen 18

    I think this is quite an important step that men need to be taking. Because the changes are so slow and are bigger than generational, we cold find that men have been left behind, but by the time we realise, it will be too late.

    It’s already happening. Look at the number of women vs men graduating in the blue chip courses at varsity. In the next generation their will be inequality again. To prevent the cycle, we need to fix the balance now.

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