Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bush Administration Disregards Brown v. Board of Education

Remember Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, that landmark Supreme Court decision ruling that separate is in fact not equal? Apparently, our government is regressing and doesn't believe this should apply to the education of boys and girls. The Bush Administration, starting November 24, will be easing restrictions on sex-segregated public schools.

Feministing cited another blog which commented on a sex discrimination lawsuit against the Livingston Parish School Board in Louisiana, which will be providing only sex-segregated classes for the 2006-2007 academic year at Southside Junior High School. The principal of the school, Alan Joe Murphy, presented his denfense of sex-segregated classes. He claimed the implementation of these sexist classes would be "based on quantifiable differences between male and female adolescents supported by scientific research." He said that students would be relieved from "unnecessary stressors" in the classroom (i.e., I can only assume, an attractive other-sexed person in the class. Oh no!). Here are some of the different things Murphy said would be taught in these "specialized" classes:

"[G]irls would receive character education and be subject to high expectations both academically and socially. Girls would be taught math through 'hands-on' approaches. Field trips, physical movement, and multisensory strategies would be incorporated into the girls' classes. Girls would act as mentors to elementary school girls.

"On the other hand, boys' teachers would teach and discuss 'heroic' behavior and ideas 'that show adolescents what it means to 'truly be a man.' Boys' classes would include consistently applied discipline systems and offer tension release strategies. Boys' classes would also feature more group work assignments." (pages 10-11)

I'll play teacher for a moment and recap what you've just learned: 1) Boys don't need good character and shouldn't be expected to excel academically and socially. 2) Boys would not benefit from hands-on approaches to math and other subjects, even though every kid is looking for a more interesting alternative to learning than memorization and drilling. 3) Boys do not like field trips. Even though most ADHD cases are boys, boys would generally choose to sit at a desk all day in a small classroom that lacks stimulation over moving about outside or exploring an interesting exhibit at a museum. 4) Boys could never be a positive role model to a younger boy (someone better alert Big Brothers/Big Sisters). Sex-segregation should also apply to mentoring. 5) Being a mentor to a younger student isn't heroic. 6) Strictly defining gender and then teaching it in school is perfectly fine. Boys can learn what it's like to "be a man," even though putting quotes around that phrase proves that that's up to individual interpretation. 7) Because girls never misbehave, they don't need to be disciplined for anti-social behavior exhibited at school. 8) Girls don't get stressed out either, so they shouldn't learn tension-release exercises like counting to 10 before reacting and muscle relaxation. But wait? Didn't Principal Murphy claim that sex-segregation would relieve students of "unnecessary stressors?" *confused* 9) Because it's common knowledge that girls aren't sociable, group exercises are completely unnecessary in the girls' classes.

Mr. Murphy doesn't want to insert his self-proclaimed moral authority in every social institution. He assured us that "students could interact with members of the other sex at home, at church, and in school clubs and extracurricular activities. " (page 10) What if a family lives in the zoning area of Soutside Junior High but would much rather send their child to a school with co-ed classes? "[N]o such transfers would be permitted by . . . Livingston Parish School Board." (page 11) In fact, the School Board didn't even consult parents before segregating the classes.

I urge all of you to read pages 12 to 13 of the ACLU report, the section called Leonard Sax's Theory of Gender Difference. Dr. Sax is defined as a medical doctor, even though he only has a Ph.d in psychology (meaning he cannot prescribe medicine or perform surgery), and he doesn't perform scientific research, even though a huge research project is required to earn a Ph.d, regular scientific research is required to maintain any teaching position in college and university, and the degree's curriculum puts a special emphasis on scientific research. The claims he makes in his book Why Gender Matters are hilarious, fun reading for when the cable goes out.

I don't know exactly what to do about this problem, but I have one idea. State governments can refuse federal funding for educational progrmas like abstinence-only sex education. New Jersey became the fourth state to reject federal funds for abstinence-only sex ed, joining California, Maine, and Pennsylvania. Perhaps it will help if we contact our governors and urge them not to grant sex-segregation to public school boards that request it and reject any extra funding the federal government might offer to sexist public schools.

5 comments:

Megan said...

Holy Shitaco. That's like the gender roles they feed to kids in abstinence-only non-sex-ed on steroids. O_O

Emily said...

It's a shame that you're the only one who found this shocking enough to comment, Megan :(

Danie said...

I can't believe that this is even possible. If a person wants to send their child to a sex-segregated school that's what private institutions are for. That should not be in our public school system. As you said, we as a country decided decades ago that seperate was most definitely not equal.

Stephen said...

Mmmm...this is good...I love me some regression.

Precursor to the modern dark ages anyone?

Drew said...

I, for one, am so glad this is happening. If schools have sex/gender-integrated classes, however will teenage boys learn what it means to be a man?