When boys should be girls and girls should be boys

The ACLU views sex dif­fer­ences as ‘dis­cred­ited no­tions’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Robert Knight

If you ever start hop­ing that the left will leave the rest of us alone, move on, be­cause that’s not go­ing to hap­pen. At the heart of the Founders’ vi­sion for Amer­ica was the idea of de­cen­tral­ized power, whereby people across the land could ex­per­i­ment with so­lu­tions, not fol­low dic­tates from the top. It’s why we have 50 states. Born in the spirit of the French Revo­lu­tion — which ended in tyranny — the left has been at war with Amer­i­canstyle free­dom ever since. In their per­fect world, fed­er­ally em­pow­ered so­cial en­gi­neers in Wash­ing­ton tell ev­ery­one else what to do.

A case in point is the bat­tle un­fold­ing in Florida’s sec­ond-largest school district, where the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union (ACLU) is call­ing for a federal probe into sin­gle-sex ed­u­ca­tion. This is one of those ex­per­i­ments that the left hates be­cause it ac­knowl­edges sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween the sexes.

The ACLU’s 37-page com­plaint to the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Of­fice of Civil Rights ac­cuses the Hills­bor­ough County Pub­lic Schools of vi­o­lat­ing Ti­tle IX. That’s the federal law that, among other things, is wreak­ing havoc with col­lege-level sports.

Low-rev­enue pro­grams such as wrestling are be­ing elim­i­nated by the hun­dreds so that boys won’t have more teams than girls. Schol­ar­ship money is be­ing spread so thin that even more pop­u­lar men’s sports, such as base­ball and men’s gym­nas­tics, are threat­ened. Never mind that sur­veys and com­mon sense (spend one hour in a sports bar) show that males typ­i­cally have a far greater in­ter­est in sports than fe­males — even though many girls and women are fine ath­letes and avid fans. All must bow to the same­ness god.

Like­wise, sin­gle-sex class­rooms are in the bull’s-eye. Hills­bor­ough’s pro­grams, the ACLU con­tends, are “based on stereo­types and dis­cred­ited no­tions about how boys and girls learn and de­velop.”

Any of you teach­ers out there think boys sit as qui­etly as girls? Or that girls, upon find­ing some boxes and glue, typ­i­cally cre­ate Godzilla, along with build­ings to stomp? Didn’t think so.

Since 2009, Hills­bor­ough has op­er­ated sin­gle-sex classes in at least one high school and 15 el­e­men­tary schools, plus two mag­net, sin­gle-sex mid­dle schools called “acad­e­mies.” Hills­bor­ough spokesman Steve He­garty told me by phone that the district is re­spond­ing to par­ents who want the op­tions. “No­body at­tends sin­gle-gen­der class­rooms with­out mak­ing that choice,” he said. “We’re try­ing to study and see what works and what doesn’t.”

That’s not ac­cept­able, says ACLU at­tor­ney Galen Sher­win, who, per­haps un­wit­tingly makes a strong case for home-school­ing: “Ev­ery stu­dent learns dif­fer­ently.”

Ms. Sher­win went on to say that, “Our pub­lic schools should not be in the busi­ness of mak­ing crude judg­ments about chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tional needs based solely on whether they are a boy or a girl.”

Well, we wouldn’t want to be crude, which is why some par­ents are re­lieved that their daugh­ters aren’t forced to sit next to some of the less-man­nered boys. So­ci­ety’s No. 1 task is to so­cial­ize young males, chan­nel­ing their ag­gres­sion into con­struc­tive ac­tiv­i­ties, like mar­riage. Ab­sent that, noth­ing good hap­pens. Not much good is hap­pen­ing in places where wel­fare has evis­cer­ated re­spon­si­ble fa­ther­hood, leav­ing cityscapes that re­sem­ble bombed-out ru­ins. But “equal­ity“is all that mat­ters.

The ACLU also wrote a let­ter to the Florida Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in re­sponse to Gov. Rick Scott’s sign­ing on May 12 of a bill (HB 313) re­quir­ing teacher train­ing for districts that cre­ate “gen­der spe­cific” class­rooms. The law takes ef­fect July 1.

The ACLU com­plains that Hills­bor­ough hired “con­sul­tants to pro­mote the idea that boys’ and girls’ brains are in­her­ently dif­fer­ent, and that teach­ers of chil­dren as young as kinder­garten­ers were trained in teach­ing meth­ods based on sex stereo­types in ses­sions with names like ‘Busy Boys, Lit­tle Ladies.’”

Would the world re­ally be worse if boys are kept use­fully “busy” so they aren’t turn­ing house­hold goods into un­guided mis­siles? Would it be worse if more girls took pride in be­ing “ladies” who ex­pect re­spect?

The ACLU is par­tic­u­larly per­turbed that teach­ers in boys’ class­rooms were en­cour­aged to “be louder” and “have high ex­pec­ta­tions.” Since girls far ex­ceed boys in grad­u­a­tion rates, scholarships and ad­vanced de­grees, ed­u­ca­tors who want “equal­ity” might rea­son­ably want to get boys out of in­struc­tional mod­els that leave them bored and fa­vor girls.

The ACLU’s “Teach Kids, Not Stereo­types” cam­paign rests heav­ily on a 2011 ar­ti­cle in Sci­ence that was de­mol­ished by Christina Hoff Som­mers in an At­lantic ar­ti­cle last Oc­to­ber. Ms. Som­mers points out that the Sci­ence ar­ti­cle was “a twopage sum­mary of the state of the lit­er­a­ture on sin­gle-sex ed­u­ca­tion [which] could be use­ful, ex­cept that it was writ­ten by eight pro­fes­sors who be­long to an ad­vo­cacy group that op­poses sin­gle-sex ed­u­ca­tion.” Ms. Som­mers re­jects any com­par­i­son to racial seg­re­ga­tion, not­ing that, “Manda­tory racial sep­a­ratism de­means hu­man be­ings and fore­closes life prospects. Sin­gle­sex ed­u­ca­tion is freely cho­sen and has helped mil­lions of pupils flour­ish in­tel­lec­tu­ally and so­cially.

“It’s pre­pos­ter­ous to think of Welles­ley Col­lege, the Girl Scouts or the Barack Obama Male Lead­er­ship Academy as op­pres­sive in­sti­tu­tions com­pa­ra­ble to seg­re­gated schools in the Jim Crow South,” she con­cludes.

Pre­pos­ter­ous, that is, un­less you think like an ACLU lawyer. Robert Knight is se­nior fel­low for the Amer­i­can Civil Rights Union.


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