White working-class boys at the bottom of the class

(36 Posts)
aceofflower Sun 15-Sep-13 01:31:38

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236472/White-working-class-boys-the-class-aged-just-five.html

Is this the fault of the evil feminists? Or is it more likely because girls are now given equal rights their intelligence is coming out and exposing boys as how stupid they really are?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 15-Sep-13 01:33:25

You know you're going to get bollocked for posting Daily M links don't you?

HalooJones Sun 15-Sep-13 01:42:43

I do think education has become over feminised and the way of learning that favours girls (coursework, presentations etc) favored over that which favours boys (exams). I do not know what the solution is. There definitely needs to be more male teachers. Having boys failing is not good for anybody.

DadWasHere Sun 15-Sep-13 05:20:32

At that age its a gender differential in cognitive brain development.

mathanxiety Sun 15-Sep-13 06:57:00

It is a reflection of the importance of culture, both within the family and within the wider community, in education.

There is an interesting phenomenon in NI where it is protestant working class boys who fall behind, whereas Catholic working class boys tend to do better (not as well as MC boys, but better all the same). The explanation for the failure of WC protestants lies in traditional expectations of the two different communities where work after school was concerned.

Protestant boys could always look forward to walking out of school into a good job in the NI industrial sector. Catholic boys had this path blocked to them due to rampant discrimination in NI. The Catholic community therefore traditionally emphasised education as the only way to get on in life, to the point where now, the protestant community is put off Queens University Belfast as it is 'too Catholic'.

This paper explores the dynamics and factors involved. [pdf]

When you have a disparity even within a low-achieving group you have to look to the culture of the low achieving group, and not at girls' achievement or female teachers or IQ or whether more working class boys were dropped on their heads as babies.

Really don't see what the two things have to do with another. Maybe it's a factor, but so could be lots of things.

Am not surprised that the downfall of white man is being lamented by DM though. How imaginative of that drivel led paper to finally find a new angle.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 15-Sep-13 08:34:24

Math that's very interesting...so looking at the culture in the low-achieving group, in this case white working class British boys British....what is it that's causing them to fail? And what's making the girls do better?

Beachcomber Sun 15-Sep-13 08:36:07

We cannot possibly know without extensive study of the sort mentioned by mathanxiety, what the reasons are behind this.

We certainly cannot assume that; education has become over feminised and the way of learning that favours girls (coursework, presentations etc) favored over that which favours boys (exams).

It is much more likely to be about socialization than 'feminized' ways of learning - unless by feminized we mean 'methods of learning that involve behaviour that girls have been more socialized to express than boys'.

Girls are socialized to behave, to sit still, to please, to listen, to be quiet, to do what they are told and to work extra hard if they want to achieve. Therefore is is not surprising that girls do well with evaluation methods which involve working hard all year and not just on exam day.

Boys failing is not a good thing - anyone failing is not a good thing. I suspect the answer lies in educating boys to knuckle down and work hard and not expect male privilege to save them the bother of having to work as hard as their female counterparts. (I say that as someone who taught in a university for 10 years and who also taught and tutored 'failing' students in apprenticeships.)

Beachcomber Sun 15-Sep-13 08:39:23

Forgot to say - I'm not surprised that not only are we talking about boys failing but white boys. Of course there are social elements with regards to home support/expectations etc but I do not believe that current learning methods are better suited to children of colour than they are to white children (this would be a horribly racist notion), and the same goes for sex.

Chotter Sun 15-Sep-13 09:38:32

And yet, anecdotally speaking as I have no evidence to hand, I think it is accepted that kids of Asian families in the USA are massively over-represented in the elite Universities. If I am wrong, apologies, but I have read how these kids come from families where study and graft is expected from day one. So it is not uncommon for so-called disadvantaged groups to succeed through hard work.

I'd be interested to see cross-correlations with other factors, such as absent fathers and unemployment in the identified failing group.

Oh, and can someone please phone the patriarchy and let them know they are slipping up?

SummerHoliDidi Sun 15-Sep-13 09:51:40

White working-class boys have been falling behind for quite a while. We've been trying to target them at our school for the 8 years I've worked there.

I do think it's more to do with the culture of the underachieving pupils than it is to do with teaching methods, especially seeing as the non-white working class boys are performing better than their white counterparts.

My school is a "nice" school and yet we still have the working class boys with an attitude of "trying hard at school is pointless and only for geeks/nerds" whereas the working class girls have the attitude that "I want to do x as a job so I need these qualifications". The working class community in our school tend to have very old fashioned and sexist thought processes, the boys expect to take over their dad's farm or other small business and hire a woman to do the books, the girls expect to get a job on their own merits (or settle down and have babies asap)

SprinkleLiberally Sun 15-Sep-13 09:55:37

I never understand the argument that coursework has made the difference. Most subjects are still 75% exam. Still favouring "boy preferences" if you believe that. Cultural attitudes are the main cause IMO. Not cool to learn.

Childrenofthestones Sun 15-Sep-13 10:48:26

poster aceofflower
"Is this the fault of the evil feminists? Or is it more likely because girls are now given equal rights their intelligence is coming out *and exposing boys as how stupid they really are?*"

Yes.......why not throw rocks at them while your at it.

kim147 Sun 15-Sep-13 11:02:42

"Not cool to learn"

This. I had an interview at a school recently. I was interviewed by the school council and asked them what made the school good to learn at. They said that at other schools, being successful is seen as "geeky" but at their school, success was celebrated and was seen as positive.

Aspirations and seeing a need to recognise that education is useful and will get you somewhere. But the curriculum needs looking at as it might not be suitable / motivating for people who are not academic.

The statistics are worrying and something needs doing about them.

rosy71 Sun 15-Sep-13 12:57:43

The report appears to be about boys on free school meals. That is not the same as working class.

BringBackBod Sun 15-Sep-13 17:25:33

So what do you think is the reason aceofflower?
Do you think it's the fault of the evil feminists, or that boys have finally been exposed as stupid?
sad

KaseyM Sun 15-Sep-13 20:38:33

"boys finally exposed as stupid" - what a stupid thing to say.

Not fault of feminists - fault of messed up culture that teaches boys that learning is for geeks and that anything associated with girls (which education increasingly is) is to be avoided like the plague.

Feminists believe neither of those things IMO.

mathanxiety Sun 15-Sep-13 20:59:53

NeoMaxi I agree with SummerHoliDidi -- it's the culture of the families and their wider community that is failing the boys. Being interested in books is seen as the sort of thing only girls do. Vanity demands that boys hold themselves aloof from what girls do lest they be seen as effeminate.

Traditionally all that the men in these communities had going for them was that at least they weren't women and could bring in a man's wage even though that wage was low and even though it was won at the cost of a life of dreary physical labour even if skilled.

The male identity still depends heavily on being 'not a girl or woman'. Traditionally, all that the protestant working class in NI had going for it was that they were 'not Catholics' -- with all that entailed: dominance of the police force and judiciary and the expectation of their voice being heard on city councils to some extent.

Protestant and Catholics working classes both lived in tiny, grim, two up/ two down terraced housing with outdoor plumbing. Men and women alike shared the same miserable working class existence in industrial Britain. But there were perks to being a man or being a protestant that women did not have, or Catholics in NI.

It is hard to drop the illusion of superiority that went with being a man or being a protestant and play an unfamiliar game now that things have changed - in NI, Catholics share power and the police and judiciary are monitored, local government services are doled out fairly, and Britain is now a post industrial country, with the service sector replacing the industrial.

Homophobia and bigotry and misogyny account for the failure of boys in some sectors of society, to put it very simply.

BringBackBod Sun 15-Sep-13 21:14:19

KaseyM. I hope my post didn't come across the wrong way.
I certainly don't think of boys as stupid.
The op seems to think that though.

KaseyM Sun 15-Sep-13 23:03:15

Bringbackbod- of course not! It was at the OP that I was directing my annoyance, not at you!

It's the framing of feminism as being anti-boy that makes my blood boil ....

sydlexic Sun 15-Sep-13 23:10:39

Boys are stupid, because they judge people by their gender.

CaptChaos Mon 16-Sep-13 00:20:21

Ummmmm, ace are you having a bad day or something?

Girls are not more intelligent, nor are boys stupid. Education has always been about sitting still, being quiet and being attentive, or did everyone studying history get given the wrong information? Early Years education favours the way boys learn, by being more fluid, learning by doing etc etc, so surely, if EY is so very important, then boys should be doing better?

Maybe feminism is partly to blame by raising girls' aspirations. From having a fairly narrow set of choices, girls now have as many choices as boys (on paper).

Even if the title of this thread is correct (and given it's source, I bloody doubt it) the OP can rest assured that those white working class boys will still end up better off than their female counterparts and working class males of colour in the end. So, that's nice hmm

mathanxiety Mon 16-Sep-13 00:24:56

There are lots of white British boys who do very well in school. It might be useful to see what the differences between them and the white British underachievers are.

BringBackBod Mon 16-Sep-13 10:10:02

boys are stupid because they judge people by their gender.

Aren't you doing the same thing yourself sydlexic?

everyone judges people by their gender. They can't help it, society is set up to judge people by their gender. You know, that's why we're colour coded, so that everyone knows whether we like shopping or football hmm

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