Dr. Helen Smith writes that boys perceive girls to be smarter, and thus, the boys try less hard in school. Their teachers reinforce this by giving lower grades to the boys and punishing the boys more for behaviour infractions. Dr. Helen speculates that the absence of ability to discipline boys in school has caused teachers to punish boys with bad grades, as well as to seek revenge on the next generation of men for what the previous generation of men did to them.
It’s ironic that the same people who squealed about how girls couldn’t be as smart as boys, how the downtrodden Larry Summers was lynched for suggesting that innate abilities were at the heart of the male dominance in math and science, are the first to say that society is influencing how boys are succeeding. My usual stance is that I frankly don’t care whether we think things are innate or social, but we should pick one and analyse all trends accordingly, not switch modes when we don’t like the group at the bottom.
It is further ironic that elementary school teachers are mad at discrimination in high-level jobs. While all honest work is honest work, and a great teacher can change a generation of kids, let’s not pretend that we’re talking about a group of people who have faced any real job or career discrimination. If a lady computer scientist or theologian wanted to sic it to men to get revenge for the treatment in her career, well, I wouldn’t agree, but I would understand. But please explain to me what horrific career/academic-related sexism this group has suffered.
It does not benefit girls to be rewarded for following the rules and behaving properly – unless the goal is to turn them into bureaucrats, not business leaders, politicians, lawyers, scientists, artists, and writers. The best people in any industry are the ones who know how to break the rules, refuse to conform, and have the confidence to implement their radical visions. Even standardised testing, wherein men typically outperform their women counterparts, rewards a certain amount of rule-breaking. The goal is not to show your work in a neat, organised fashion; it is to find the correct answer as quickly as possible, eliminate the four wrong answers, and know when to guess or when to give up. Rules-followers get crushed by those tests.