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Old 01-27-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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Schoolboy Bias Lawsuit

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At Milton High School, girls outnumber boys by almost 2 to 1 on the honor roll. In Advanced Placement classes, almost 60 percent of the students are female.

Girls are outperforming boys because the school system favors them, said Anglin, who has filed a federal civil rights complaint contending that his school discriminates against boys.

Among Anglin's allegations: Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes, and girls are rewarded for abiding by the rules, while boys' more rebellious ways are punished.

Grading on homework, which sometimes includes points for decorating a notebook, also favor girls, according to Anglin's complaint, filed last month with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

''The system is designed to the disadvantage of males," Anglin said. ''From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders, and listen to what they say, you'll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this."

An international group that examines equity in education called the complaint of discrimination against boys rare. And Milton school officials denied that girls get better treatment than boys. But the female student body president, Kelli Little, voiced support for Anglin's views.

Anglin, a soccer and baseball player who wants to go to the College of the Holy Cross, said he brought the complaint in hope that the Education Department would issue national guidelines on how to boost boys' academic achievement.

Research has found that boys nationwide are increasingly falling behind girls, especially in reading and writing, and that they are more likely to be suspended, according to a 2005 report by the Educational Equity Center of the Academy for Educational Development, an international nonprofit group with headquarters in Washington, D.C.

While school officials said their goal is to help all students improve, the Milton High principal, John Drottar, , suggested in an interview that there may be ways to reach out to underachieving boys. Drottar said the high school plans to reinstitute a mentoring program that will pair low-achieving students with teachers.

While it will not specifically recruit male students, boys are likely to make up a large portion of the students served, he said.

''We're aware of it," Drottar said. ''We're looking into it. On a school basis, does that mean we should look at each classroom and see if we have to encourage boys a little more than girls now? Yeah, it probably does."

Anglin -- whose complaint was written by his father, who is a lawyer in Boston -- is looking for broader changes. He says that teachers must change their attitudes toward boys and look past boys' poor work habits or rule-breaking to find ways to encourage them academically
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Old 01-27-2006, 11:55 AM   #2
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From the article:

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He also wants the school to abolish its community service requirement, saying it's another burden that will just set off resistance from boys, who may skip it and fail to graduate as a result.
So because some people are lazy, they should get rid of the community service requirement?
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:51 PM   #3
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^ agreed
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''The system is designed to the disadvantage of males," Anglin said. ''From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders, and listen to what they say, you'll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this."
It is hardly a new "system." Why is it only becoming a problem now?

The nationwide trends are indeed a serious problem, but this hardly seems like a likely solution.

I wonder how Mr. Anglin does in school. At least his father was involved enough in his studies to write up his legal complaint .
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:55 PM   #4
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Why abolish the community service requirement? What's so feminine about community service?
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:15 PM   #5
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We have a history of taking statistical results and extracting a conclusion of institutionalized prejudice. Is this just another example if there is truly a 2 to 1 ratio of girls to boys on the honor roll?
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:25 PM   #6
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He also wants the school to abolish its community service requirement, saying it's another burden that will just set off resistance from boys, who may skip it and fail to graduate as a result.
I am confused by this. Why would boys be less likely to do community service than girls?

I completed 24 hours of community service to graduate high school. I worked at Brookfield Zoo and with special ed kids. I'm thankful I had the oppertunity to do so.

I am currently pushing for a community service requirement at the school I work at.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:26 PM   #7
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It will be interesting in future if the numbers swing towards a glut of educated women looking for a restricted number of educated male professionals. I can see an upside to it, but the effects on society could be great.

I have friends at private schools where the option was between being a Army Cadet and community service. Allowing service in something with more appeal towards boys is arguable a better way to go about it, instilling the values rather than abandoning it entirely.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:33 PM   #8
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I still find the idea of "forced volunteerism" to be a joke. I thought indentured servitude/slavery was illegal, last I checked.

As a student, I had enough to do as it was, rather than feel compelled to help out a bunch of groups that were 1) the victim of federal money cuts in the 1980s and/or 2) too cheap to actually pay people for their labor. The experience of being forced to volunteer my time to pretty much do work that clearly no one would want to do (and for causes I was certainly not passionate about) pretty much made me never want to volunteer ever again. I'd like to see some rich folk volunteer for once, rather than throwing a bunch of money around and expecting the plebeians of the world to do all their dirty work for them.

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Old 01-29-2006, 09:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Among Anglin's allegations: Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes
And wandering the hallways is imperative to academic success??
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
I still find the idea of "forced volunteerism" to be a joke. I thought indentured servitude/slavery was illegal, last I checked.
Melon
Please explain how community service is comparable to slavery.

Had I not had the experience to work with special education students I would not be pursuing a master degree in Special Education.

One goal of schools to produce successful citizens. Perhaps the students will one day become rich and continue to volunteer in their communities because of past postive experience.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
Please explain how community service is comparable to slavery.
Community service is not necessarily comparable to slavery. Forcing people to volunteer is. "Volunteerism," last I checked, involved willfully choosing to work for a cause, rather than being told that you had to spend your free time working for nothing.

Quote:
Had I not had the experience to work with special education students I would not be pursuing a master degree in Special Education.

One goal of schools to produce successful citizens. Perhaps the students will one day become rich and continue to volunteer in their communities because of past postive experience.
Perhaps there can be more creative ways to engage into the community, rather than putting a gun to students' heads telling them they can't graduate unless they "volunteer." As I am a rather principled person, such illogic did not go over well with me, and while such forced volunteerism had a positive benefit on you, it made me want nothing to do with it ever again.

Anyway, it takes all kinds of people in this world. To those who willfully volunteer and give service, you all do a job well done. But assuming that everyone likes (or is good at) community service is like assuming that all men are made to be soldiers (which is why the concept of the draft pisses me off). Or that all women are good at being housewives. I wish I had more time to explore my potential artistic or musical talents in school, but I was too busy doing the next pet politically correct project, in addition to my piles of homework (went to a private school that gave out more homework than I ever had in college). And for what? That's what I'd like to ask.

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Old 01-29-2006, 10:46 PM   #12
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I sort of agree w/ melon. Our school didn't require community service, but as a junior I signed up for a service trip in North Carolina to help clean up hurricane damage. The first place we stopped, we were helping move cinderblocks for a guy who wanted to move his trailer from one side of the lot to the other. This was all fine and dandy until one of the coordinators asked me and my friends (the three girls on the worksite) to go inside and help the man do his dishes. It really ruined the day for me. I'd spent $250 of my own money (as a 15 year old) to go on that trip and some guy with no physical disability wanted me to clean his dishes and straighten his trailer Luckily, the next day we installed insulation under the house of an elderly couple who's property flooded. They were truly grateful and that was a rewarding experience.

Like melon, I went to a private school where I spent more time in school during the day than I do now in college and the school work was harder and more stressful than it is now. I was also working through high school and had no car for transportation. Forced volunteerism, besides the yearly service trips I liked to do, would've been a burnen to me.

I think it's better for schools to coordinate service activities students can do if they want. That's what we had in high school. Plenty of people helped with Special Olympics, and senior year, so many seniors went to help clean up Ground Zero and sort supplies for the Red Cross after Sept. 11 that we never even did a senior trip.

As for the article.......
Quote:
''The system is designed to the disadvantage of males," Anglin said. ''From the elementary level, they establish a philosophy that if you sit down, follow orders, and listen to what they say, you'll do well and get good grades. Men naturally rebel against this."
.....so, school is unfair for men because they're not allowed to be disobedient and rebellious?
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:03 PM   #13
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Here is a link to my high school's handbook on community service if anyone is interested. I see that now they have added a research option for those who feel burdened by helping those less fortunate/the community.

I took a heavy load all four years in high school and was involved in clubs/sports and honors societies. My high school was both a college prep and vocational high school. Granted, the college prep courses far outnumbered the voc. ed. courses.

National Honors Society requires service hours as well. For those concerned with service taking too much time away from their studies, how do you feel about honors societies requiring service?
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:13 PM   #14
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What shifts have there been in method and syllabus since the 1950's and 1960's and have these changes has this altered the performance of boys or has the way society treats education changed or is it a combination of both.
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:30 PM   #15
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Here it's a provincial requirement to have a certain number of volunteering hours. You cannot graduate without it.

I went to a Catholic school and we basically had the option of community service instead of taking a religion class - which frankly I thought was fabulous. Faith in action is so much more gratifying than sitting and reading about the sacraments.

That said, "mandatory volunteering" is just silly.
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Anyway, it takes all kinds of people in this world. To those who willfully volunteer and give service, you all do a job well done. But assuming that everyone likes (or is good at) community service is like assuming that all men are made to be soldiers (which is why the concept of the draft pisses me off). Or that all women are good at being housewives. I wish I had more time to explore my potential artistic or musical talents in school, but I was too busy doing the next pet politically correct project, in addition to my piles of homework (went to a private school that gave out more homework than I ever had in college). And for what? That's what I'd like to ask.
At the risk of sounding stupidly cheesy--what if you had been able to pursue community service in a form that actually let you apply your interest in the arts? Like something involving workshops for underprivileged kids, or some kind of public installation, or maybe being involved in putting together some kind of public interest documentary, or working with staff and residents of a shelter to design their website or something? What if your school had had some kind of mentoring dimension to this requirement, where an adult who knew you actively helped you choose and plan a program suited to your talents, capacities and interests?

The yeshiva I graduated from had a community service requirement too, and like WildHoney I personally was fortunate to secure an experience (tutoring illiterate adults) which made me realize I loved teaching and wasn't half as bad as I'd have imagined I would be at it. But I grant that I wouldn't have found the experience nearly as fulfilling if my choices had been limited to, say, visiting lonely senior citizens (I feel deeply for them, but it just isn't my forte) or helping out with chores at a battered women's shelter (a noble cause, but one which I simply don't have the emotional fortitude to handle).

You make a powerful point, though, about the problems implicit in regarding the value of community service requirements as a priori self-evident. I myself am not quite willing to give up on the whole idea so readily, but you've really given me some food for thought here, as I intend for my own kids to have a similarly positive experience to mine someday, whether their school ever requires it or not.

Note to A_W: the cover story on Time magazine this week is boys' sagging performance in education. Admittedly not a bastion of intellectually stimulating journalism, but they do decent enough feature stories, so you might want to give it a peek (I plan to myself, but who knows when) and maybe even share with us if what you find seems worthwhile.
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Old 01-30-2006, 01:59 AM   #17
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^ Oops, sorry, I meant Newsweek. All those subpar weekly news glossies blend together for me...
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:29 AM   #18
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Am I the only one who didn't work very hard in high school or do any volunteering?

And am I also the only one who remembers it was only a relatively few years (well, for me anyway) ago that all the articles were about how the schools and teachers catered to boys, especially in math and science courses, and the girls got left out?
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:38 AM   #19
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where i went to high school (i now coach there) there was a 20 hour community service requirement when i was a senior (1998). i believe it's up to 25 hours now. graduating senior classes range between 200 to 250 students from year to year. all community service hours had to be approved by your guidance counselor.

you had the option of finding something to do on your own (as long as it wasn't connected with any sort of religious association, god forbid we mix church and state) or you could have the hours assigned for you.

i hooked up with the local youth sports organization to coach an 8th and 9th grade basketball team... between that and big brother/big sister, i knocked the hours out in no time. but friends of mine who couldn't find enough hours on their own had to then get hours assigned to them, which would go through the red cross, which would assign them to some state run organization where they would work side by side with paid employees who have gotten the art of doing just enough to not get fired down to a science... where the "volunteers" would of course end up doing the majority of the work that the paid employees should get done but don't.

there in lies the problems that melon was discussing. are they really helping the community by doing a job that a paid employee is too lazy to do themselves?

i have no problem with making community service a requirement... but unless the school can assure that each and every student has some sort of meaningful service activity to do, then they're baisicly just wasting everybody's time.
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
Here is a link to my high school's handbook on community service if anyone is interested. I see that now they have added a research option for those who feel burdened by helping those less fortunate/the community.
Have we really asked ourselves "why include a requirement of community service?" If we are truly faced with large percentages of high school graduates who are incapable of completing moderately complex tasks (such as calculating 15% of a number, or balancing a check book) why do we fill curriculum with poorly defined community service projects?

It is clear from the comments in this thread that there is a divergence in what the projects should encompass or achieve.
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