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I read this recently and it has been bothering me, so here's my commentary. Let me know if you think it is a worthy trade-off after all.

The idea of a delayed school start—often referred to as “redshirting,” a term borrowed from athletics—got a burst of popular attention in 2008, when Malcolm Gladwell presented evidence in his book Outliers that children older than their classmates do better on academic tests and in life generally.

The value of a later start, which many teachers and administrators call “the gift of time,” is an open secret in elite circles. And it’s a gift overwhelmingly given to boys.

Article here. Archive link here.

The author's argument is that boys should be held back a year before starting kindergarten because it benefits them in school and through life. And boys need it more than girls simply because they're boys!

The problem is that the studies he cites seem to show that the same "redshirting" strategy also benefits girls (especially poor ones), and of course you can't hold everyone back because then the class would all be the same age.

The article moves weirdly between genderless statements like "public-school kids should have the same opportunities as private-school kids" and research that shows benefits for all kids, but gender neutral from his pen is presumed male by default. So progressive.

This was never the intention, of course. After all, the education system was mostly created by men. The gender bias was just hard to see when girls were discouraged from pursuing higher education and careers. But now that these barriers have been lowered, girls’ advantages in school have become more apparent with every passing year. An unexpected result of feminism has been to reveal the ways in which education is failing boys.

He has this understanding that women and girls were systematically disenfranchised in education until recently, and that the education system was created by men, but still comes to this conclusion.

What is going on here? There are many potential explanations. The feminization of the teaching profession—three out of four K–12 teachers are now women—is not ideal for boys. Neither is the rigid rhythm of the school day, with gym class and recess squeezed out. And the focus on narrow academics rather than vocational learning puts many boys at a disadvantage as well.

The reason little boys wear almost all of the red shirts is not mysterious; the fact that boys mature later than girls is one known to every parent, and certainly to every teacher.

I don't believe that boys mature so much slower than girls, I think boys simply have less expectations placed on them by their families and society, and are also taught less respect for the women taking care of them at a young age. Of course they then don't respect their female teachers, who take the low-paid/prestige jobs teaching them. As a girl, there was no understanding or reward for acting out, and I listened when I was supposed to stop what I was doing to help in the kitchen or in the house. I respected the female teachers I had as much as the male ones because I was also female.

Among many of the parents I know, a shorthand explanation has developed to explain the struggles of an adolescent child to stay on track, especially academically: “He’s a boy.”

Ugh.

The author dismisses the virtues of single sex schooling with a parenthetical when it is clear that female-only schools DO benefit girls quite a bit. But since they don't benefit boys (who do need girls in their schools for proper development) then it isn't worth considering.

Changing the default school-starting age would be much easier, for example, than moving toward single-sex schools, which don’t appear to help boys (or girls) very much in any case, and may introduce social distortions by segregating boys from girls throughout childhood. Boys and girls don’t need to go to different schools, but rather to the same school at different times in their life.

And of course:

There is one major drawback: Delaying school entry would put pressure on parents to provide child care for another year.

Ah yes, more work for the boys' caregivers who he doesn't mention are most likely to be women who wouldn't be privileged in this way in the first place because they were girls.

I read this recently and it has been bothering me, so here's my commentary. Let me know if you think it is a worthy trade-off after all. >The idea of a delayed school start—often referred to as “redshirting,” a term borrowed from athletics—got a burst of popular attention in 2008, when Malcolm Gladwell presented evidence in his book Outliers that children older than their classmates do better on academic tests and in life generally. >The value of a later start, which many teachers and administrators call “the gift of time,” is an open secret in elite circles. And it’s a gift overwhelmingly given to boys. Article [here](https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/10/boys-delayed-entry-school-start-redshirting/671238/). Archive link [here](https://archive.ph/NLaDG). The author's argument is that boys should be held back a year before starting kindergarten because it benefits them in school and through life. And boys need it more than girls simply because they're boys! The problem is that the studies he cites seem to show that the same "redshirting" strategy also benefits girls (especially poor ones), and of course you can't hold *everyone* back because then the class would all be the same age. The article moves weirdly between genderless statements like "public-school kids should have the same opportunities as private-school kids" and research that shows benefits for all kids, but gender neutral from his pen is presumed male by default. So progressive. >This was never the intention, of course. After all, the education system was mostly created by men. The gender bias was just hard to see when girls were discouraged from pursuing higher education and careers. But now that these barriers have been lowered, girls’ advantages in school have become more apparent with every passing year. An unexpected result of feminism has been to reveal the ways in which education is failing boys. He has this understanding that women and girls *were* systematically disenfranchised in education until recently, and that the education system was created by men, but still comes to this conclusion. >What is going on here? There are many potential explanations. The feminization of the teaching profession—three out of four K–12 teachers are now women—is not ideal for boys. Neither is the rigid rhythm of the school day, with gym class and recess squeezed out. And the focus on narrow academics rather than vocational learning puts many boys at a disadvantage as well. >The reason little boys wear almost all of the red shirts is not mysterious; the fact that boys mature later than girls is one known to every parent, and certainly to every teacher. I don't believe that boys mature so much slower than girls, I think boys simply have less expectations placed on them by their families and society, and are also taught less respect for the women taking care of them at a young age. Of course they then don't respect their female teachers, who take the low-paid/prestige jobs teaching them. As a girl, there was no understanding or reward for acting out, and I listened when I was supposed to stop what I was doing to help in the kitchen or in the house. I respected the female teachers I had as much as the male ones because I was also female. >Among many of the parents I know, a shorthand explanation has developed to explain the struggles of an adolescent child to stay on track, especially academically: “He’s a boy.” Ugh. The author dismisses the virtues of single sex schooling with a parenthetical when it is clear that female-only schools DO benefit girls quite a bit. But since they don't benefit boys (who do need girls in their schools for proper development) then it isn't worth considering. >Changing the default school-starting age would be much easier, for example, than moving toward single-sex schools, which don’t appear to help boys (or girls) very much in any case, and may introduce social distortions by segregating boys from girls throughout childhood. Boys and girls don’t need to go to different schools, but rather to the same school at different times in their life. And of course: >There is one major drawback: Delaying school entry would put pressure on parents to provide child care for another year. Ah yes, more work for the boys' caregivers who he doesn't mention are most likely to be women who wouldn't be privileged in this way in the first place because they were girls.

40 comments

[–] BlackCirce 🔮🐖🐖🐖 16 points

This was never the intention, of course. After all, the education system was mostly created by men. The gender bias was just hard to see when girls were discouraged from pursuing higher education and careers.

I want to pull this out and make it clear. What he’s saying is that the gender bias against boys in schools and educational systems that men designed and implemented for hundreds if not thousands of years did not become apparent until late in the game when girls gained rights and access to a full education.

He’s saying men accidentally (or perhaps on purpose because male intellectuals are gynocentrists?) designed schooling that was biased against themselves, their fathers, their sons and grandsons, their brothers and uncles, and biased towards their wives, their mothers, their daughters and granddaughters, their sisters and aunts, who were allowed only minimal access to education if they were allowed it at all.

Let that sink in

In my experience, schools are not failing boys. Boys are just failing at school. Not the same.

The feminization of the teaching profession—three out of four K–12 teachers are now women—is not ideal for boys.

Maybe if boys' egos are too frail to withstand the indignity of a female authority figure, they don't deserve an education.

Changing the default school-starting age would be much easier, for example, than moving toward single-sex schools, which don’t appear to help boys

Ok, boys can't have female teachers because it bruises their delicate psyches, but they are entitled to use little girls as unpaid tutors and behavioral aides.

Boys and girls don’t need to go to different schools, but rather to the same school at different times in their life.

Oh, fuck no. Kindergarten-aged boys are already shits to little girls. I do not want bigger, older boys bullying smaller, younger girls.

Final thought: there's a strain of classism in this. When Very Smart People wring their hands over men falling behind in education and professional careers, the unspoken assumption is that it's somehow "better" to be an accountant than an auto mechanic. There are many important, necessary jobs that don't require a college degree. We need construction workers, plumbers, and electricians. A lot of people aren't cut out for college, and that's fine.

And those construction workers, plumbers and electricians are mostly male dominated and far higher paid than equivalent mostly female dominated jobs like childcare worker, nursing aids and teaching assistants.

Yes. Every time Jordan Peterson has a crying fit about men doing all the most dangerous and dirty jobs...well, it's not like they're doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, is it? A lot of skilled laborers make very good money.

I don't mind at all that dangerous and dirty jobs get a higher salary than say shirt folding at a retail store, but let's pay WOMEN who work equally dangerous and dirty jobs equal pay.

[–] BlackCirce 🔮🐖🐖🐖 5 points

Final thought: there's a strain of classism in this. When Very Smart People wring their hands over men falling behind in education and professional careers, the unspoken assumption is that it's somehow "better" to be an accountant than an auto mechanic.

It is economically. Accountants make more money. More money results in better outcomes for marriages and children. It means home / property ownership, good credit, ability to start a business, a safer neighborhood, a better school for your kids, a more comfortable old age, healthcare that keeps you presentable and able to work, building generational wealth, increased social standing. The economy cant be shamed. There’s no moral difference between accounting and auto mechanics but the economy values one a lot less, even if auto mechanics are ultimately more important.

The panic is a hypothesis that men not going to college will create a larger underclass of poor men (mostly racial minorities in the US) who cannot find adequate employment or mates. College graduates make more money than high school diplomates, and women don’t usually marry men less educated and wealthy than we are. These hypothesized undereducated, unmarried and underemployed men, mostly black and Latino, will be boiling like a big pot of virulent diarrhea at the bottom of American society. We are already in a sectarian crisis that’s growing rather than getting bretter, so adding a male lifecycle crisis on top would not improve the political situation.

I personally predict the economy will adjust and men will be fine or even increase wealth because they won’t have the student loan debt that women have to carry to get our white / pink collar jobs. As men abandon academia, the college degree will decrease in value and employers will become even more lenient towards unqualified men for high(er) prestige jobs.

In other words...women's hard work and academic achievement brushed aside. Business as usual, men rule... So disappointing...

[–] nopenottoday 21 points Edited

Interesting how he uses feminization as a derogatory term. Interesting how men always use feminization, feminine or "like a girl" in a derogatory term. There shouldn't be anything wrong with women being the majority of teachers, unless you have something against women.

Can these men just admit that they have zero respect for women, don't want women in public life, don't want women to make any money, don't want women to succeed in school, and don't want women to do anything but unpaid labor in the home? That is what all of this is getting at. That is really the ultimate goal here. I don't think a lot of these MRA guys even care about boys getting an education, they just can't stand it when girls succeed and have options besides wife and mother.

Interesting how he uses feminization as a derogatory term. Interesting how men always use feminization, feminine or "like a girl" in a derogatory term

Especially when you're whining that girls perform academically better than boys.

I know, right?! If women in general outperform boys academically, why wouldn’t you want the more studious and intellectual half of the population to help boys get better at learning? Isn’t it logical to assume that male teachers would only be “helping” boys by lowering the curve?

[–] RuneOwl 0 points Edited

There shouldn't be anything wrong with women being the majority of teachers, unless you have something against women.

It’s incredibly stupid for him to automatically consider majority female teachers a bad thing for boys—for one thing, male teachers are far more likely to be sexually abusive towards children. But aside from that, struggling kids are more likely to have a female teacher give a damn about them. Men don’t exactly value thankless, low-paying jobs that require endless patience and empathy. Unless it’s an individual man who is particularly passionate about teaching as his life’s calling, I don’t see how they would help anything.

If men dominated teaching, especially for young children, I would not be surprised if boys’ performance didn’t improve or just got worse (and likely girls’ would too).

Putting girls with boys a year older than them is a great idea. What could go wrong?

Gym class will be especially successful.

“the fact that boys mature later than girls is one known to every parent, and certainly to every teacher.“

I agree with you OP, this is total bullshit. Most boys will rise to the standards you set for them. My son is studious and well-behaved.

Exactly! My parents gave my sisters and I housework growing up that my brother never had, but they would not indulge any bad behavior from him socially or in school. As a result, he was always well behaved and succeeded academically.

That's good but it's still messed up that your brother didn't do chores.

[–] ProxyMusic 32 points Edited

Significant that The Atlantic comes out with this story just a few days after running the gender woo piece against girls and women having our own sports, Separating Sports by Sex Doesn’t Make Sense. Which said the performance difference between the sexes in sports is due to women not having enough support and training.

https://ovarit.com/o/SaveWomensSports/160414/the-atlantic-separating-sports-by-sex-doesnt-make-sense

[–] BlueToyotaTacoma Feared By Men 24 points

I hate how they’re trying to act like boys are the victims. Um, no they are not. At least not nearly as much as girls.

So let's put older and stronger boys into classes with younger and more vulnerable girls, and let the boys push the girls around and bully them. Great idea. /s

I was always the youngest child in my class--yet somehow rather than be disadvantaged and outshone and outperformed by my classmates (as Gladwell says research shows happens), I managed to earn both a PhD and tenure.

"I don't believe that boys mature so much slower than girls, I think boys simply have less expectations placed on them by their families and society, and are also taught less respect for the women taking care of them at a young age. Of course they then don't respect their female teachers, who take the low-paid/prestige jobs teaching them. As a girl, there was no understanding or reward for acting out, and I listened when I was supposed to stop what I was doing to help in the kitchen or in the house. I respected the female teachers I had as much as the male ones because I was also female."

This is spot on. Boys do not mature later, there is just enormously different expectations.

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