Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rethinking education for boys

The Year 12 results for Victorian high school students were released this week. 34 students received a perfect score of 99.95. But there was something significant about the schools these students came from.

15 of the 34 students came from just four schools. And these four schools are very alike: they are all traditional boys schools (Scotch College, Melbourne Grammar, Xavier College, Melbourne High School).

About 30 years ago there were more of these boys schools. But then the idea took hold that boys would do better if they were educated alongside girls and many of the boys schools went coeducational. But the coed schools just don't seem to be keeping up. The small number of surviving boys schools are beating them hands down.

So perhaps the prevailing wisdom about coeducation needs to be reconsidered. Perhaps one way of boosting boys' academic performance would be to reverse the trend by which single sex schools for girls are expanded whilst boys schools are closed down. It could be that the ideal is to have single sex schools for boys in the middle high school years and then mostly single sex schooling at senior high but with some combined classes (drama, music etc.) to develop social skills.

There's something else worth noting about the four boys schools. They are schools with a liberal philosophy but a traditional culture. The traditional culture supplies some of the depth that the liberal philosophy lacks.

That kind of "fusion" was once more widely typical of Western societies - that is, until liberalism began to go it alone from about the 1920s onwards (and more intensely since the 1960s). The liberal mainstream has suffered from a technocratic hollowness ever since.

But the schools which kept the historic architecture, the chapels, the honour boards, the anthems, the sporting traditions, the historic rivalries and the school loyalties have an advantage in drawing on the strengths of young men.

Obviously I don't like the idea of such a fusion between liberalism and traditionalism, as it leaves liberalism as the leading philosophy in society. But the boys schools which resisted the larger trends in society by keeping some of the traditional elements do seem to have benefited from doing so.


  1. Agreed.

    (Although here in the States I see no trend of 'more girls schools' and closing down boys schools...everything got closed down here! LOL!)

    I always joke with my parents that I should donate to Eton College every year starting now so that in case I win the lotto or they have some "poor man" scholarships I could get a future son in :) :)

  2. Perhaps one way of boosting boys' academic performance would be to reverse the trend by which single sex schools for girls are expanded whilst boys schools are closed down.

    An excellent idea.

    Perhaps you're familiar with "O'Sullivan's Law": "Any institution not explicitly conservative will become liberal with the passage of time". I suggest a similar Law: "Any institution not explicitly masculine will become feminized with the passage of time". This is why co-education has been such a disaster; The schools have become so feminized as to become actively hostile to boys, men, and the masculine virtues.

    (Less someone suggest that this is no big deal, grrl-power, &c., let me point out that reality has a male bias, and that feminized institutions will ultimately fail at grappling with it.)

    If you wanted to extend this argument to the workplace, I wouldn't argue with you. If you wanted to draw parallels to the priesthood, I'd say you might be on to something.

  3. I went to both co-ed and single sex schools as a boy about a decade ago.

    The boys in the male only environment had a far more masculine ethos and had little trouble with social skills, esp when it came to girls.

    The boys from the other school were not so fortunate. A few with high social skills ripped through the majority of the girls while the rest just sat around and stared.

    If I ever have a son I know which environment I would want him in.

  4. The boys in the male only environment had a far more masculine ethos

    James, that was my experience too. Although I have serious criticisms of my old school, it did put me in an environment in which there were masculine standards to live up to. In that way it did help to develop character.

  5. Hey Mark, read the comment from Renn on Roosh's site (it's not far down)


    Seriously, watch the James Bond with Roger Moore and Jane Seymour (there's also interracial sex which is a slap in the face to all white women and the ultimate act of betrayal.) That's where the problem with the women started. No woman with a brain wants to be Jane Seymour's character.

    You want your women back, you have to banish James Bond. The fact that this guy agrees with me means I'm not insane.

  6. You have to be tough as a man to put up with all the female inconsistencies. Women still want James Bond, they just want him to be loyal only to her.

  7. For many peoples, Higher education means both public colleges and private colleges. Taxpayers spend a lot of money to support public colleges.