How close is this video to reality?

Fred Reed’s blog FredOnEverything.net is not for the feint of heart. He is a man’s man who tells it like it is. His bio says he is “a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, (who)  has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times. He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper’s, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers. He is by all accounts as looney as a tune.”

Not one to  pull any punches Reed writes about “the calamitous effects of the feminization of the schools, of turning the school into an emotional infantile crèche aimed at the fundamentally female goals of psychological conditioning, conformity, and totalitarian niceness.”

I have heard many conversations about how the modern school is designed for little girls, who can sit for long periods of time, make eye contact readily with a teacher, color within the lines and who aim to please. Schools do not lend themselves to the natural tendencies of boys who like to move around a lot, who punch each other in the arm just for fun, and who develop the fine motor skills necessary for making neat letters on a page later than girls. This is so common a viewpoint of schools that there is at least one in Massachusetts designed just for boys grades 4-8, where the curriculum is designed to work with the proclivities of boys. They work in shorter segments of focus interspersed with bursts of physical activity. They have more male teachers than female to provide the boys with models of behavior they can relate to. There is a long waiting list to get in, inhabited mostly by parents who don’t buy the ADD diagnosis of their sons.

Reed thinks schools have become too feminized.

What I dislike is the feminized, therapeutic view of schools as places not to teach anything but to engage in Pavlovian conditioning of kids to female norms of syrupy goodness, non-violence (tag, dodge ball, and wrestling) docility, conformity, and warm interpersonal glop. Learning anything gets short shrift.

These malfeasances spring from favoring self-esteem (when I am dictator I will have anyone who uses that word hanged) over knowledge. It is not a masculine approach. Nor will it produce the thoughtful, intellectually competent citizenry the country desperately needs.

If he is right, which I invite you to debate in the comments, the critical thinking promised by common core will only focus on thinking critically about whether the student has conformed to a “national” ideology. We will not be producing the creative, risk taking entrepreneurs that made this country great and this economy strong. If he is right, then one of the major underpinnings of common core is a lie.

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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