Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to get men back into the classroom

In surveys, men report that they do not enter the teaching profession because

  • It does not pay enough.
  • They are concerned about facing false accusations of child abuse.

These problems are easily solved with a bit of political will.

First of all, let's deal with the paedophile panic.

Teachers accused of child molestation will be granted anonymity until a verdict is reached. Cases have to be dealt with quickly, within say, two months. The teacher will be suspended on full pay until the verdict is reached. Falsely accused teachers will be reinstated at once, and their name will never appear in the media.

Children who are found to be making malicious false accusations against teachers will be dealt with extremely harshly, as will their parents also. Both the child and the parents will face possible fines, incarceration, unpaid community work and then social services intervention in the family. The child will not face exclusion from education, only transfer to a harsher regime. Once there is no more incentive to make false accusations, these will stop.

Secondly, money. How can we attract more men to become teachers? Simple. Use market forces. I work in the private sector. If you want to hire a project manager, and no-one applies for the job, increase your offer until someone applies.

If there are too many women teachers and not enough men, the answer is simple. Pay men more than women. Let's say we pay male teachers 35% more than female ones, until further notice. That should do it.

How did it come to this?

A friend of mine told me recently "I would almost like to see a feminist government. Put Harman in charge of the country for 10 years and let's see what happens. But let's emigrate first", he laughed.

In fact, it looks to me as if that experiment has already been done. The New Left have been in charge of the country now for 12 years. It is difficult to understand how a more catastrophic set of outcomes could have been arrived at. Are they criminally incompetent, or are they actually on a mission to destroy the country? It seems there is some of each.

The former Home Office entry clearance officer Steve Moxon, in his book 'The Great Immigration Scandal', reveals that New Labour, in its first term, actually set out to destroy the character of traditional British national identity, and used unrestricted mass immigration as an instrument to achieve this. Destroying British national identity was actually government policy. If Moxon's claim is correct, then that is deeply shocking, almost treasonable.

Be that as it may, there has certainly been a large measure of incompetence at work too. Estelle Morris famously resigned as Education Secretary, admitting that she was not up to the job. If only the rest of them were as honest as her.

Whether cock-up or conspiracy, the fact is that men, and poor men in particular, have been adversely affected by a collection of social, political and economic forces in the last three decades amounting almost to a perfect storm. These can be summarised under four basic headings:

1 The collapse of the family.
The collapse of the family was largely engineered by the feminist-led New Left, after 1968. I have discussed this in more detail elsewhere.

Briefly, the Left has regarded the family as oppressive to women, and as politically subversive, since at least the 1840s, when Marx's collaborator Engels wrote 'The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State'.

The 1960s saw the industrialisation of the service sector, leading to the advent of many new safe, female-friendly jobs, at the same time as the advent of the pill and legal abortion. Rising working class wages and the new consumer boom meant that for the first time, women were freed from their traditional duties of housework and childcare, and there were jobs for them to go to, which, thanks to mass education, they were able to do. This led to a new independence for Western women, which was of course a good thing.

The feminist movement was not the cause of these changes. The pill, mass education and the rise of the service sector had more to do with it. The feminist movement was a response to these radically changed circumstances. However, ideological movements being what they are, the feminist movement claimed responsibility. As Orwell said in 1984, after the Revolution, the Party rewrote history to claim that it had invented the helicopter, the machine gun, the train and so on. We are simply seeing the same thing here. Women were dislodged from their traditional roles by these far-reaching changes, and sought a way of making sense of what was going on around them. The resurgent feminist movement was a consequence of these changes, not the cause of them.

Unfortunately, the feminist movement embraced a whole set of bad ideas. Marxism. Psychoanalysis. That was perhaps pretty much all that there was available at the time. The feminist movement started claiming that the reason their grandmothers had not enjoyed the same benefits that they themselves enjoyed was that their grandmothers had been living under the oppressive yoke of male tyranny. In fact, the opposite was the case. The technical advances which had liberated women by 1970 were designed and built by men, as usual. Instead of admitting this, the feminist movement claimed that it had wrested freedom by force from the savage jaws of Patriarchy. This was utter nonsense, but women do like a feel-good story. They turned back to Engels, and decided that the family was the source of their 'oppression'.

It was then that people like Germaine Greer started preaching 'divorce as revolution'. Married women were encouraged to abandon their husbands and get divorced. Single women were encouraged not to get married, not to have children, not to form traditional families, and preferably to become lesbians. With feminists increasingly penetrating the institutions of government, changes in the law quickly followed. Divorce became easier, and settlements became more favourable to women. Forty years on, women now hold all - and I mean all - the cards in the family courts.

Fathers have been forcibly driven from the family, and women have abandoned their own responsibilities, producing a generation of children left to fend for themselves. These children are the teenagers who will mug you, stab you, or burgle your house. These children are the products of the divorce revolution, the bastard offspring of Germaine Greer and the catastrophic failures of the feminist movement.

2 The collapse of male industrial employment.
We have all heard stories about the horrors of the Industrial Revolution, when little boys were forced to climb up chimneys to clean them, or of pregnant women working in coal mines, the kind of social horrors that Dickens described in his novels. These practices were eventually outlawed in England by the Factory Acts of the 19th Century, which banned women and children from working in dangerous industrial conditions. The result was that men had to be paid a 'family wage', sufficient to support the entire family alone, while the women stayed safely at home.

This legislation was passed purely as a humanitarian effort to improve the lives of women and children. It also determined the character of socio-economic life in Britain for a century to come. My own father worked in a factory in the 1970s, while my mother stayed at home. By then, however, massive forces were at work which meant that this apparently stable pattern was about to come to an end. Globalisation meant that manufacturing work could be done more cheaply abroad. Margaret Thatcher's government deliberately closed down manufacturing industry in a largely-justified attempt to rein in the Communist-dominated trade unions during the Cold War. This meant that traditional sources of male employment were disappearing rapidly.

At the same time, as I mentioned above, the rise of the service sector produced many new jobs for which women were ideally suited. Again the feminist movement falsely claimed that it had wrested the Right to Work from the Patriarchy's cold, dead hand. You never hear a feminist mentioning the Factory Acts. They much prefer a conspiracy theory. Their mothers hadn't worked in factories because evil men had prevented them from doing so.

The entry of women into the workplace in large numbers drove down wages. The notion of a family wage became a thing of the past. These changes in working practices were the result of profound economic and technological changes. The principal beneficiaries were middle-class women; the principal losers were working-class men. Indeed, there is no longer any such thing as 'the working class' of old. Now there is just the middle-class and the under-class.

3 The collapse of the education system.
I have discussed education at some length in other articles. Education was a traditional route out of poverty for many, including myself. In the early 20th century, the Left had demanded free education for all in order to overcome working-class children's disadvantage. Early feminists had demanded that girls be given the same educational opportunities as boys. After the post-WWII reconstruction, these dreams had largely become a reality, with bright working class children being able to attend grammar schools and universities on an equal footing with their more privileged peers.

The post-1968 New Left, unfortunately, decided to destroy the very education system that most of them had benefited from.

They have systematically undermined education for the last forty years. They have watered down traditional educational values, condemning them as elitist. They have decried core subjects such as science and mathematics as ‘masculine linear thinking’, and undermined their position in the curriculum. They have rubbished the icons of Western intellectual history as ‘dead white European males’, but failed to replace them with anything.

They have undermined the authority of teachers, driving men out of the profession by means of an organised campaign of moral panic over paedophiles. They have undermined discipline in schools, and removed any trace of competitive activity in case those who do not perform so well might feel bad about themselves.

They have sought to rig the system so that all children have the same educational outcomes, holding back the brightest, while artificially promoting the least able.

This has been a national catastrophe. Everyone has suffered the consequences, but it has been boys in particular who have been the principal losers.

The result is that 63% of poor white boys are unable to read and write properly at 14. As white males, they do not fit into any politically correct interest group which would entitle them to support; as poor and low-status males, they are simply beneath the dignity of the middle-class women who set the political agenda. Their lives just don't matter.

4 The collapse of traditional male culture.
A friend of mine is the father of two children, a boy and a girl, both around 10 or 11. They wanted to join a youth organisation, so he looked around his local area. He found that there were the Scouts and the Guides. The Scouts is open to both boys and girls. The Guides is open to girls. There is no youth organisation which caters only to boys. This is only one small example. The same trend is repeated in every walk of life across Britain today. This erosion of male institutions, the denial that males have any rights or any unique interests, is the result of decades of systematic attack on men by the feminist movement. It is unthinkable that there might be a male-only organisation, a place where females cannot enter. The reverse, however, is perfectly acceptable. There are all-female gym classes, swimming lessons, colleges, schools, taxi services, language classes, you name it.

These feminists think it is very amusing to 'get one over on the blokes'. What they don't seem to have realised is that the consequences are going to blow up in their faces eventually. Whether it is in being mugged by a 14-year-old, having your car broken into, being unable to find a suitable partner, growing old alone and childless, or just being taxed through the nose to pay for prisons and social workers, there is always a price to pay. Social breakdown is very, very expensive. Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

Tough on Education, Tough on the Causes of Education.

I came across this excellent and chilling article today.

The first time I saw Tuggy Tug, he was standing on a street corner in Brixton with half-a-dozen other 15-year- old boys. They were scowling at anyone who walked past.

He is already set on the path of social deprivation: prison, an early death or, at best, a lifetime on benefits. His life is already wasted.

Today, Britain is facing a crisis with its youth. In every town and city, boys like Tuggy Tug are failing to make the transition to manhood and a successful adult life. This has terrifying implications for us all.

Tuggy Tug's chances of having a decent childhood, it became clear, had been weighted against him from the start. As a black boy from a low-income Caribbean background, he belongs to one of the two categories most likely to fail at school and least likely to break out of poverty.

White boys from low-income families perform worst: 63 per cent are unable to read and write properly at 14 (compared with 43 per cent of white girls from a similar background).

Black working- class boys do not do much better: at age 14, 54 per cent cannot read or write properly.

The scale of the crisis in our education system is going unrecognised - but we ignore it at our peril.

Unlike previous generations, the boys who spill out onto our streets don't quickly grow out of delinquent behaviour.

What happens in school smashes their lives, leaving them antisocial-semi- criminal and dependant on welfare.

Which means we, the taxpayers, have to pay astronomical sums to keep fit young men idle. Youth unemployment, which has just hit 726,000 - its highest level in 16 years - is now costing us well over £90million a week.

And that's not all, of course. Illiterate young men with no other way of proving themselves or of making a living are likely to turn to crime. In 2004, the annual cost of youth crime in Britain was calculated at more than £1 billion - and it will be far higher now.

Certainly, adults are now less ready to intervene and monitor young people than in the past - and they are right to be afraid.

...the institutions that previously socialised and directed young men - the family, the church and school - have either lost or given up their authority.

And these changes have hit boys from poor backgrounds the hardest.

So, too, has the lack of adult males in their lives who can serve as role models.
The number of children living in loneparent households - almost all headed by a single mother - has more than doubled in 25 years.

And what happens when these boys go to school? Despite the billions thrown at education by the Government since 1997, nearly every one of the teenagers I interviewed, as well as quite a few of the men I met in their 20s and 30s, was unable to read or write properly - or had only learned in prison.

Everywhere I went, I met men whose lives had been blighted by their failure at school. According to the Statistics Commission, of the 1.7 million new jobs created since 1997, a whopping 81 per cent have gone to foreign workers.

The Department For Work And Pensions is jawdroppingly candid about the reasons for this.

UK citizens are on the dole because of 'issues around basic employability skills, incentives and motivation' it says.

What a pity it has not passed this insight on to the Department Of Education And Skills.

All over Britain, men like Dave are disengaging from society for a reason: they see nothing in it for them. And they are quite right.

A new report - by an all-party panel chaired by former minister Alan Milburn - spelled out: 'The problem is not a shortage of parental aspiration. It is a shortage of good schools.'

Whether these proposals will ever be taken further is doubtful. Labour has a track record of talking about reforms - and then doing nothing.

The problem lies in our schools, over which Labour has had complete control for the past 12 years.

In any case, most boys from disadvantaged backgrounds don't aspire to move to a different class; they rarely aspire to go beyond a few streets.

One young man I met in South London, for example, had never crossed the Thames because he couldn't read the bus timetables.

Truly shocking. I feel sorry for these young men, but my response, like that of most adults, is generally to avoid them for fear of violent mugging. How did it ever come to this?