March 11, 2004


A few weeks ago, Labor leader Mark Latham held forth on the subject of boys and education:

The decline of personal and social relationships was affecting boys most, he said.

Boys were leaving school earlier with lower literacy levels, and they were disproportionately more likely to be victims of drug overdoses, road trauma and youth suicide, he said.

So the government moved to do something about it:

Yesterday, the Government introduced amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act to allow schools to offer teacher training scholarships to males only. The stated aim was to overcome the chronic gender imbalance in our schools.

And Labor’s reaction?

Even before the amendments hit the Parliament, they were in trouble. Labor and the minor parties said they would vote them down.

Pathetic. Still, there’s a silver lining within this sucky cloud. The issue has inspired Margo Kingston to write one of her worst intros ever:

Ah, the Zeitgeist! Everywhere you look the rules change before your eyes as new patterns seem to emerge then mutate. I'm still getting my head around ...

Etc, etc. You’d rather read a doctor’s report on the inoperable nature of your penile cancer.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 11, 2004 12:52 AM

Sorry to hear about your penile cancer, Tim.

Posted by: Robert at March 11, 2004 at 01:15 AM

Anyone who wants an in-depth look at the situation in the US will want to read The War Against Boys by Suzanne Hoff Somers (sp?). She details the results of feminism gone horribly wrong and the permanent damage it has done to boys AND girls.

Here's hoping Australia has the courage to deal with this disaster.

Posted by: Gary at March 11, 2004 at 01:25 AM

You is second person, Robert.

Posted by: scott h. at March 11, 2004 at 04:15 AM

All the better that it failed.

Dim-witted socialist public policy is the antithesis of maleness, in fact it degrades us.

The easiest way to emasculate and enfeeble is to make something a handout and an elaborate program. All one really needs is a personal challenge, some hard work, and to learn something about the depth of human responsibilities that it takes to be a grown up.

Posted by: Joe at March 11, 2004 at 04:41 AM

Ah, the Zeitgeist!

Look out everyone, she's learned a new word......

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at March 11, 2004 at 08:47 AM

To correctly observe a problem, as Latham has done, does not then require him to adopt a patently incorrect solution.

Howard's idea is dumb. As correctly observed above, it is a dimwitted socialist idea. If it's goal is to get more men into teaching, it is the lowest form of trivial tokenism, and it will not work. It has been floated by the government solely in order to gain an opportunity for an entirely meaningless, contrived counter-attack on the new leader of the opposition. Only a fool would fail to recognise this for the jaded political trickery that it is.

It is remarkable how well Latham has done so far in putting the Libs on the back foot. Latham, not Howard, is now driving the national debate. This is an excellent thing (for at last we actually have a national debate) and even if Howard wins again, we all owe Latham something of a vote of thanks.

Posted by: Nemesis at March 11, 2004 at 08:52 AM

The problem highlighted by Howard is the fact that the Sex Discrinination Act prevents the Catholic Education body from engaging people how it would wish to. It's a socialist piece of legislation that is being amended so that people can make decisions to deal with a real problem in their operations which they claim cannot be addressed because of existing restrictions imposed on them by the Act.

It's a piece of legislation that should only be applied to the government.

Posted by: amortiser at March 11, 2004 at 09:09 AM

What I find interesting is the response to the idea of getting more mene into teaching is that the usual lefty suspects, Latham the empty vessel, Pru the Afcist Goward, Senator John the Vacuous Cherry, have all come out against what is really affirmative action. Of course if someone had suggested an affirmative action programme for women, these wankeers would be falling over themselves to endorse it.

The interesting thing is that there are good reasons for introducing reverse discrimination in this case. We need male primary school teachers. Yet the usual left wing ratbags are suddenly opposing a policy that would mhelp solve the problem.

And Nemesis, if Latham is so good, how come he didn't actually come up with a way to solve the problem that he identified. Of course we all know what labor's policy would be: commission a report by some idiot lefty academic, have 26 governement enquiries and then spend millions advertising and implementing a policy that is complex and fails to address the real problem. Then after a few years no-one will notice when othing has changed and the policy has been a complete failure.

Then there is Latham's other solution to all our problems: give an income cut tax to the rich only and remove the capital gains tax breaks for small business and the tax emption for the family home. After that, the pledge to give the unions back all their lost power by destroying enterprise bargaining will look like a small thing.

And Nemesis calls this a debate!?! All we've gotin Latham's ALP is the same old out of touch dinosaur in some faddish clothing.

My god the guy's such a loser that he allowed Creen to change a quote from his own mother in his conference speech. Not only that

Posted by: Toryhere at March 11, 2004 at 09:17 AM

i would humbly suggest that the best way to get more male teachers is to hire cuter female ones.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 11, 2004 at 09:41 AM

Its amazing to see people politicising what really is a grass roots action aimed at helping in some way, kids. I cant argue with that.

What does amaze me are the double standards used.
If Latham had said it, Margo and her ilk would have been creaming themselves, using statements as 'visionary'.

Howard says it and he becomes a sexist pig, promoting 'token' efforts.

Again, I would rather see something done about a REAL problem that unfortunately goes against some leftist canards.

Posted by: nic at March 11, 2004 at 10:07 AM

She's Christina Hoff Sommers but yeah, good point.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at March 11, 2004 at 10:27 AM

If affirmative action is so bad, as Latham, Goward and others point out -- then why do they not condemn the female-only scholarships that are currently on offer in varios professions?

Posted by: EvilPundit at March 11, 2004 at 11:04 AM

In my region of America, we had a "Boy's Club". It had a pool, and games, and stuff for kids to do after school and during the summer.

Women's rights orgs thought it best to bring suit against it being exclusively for boys, and loe and behold the operators bent under pressure.

Later not two blocks away a newer, improved "Girl's Club" was built. It had a pool ect. When asked if they would be sharing the building with the "Boy's Club" after all they had some nice new things the other club didn't, they were told to piss off, that this was a "Girl's Club". To add insult to the kneee to groin injury they still demanded equal usauge of the original "Boy's Club".

Cook em all. Let digestion sort em out.

"Etc, etc. You’d rather read a doctor’s report on the inoperable nature of your penile cancer."

Man goes to doctor with a penis disease. Doctor says he needs to lop the thing off. Man leaves goes to next doctor who suggest the same thing. Man repeats process with several doctors getting the same response from each. At the last doctor he ask where the disease comes from. The doctor says China, so off the man flys to China. He finds a Chinese doctor who he explains his story to, ending with how all the doctors in his country want to chop off his dick. The Chinese guy chuckles after taking a look at the guys member, and says "That's the problem with foreign doctors. Everything is surgery. everything is cut off." The guy feeling relieved says, "So you can save it?" The Chinese doctor laughs and says, "No, can't save it, but wait a week will fall off on it's own."

Posted by: IXLNXS at March 11, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Jesus INXLSFLSKKXXLAHNFS, you are definitely a dumb (and out of touch) Florida hick. That joke had wrinkles when my father used to tell it.

Non-Floridians, I feel I must apologize for the existence of this cretin. I thought the only people in Polk County* who knew what the internet was used it solely to show their wives titties on it for money.

*Florida's Redneck Central, Polk County is famous for orange groves, and for being on the FBI's list of top-ten Klan hangouts. That is also where we keep our nuclear plants.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 11, 2004 at 01:38 PM

Being a true Floridian means hating everyone equally.


It's what's for dinner.

Posted by: IXLNXS at March 11, 2004 at 01:46 PM

Mr IXNSLDAIQOPQARARAR must have gone swimming in one of our local lakes once too often. (Scroll down to "amoebas" for extra enjoyment.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 11, 2004 at 01:53 PM

As a confirmed RWDB I'm strongly opposed to affirmative action programs because they are discriminatory. The best person who wants a job should get it.

Simple solution is to pay teachers more. Why do four years at Uni and get paid shit, when you can do four years in another course and get paid shit loads more! (same reason I left the Army - great job but shit pay!)

Oh, and Mr Bingley - a stirling idea, but the hot chicks do the hot-paying courses!

(I admit some bias here as my wife is a teacher and I would like her to earn more (but not as much as me))

Posted by: Razor at March 11, 2004 at 04:21 PM

As a confirmed whatever-the-hell-I-am, I strongly agree with Razor, on both points.

Notice how Tim doesn't actually tell us what he thinks about Howard's proposal? Does he mean to imply that he actually favors affirmative action? Or is the only relevant principle that he opposes everything Mark Latham does, because he's on the wrong team?

Posted by: Mork at March 11, 2004 at 06:17 PM

Yes, I'm sure the fact that Lantham is opposing this has nothing to do with the ironic fact that males will be the beneficiary of this brave new affirmative action and everything to do with principle.

Posted by: Sortelli at March 11, 2004 at 09:32 PM

While reviewing the doctor's report, you should also consider your arch blogfoe's comments on this issue, which seemed to me to be eminently sensible (but, then again, so were the counter comments!).

Robert Corr's blog entry

Posted by: fraidy cat at March 11, 2004 at 09:35 PM

Here in the states we have (roughly) doubled teachers' salaries over the past 20 years. What we now have is mostly the same idiots making more money and failing schools in way too many districts. We would be better off putting the money in a pile and setting it on fire.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 12, 2004 at 02:12 AM

Margo's column demonstrates that it's not just boys who leave school with low levels of literacy. Hurrah for gender parity!

Posted by: Hans Blip at March 12, 2004 at 12:17 PM

JorgXMcKie - the problem you've identified is caused by the fact that the Teachers Unions, supported by academics, oppose performanced based pay structures and objective measures of teacher performance. Introduce those things along with performance pay and see what happens.

Posted by: Razor at March 12, 2004 at 01:59 PM