Woe is We: More on Education

Someone at USAToday is really fretting over the gender divide on American campuses. They just ran an article in October on the topic, and now there’s another one today. But this time it’s not just about men versus women; it’s about the horror of middle class white men falling behind.

Jacqueline King is a researcher who carefully sifts data for the American Council on Education in search of trends that colleges and universities might find helpful. One recent discovery jumped out: Over the past eight years, the percentage of middle-class males on campus shifted dramatically downward. Even more surprising, the sharpest drop occurred among white males.
Actually, it’s not surprising at all. America’s anti-intellectual streak referenced in my earlier post on gifted children being left behind (and also discussed at length here, here, and here) has decidedly conservative roots. Just today, at Tapped, Yglesias references a Wall Street Journal editorial by conservative (and professor of English emeritus at Dartmouth) Jeffrey Hart, who notes that with the GOP’s “center of gravity” having “shifted to the South and the Sunbelt…the consequences of that profound shift are evident, especially with respect to prudence, education, intellect and high culture.” (Yes, that’s a conservative making that point; not some latte-swilling, sushi-sucking, limousine liberal.) And perhaps more pointedly, anti-intellectualism has become inextricably linked with conservative fundamentalist Christianity. As the slightest bit of knowledge can undermine its teachings, many of it purveyors have realized it’s best to keep the flock ignorant. With white males comprising a significant part of the solid conservative base, it’s not remotely surprising that as anti-intellectualism takes further hold within the conservative ideology, its adherents would eschew higher education in greater numbers.

Add to that the fact that often men without a degree can make just as much or more money than women with a degree, and the sense of entitlement of which many white males refuse to let go, and there’s even less reason to be surprised. Surely one’s shock should also be minimized by even a passing glance at the failure that is No Child Left Behind, which can leave even determined students who value their educations struggling.

King and other researchers can't pinpoint precise explanations. But taking a hard look at why boys increasingly lack the verbal skills to succeed would be a good place to start.
Yeah, well, go see the president and his super plan to leave no child behind while celebrating ignorance at every available opportunity.

And inevitably, no article on education would be complete by pointing out how this will affect women’s marriage options.

Some campus populations already are two-thirds female, affecting campus dynamics in ways that eventually will ripple throughout society. More women are getting opportunities once denied to them, but more men face a bleak future in a world that increasingly demands education for success. Educated white women, meanwhile, will have increasing difficulty finding suitable mates, a problem that black women complain about now, as do many women on those female-dominated campuses. Men and women alike will have to worry about their sons' futures.
Men and women alike will have to worry?! Good lord. If only we could go back to the good old days when girls were kept dumb and easily married off, and dads didn’t have to give a damn.

I blame this all on the rejection of whalebone corsets.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus