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(AL.com)   Alabama public school separates boys and girls for all classes "because boys are better than girls because their bodies receive testosterone, while girls have similar skills only a few days per month". The ACLU has a problem with this   (blog.al.com ) divider line
    More: Asinine, Birmingham's Huffman Middle School, ACLU, Alabama, Office of Civil Rights, gender stereotypes, U.S. Department of Education  
•       •       •

16200 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Dec 2012 at 3:45 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-10 04:42:20 AM  

ghostwind: Somacandra: FTFA: According to the ACLU, the school relied on a book that teaches that boys are better than girls in math because their bodies receive daily surges of testosterone, while girls have similar skills only a few days per month when they experience increased estrogen during the menstrual cycle.

Downloaded and read the PDF complaint. Seems to center around this book:

[i.imgur.com image 350x523] 

Does a lot of "gender science." Not sure what that is supposed to mean, except it heavily privileged nature over nurture

From what I read on his website, this guy is basically a teacher who went and did "post-graduate" work in Educational psychology, and now claims to be a neuro-psychological specialist... Even so, educational psychologist ≠ neuro-psychologist, nor anything close to it. It is this kind of garbage science that they teach you isn't true in your first year of psychology...


Phrases like "neuro-psychological specialist" are words that are made up by shady "counselors" to make it sound as if they have more expertise than they really do while avoiding legal troubles by calling themselves psychologists. Basically, this guy has written a bunch of books for consumption by the general population, and as far as I can tell, doesn't have a single peer-reviewed article published in any psychology journals. What this all boils down to is that he very likely doesn't have a single damn shred of evidence to support many of his unique assertions, but plenty of foolish people will buy these books, read them, and swear by them. And when one of those people is an educator, that's when you get weak rationales for things like gender-separated classes.
 
2012-12-10 04:42:23 AM  

ByOwlLight: giftedmadness: and the quote from the headline is never found in the article

Know how I know you didn't read the article?


Don't mind him, he also said Feminism is a mental disorder.

/though I have to admire the amount of stupidity he manages to cram into a such a short post
 
2012-12-10 04:44:10 AM  

Serious Black: Did these assclowns fall out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down?


They fell out of the family tree and farked every sibling on the way down.
 
2012-12-10 04:44:40 AM  

swingerofbirches: It doesn't make a lot of sense. If this program is so great, you might as well test kids for their testosterone levels so they're in the right group. Testosterone levels vary wildly between individuals. I'm an XY male with idiopathic secondary hypogonadism (basically a pituitary issue causes me to have low testosterone and they don't know why) and I have similar testosterone levels to an XX friend of mine who has PCOS. I went through two years of calculus in high school (I forget what they called it, AB, BC, soemthing like that), and did fine with testosterone levels that I assume were low back then as well.

But to throw all boys together and all girls together is a bit crude scientifically (if there really was any science to begin with).

I can also tell you the gay kids will suffer. It will be hell. The same way that they say there are less distractions, being with only the same gender becomes this torturous world where you observe what you like but can't do anything about while having to try to act like a normal person to not get found out. In short, gay guys need straight girls. Especially in Alabama.


I think something that many people overlook with these kinds of correlations is that elevated testosterone does not mean a whole lot at the end of the day... the brain only has a certain number testosterone receptors in the brain. Produce more than the receptors can handle, then nothing happens... At the end of the day, the author that wrote this book probably has a very limited understanding of the endocrine system and how it works in the body. What is even worse, is that the educators have even less of an understanding of it than he does...  The end result is an ACLU lawsuit against the school.
 
2012-12-10 04:59:04 AM  
Everybody knows the true rugged, testosterone-filled manly men are to be found in the Mathematics Departments of universities.

*sigh* And this on Ada Lovelace's birthday.
 
2012-12-10 05:06:04 AM  

ByOwlLight: CSS time:

They tried splitting out girls and boys into our own gym classes one year at my high school. The reasoning was that girls and boys have different interests in physical activities. Really, I think my teacher just really, really wanted to teach dance and they knew the boys wouldn't go for it.

Well, we girls didn't really go for it, either. It was supposed to be some six-week course, going through all the different major types of dance. ...while the boys got to screw around playing basketball. By the second week, we were pretty close to mutiny, and if you have never seen 70+ teenaged girls all sulking around in a room with a smoldering look of fury in their eyes, well. You can imagine.

Anyway, by that point, my teacher, god love her, realized what was happening. So she decided to hold a vote. Continue dance or play tennis with the shiattiest ping-pong paddle-sized plastic racquets you've ever seen? And oh man, it was like a TV show, the way she said it all. "Who would like to continue with our wonderful study of dance, ranging in a wide selection of important historical, cultural, blahblahblah" and on. One girl raised her hand. Then she said, flatly, "...and who would like to play tennis?"

We voted for tennis.

Best month of gym class ever, eight of us to a court with those shiatty plastic racquets and all. We had a hell of a great time.

I think that's what finally broke my teacher's heart in gym, though, and convinced her to stick to teaching English. She was great at that.


Wow, thats the exact opposite of my experience in middle school. Part of our required PE curriculum was to learn folk dances from all over the world, from the American south to Japan, Israel, Mexico etc. Some of the dances required us to partner up and hold hands. Obviously there wasn't a perfect 50/50 split of gender in the class, so there were a bunch of same sex dance partnerships going on. Our teacher said "Anyone who complains will have to run laps" so no one complained.

Surprisingly, it was the best PE class we had ever had. Unlike previous PE classes were we would play sports and compete against each other, the folk dance classes required the entire class to work together to perform and pass. Everyone looked forward to class and was always in good spirits afterwards, both the boys and girls. By the end of the class we had learned several dances from many different cultures flawlessly. I don't think I ever came out of a PE class feeling so accomplished.
 
2012-12-10 05:08:00 AM  
"Be a Man" has an unintentional comedy homo-erotic undercurrent to it - I bet the emphasis is on manly sports like wrestling and football. Probably just turf out loads of little Putins.
 
2012-12-10 05:22:43 AM  

Fluorescent Testicle: Serious Black: Did these assclowns fall out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down?

They fell out of the family tree and farked every sibling on the way down.


It's a shame you're gay.

/not really though
 
182
2012-12-10 05:23:59 AM  

fusillade762: As long as the classes are equal it's OK if they're separated.


wow! just wow.
 
2012-12-10 05:24:04 AM  
Both my brother and his wife are engineers, so I'm getting a kick....
 
2012-12-10 05:31:17 AM  
Eh, I attended single sex education, and I felt like it was very paternalistic; even tho almost all the teachers and administrators were female, the few who were male were more often than not busy farking the students. But the treating us like small children may have just been the catholic influence.

We didn't have pe where we broke a sweat, but that may have been cuz the school was too poor to afford locker rooms or showers.

Nonetheless, there are lots of benefits of single sex education, it should just be by choice, not force.
/css

I hope a better news outlet picks up this story and expands on it, npr maybe. I'd like to hear from some of the parents and/or the students.
 
2012-12-10 05:33:14 AM  
I was born missing a fully functional endocrine system, which was really noticed until puberty. I produce minimal amounts of testosterone and pretty much nothing else. Math in all its form was a struggle for me throughout school, but now I do math in my head. This makes me living proof that the introduction of synthetic female hormones creates mathematicians. Makes as much damn sense as this guys ideas.

I know it's not PC to test children and then track them either towards college or vo-tech, but it's a hell of lot better than this idea.
 
2012-12-10 05:35:56 AM  
Can we just dedicate an entire HD channel to Alabama and give David Attenborough a contract?
 
2012-12-10 05:39:27 AM  

cherryl taggart: I was born missing a fully functional endocrine system, which was really noticed until puberty. I produce minimal amounts of testosterone and pretty much nothing else. Math in all its form was a struggle for me throughout school, but now I do math in my head. This makes me living proof that the introduction of synthetic female hormones creates mathematicians. Makes as much damn sense as this guys ideas.


I cannot quite tell if you are being serious or not...
 
2012-12-10 05:40:19 AM  

Big Ramifications: Secondly, if you read between the lines, clearly I'm asking: "OK, so it's not testosterone. Great. I'm happy for youse all. So why is there a difference? Coz there clearly is a difference by the time you get to leet university level mathematicians.

Got any ideas, chuckles?



Maybe gender bias is still prevalent in the education system.
 
2012-12-10 05:41:06 AM  

ghostwind: cherryl taggart: I was born missing a fully functional endocrine system, which was really noticed until puberty. I produce minimal amounts of testosterone and pretty much nothing else. Math in all its form was a struggle for me throughout school, but now I do math in my head. This makes me living proof that the introduction of synthetic female hormones creates mathematicians. Makes as much damn sense as this guys ideas.


I cannot quite tell if you are being serious or not...


Really?
 
2012-12-10 05:42:08 AM  

thamike: ghostwind: cherryl taggart:

Really?


Well, up until the last sentence..
 
2012-12-10 05:43:49 AM  

Porous Horace: Oh, so now science is "bad"?


No, but Pseudoscience like this is.
 
2012-12-10 05:48:11 AM  

Big Ramifications: Metalithic: IIRC the book cites the absurdly lopsided ratio of male:female mathematics doctorates as proof.

So what exactly are you saying? That a predominance of male mathematics postgraduates is proof that testosterone makes you a math wiz?
~
~
Firstly, I'm asking why there is a difference. Not saying why there is a difference [albeit in a smartass way - try not to get too butt hurt].

Secondly, if you read between the lines, clearly I'm asking: "OK, so it's not testosterone. Great. I'm happy for youse all. So why is there a difference? Coz there clearly is a difference by the time you get to leet university level mathematicians.

Got any ideas, chuckles?


Well, there do appear to be some differences in brain organization and structure between males and females. Hormones have been mentioned in scientific articles as a possible factor (I did a search on Google Scholar and found some papers in reputable journals, but I just had time to glance at the abstracts), so I guess the testosterone theory may be a bizarre misinterpretation of actual research. However it seems that many factors are involved, and I imagine that our cultural attitudes toward math and gender have some effect.
 
2012-12-10 05:55:21 AM  

Metalithic: Big Ramifications: Metalithic: IIRC the book cites the absurdly lopsided ratio of male:female mathematics doctorates as proof.

So what exactly are you saying? That a predominance of male mathematics postgraduates is proof that testosterone makes you a math wiz?
~
~
Firstly, I'm asking why there is a difference. Not saying why there is a difference [albeit in a smartass way - try not to get too butt hurt].

Secondly, if you read between the lines, clearly I'm asking: "OK, so it's not testosterone. Great. I'm happy for youse all. So why is there a difference? Coz there clearly is a difference by the time you get to leet university level mathematicians.

Got any ideas, chuckles?

Well, there do appear to be some differences in brain organization and structure between males and females. Hormones have been mentioned in scientific articles as a possible factor (I did a search on Google Scholar and found some papers in reputable journals, but I just had time to glance at the abstracts), so I guess the testosterone theory may be a bizarre misinterpretation of actual research. However it seems that many factors are involved, and I imagine that our cultural attitudes toward math and gender have some effect.


My guess is that the brain needs a certain amount of testosterone or estrogen (among other hormones) to operate at peak efficiency. How much it needs is probably not very much, more than is produced by anyone without a serious glandular condition. Then Captain Derpy here reads that bit about "the brain requires testosterone or estrogen", doesn't bother to check his units, and winds up publishing a book full of crap.
 
2012-12-10 05:58:42 AM  

yukichigai: Then Captain Derpy here reads that bit about "the brain requires testosterone or estrogen", doesn't bother to check his units, and winds up publishing a book full of crap.


Captain Derpy has published multiple books on the topic, and I am sure his bank account has benefited quite nicely as a result.
 
2012-12-10 05:59:07 AM  
This is BS by the way (Just about all the "testosterone giants" did with their "daily surges" was try and get as drunk as possible as often as possible.
 
2012-12-10 06:00:43 AM  

Smoking GNU: This is BS by the way (Just about all the "testosterone giants" did with their "daily surges" was try and get as drunk as possible as often as possible.


OK, i have no idea what went wrong here, but fark just ate 2/3 of my post right out from the middle.
 
2012-12-10 06:15:21 AM  

182: fusillade762: As long as the classes are equal it's OK if they're separated.

wow! just wow.


What? You have a problem with separate but equal classes?
 
2012-12-10 06:15:26 AM  
The ACLU has a problem with this

But why should the ACLU have all the fun, eh?


Rik01: The older I get, the more absolutely stupid humanity seems to become.


Humanity has been circling the drain more or less since it was invented... or at the very least, since the means to comment on it in public was invented. And I've remained unconvinced by such "unique insights" more or less since I was invented.

That said, Stupid (like every other trend or fashion) never really becomes forever passe. It just goes out of style for a while before being revived yet again at some opportune time.
 
2012-12-10 06:23:51 AM  
25.media.tumblr.com
 
2012-12-10 06:27:16 AM  

Big Ramifications: Metalithic: IIRC the book cites the absurdly lopsided ratio of male:female mathematics doctorates as proof.

So what exactly are you saying? That a predominance of male mathematics postgraduates is proof that testosterone makes you a math wiz?
~
~
Firstly, I'm asking why there is a difference. Not saying why there is a difference [albeit in a smartass way - try not to get too butt hurt].

Secondly, if you read between the lines, clearly I'm asking: "OK, so it's not testosterone. Great. I'm happy for youse all. So why is there a difference? Coz there clearly is a difference by the time you get to leet university level mathematicians.

Got any ideas, chuckles?


The difference begins at middle school. Either female students get dumber or we systematically give the advantage to male students. Considering many studies support the latter, I'm going with that.
 
2012-12-10 06:29:39 AM  

Mike_LowELL: TheHopeDiamond: How about we stop sending foreign aid to third-world developing countries and send it to farking Alabama?

How about you stop making fun of the best school system on the planet? Alabama was first place out of fifty states in getting the lowest science test scores. It's no wonder we kick your butts at football.


Not only that, but the toothbrush was invented in Alabama.
Anywhere else, and they'd have called it a "teethbrush".
 
2012-12-10 06:33:54 AM  

ghostwind: swingerofbirches: It doesn't make a lot of sense. If this program is so great, you might as well test kids for their testosterone levels so they're in the right group. Testosterone levels vary wildly between individuals. I'm an XY male with idiopathic secondary hypogonadism (basically a pituitary issue causes me to have low testosterone and they don't know why) and I have similar testosterone levels to an XX friend of mine who has PCOS. I went through two years of calculus in high school (I forget what they called it, AB, BC, soemthing like that), and did fine with testosterone levels that I assume were low back then as well.

But to throw all boys together and all girls together is a bit crude scientifically (if there really was any science to begin with).

I can also tell you the gay kids will suffer. It will be hell. The same way that they say there are less distractions, being with only the same gender becomes this torturous world where you observe what you like but can't do anything about while having to try to act like a normal person to not get found out. In short, gay guys need straight girls. Especially in Alabama.

I think something that many people overlook with these kinds of correlations is that elevated testosterone does not mean a whole lot at the end of the day... the brain only has a certain number testosterone receptors in the brain. Produce more than the receptors can handle, then nothing happens... At the end of the day, the author that wrote this book probably has a very limited understanding of the endocrine system and how it works in the body. What is even worse, is that the educators have even less of an understanding of it than he does...  The end result is an ACLU lawsuit against the school.


This is it in a nutshell.
 
2012-12-10 06:34:42 AM  
I don't know which is worse. Alabama, or the bastards in the comments section attacking the article writer.
 
2012-12-10 06:37:10 AM  

Old enough to know better: I don't know which is worse. Alabama, or the bastards in the comments section attacking the article writer.


There's a comment section?
Goddammitsomuch, now I'm going to be late for work.
 
2012-12-10 06:37:11 AM  

Bontesla: The difference begins at middle school.


Hey, learning is life-long.

By which I mean stereotypes about how you learn are reinforced from birth to death of course.
 
2012-12-10 06:38:24 AM  

Bontesla: Old enough to know better: I don't know which is worse. Alabama, or the bastards in the comments section attacking the article writer.

There's a comment section?
Goddammitsomuch, now I'm going to be late for work.


No comments on the mobile version.
 
2012-12-10 06:40:55 AM  

SkunkWerks: Bontesla: The difference begins at middle school.

Hey, learning is life-long.

By which I mean stereotypes about how you learn are reinforced from birth to death of course.


Absolutely.
There was an interesting study that looks at how teachers reinforce gender bias in the way they respond to students. This study was published in the 50s and has been recreated each time the phenomen was studied.
 
2012-12-10 06:49:53 AM  
Just a quick question (I think).

Why is everyone posting about Alabama? The article is from the Newspaper in Alabama, but I think they have pulled one over on FARK folks.

In the first sentence it states "Birmingham's Huffman Middle School and another district in Idaho"

I'm not sure, and I could be wrong, but this is all about Idaho, not Alabama. In the actual article it talks about Birmingham. Maybe they are speaking about Birmingham, England.
 
2012-12-10 06:54:41 AM  

BiffSpiffy: I'm not sure, and I could be wrong, but this is all about Idaho, not Alabama. In the actual article it talks about Birmingham. Maybe they are speaking about Birmingham, England.


Birmingham is a city in Alabama.
 
2012-12-10 06:55:44 AM  

BiffSpiffy: Maybe they are speaking about Birmingham, England.


No.

That said, Dayton, Tennesee is jealous they didn't think of it first.
 
2012-12-10 06:57:09 AM  

Big Ramifications: Metalithic: IIRC the book cites the absurdly lopsided ratio of male:female mathematics doctorates as proof.

So what exactly are you saying? That a predominance of male mathematics postgraduates is proof that testosterone makes you a math wiz?
~
~
Firstly, I'm asking why there is a difference. Not saying why there is a difference [albeit in a smartass way - try not to get too butt hurt].

Secondly, if you read between the lines, clearly I'm asking: "OK, so it's not testosterone. Great. I'm happy for youse all. So why is there a difference? Coz there clearly is a difference by the time you get to leet university level mathematicians.

Got any ideas, chuckles?


Maybe it has to do with the gender stereotyping illustrated in this article? "We think girls are bad at math, so let's just not teach it to them and let them bake cookies instead."

And it's not just schooling. This gender stereotyping is ingrained in pretty much every aspect of our lives, from our toys to our entertainment. You have building blocks, and "building blocks for girls", which are pink and come mostly pre-assembled. The toy aisles are segregated by gender, so kids don't even really get the opportunity to browse what the other gender is "supposed" to play with.

And before you say that toy companies are just catering to what the genders would naturally gravitate towards playing with, anyway, I offer you this: Soccer vs. Football. In pretty much every country besides the US, soccer is the dominant sport, whereas in the US, it's football. Is there some ingrained hormonal response unique to Americans that makes Americans naturally prefer football over soccer? No, it's completely cultural. If an American grew up in a European country, they'd probably like soccer instead. I propose that the intellectual interests of the genders probably operates in a similar manner.
 
2012-12-10 06:58:17 AM  

fusillade762: 182: fusillade762: As long as the classes are equal it's OK if they're separated.

wow! just wow.

What? You have a problem with separate but equal classes?


Nah, he just saw a modified wooden toilet paper roller.
 
2012-12-10 07:02:25 AM  

Fast Moon: Maybe it has to do with the gender stereotyping illustrated in this article? "We think girls are bad at math, so let's just not teach it to them and let them bake cookies instead."

And it's not just schooling.


Again, for an interesting example of this, read up on the Monty Hall Problem.

Basically put: Male Mathematicians vs. female Guinness Book's Highest IQ Score entry.

Sex discrimination in Academics hardly ends at graduation.
 
2012-12-10 07:03:16 AM  
Um...Idaho. Anyone else catch that?
 
2012-12-10 07:08:26 AM  

SkunkWerks: Fast Moon: Maybe it has to do with the gender stereotyping illustrated in this article? "We think girls are bad at math, so let's just not teach it to them and let them bake cookies instead."

And it's not just schooling.

Again, for an interesting example of this, read up on the Monty Hall Problem.

Basically put: Male Mathematicians vs. female Guinness Book's Highest IQ Score entry.

Sex discrimination in Academics hardly ends at graduation.


The "two boys" and Monty Hall problems almost annually appear in some format in the American Mathematics Competitions (AHSME when I was in high school), and the answer they use on it is 1/3.
 
2012-12-10 07:09:31 AM  

BiffSpiffy: Just a quick question (I think).

Why is everyone posting about Alabama? The article is from the Newspaper in Alabama, but I think they have pulled one over on FARK folks.

In the first sentence it states "Birmingham's Huffman Middle School and another district in Idaho"

I'm not sure, and I could be wrong, but this is all about Idaho, not Alabama. In the actual article it talks about Birmingham. Maybe they are speaking about Birmingham, England.


=====

Well they both have a lot in common.

/potato
 
2012-12-10 07:10:47 AM  
Sweet hormone, Alabama.
 
2012-12-10 07:16:03 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Not only the math thing - the boys also get daily exercise while the girls are kept quiet. How the fark does anyone get the idea that girls don't need exercise?!

I mean, that's stupid even for Alabama.


as I have told many others... Alabama law requires all residents to take a "clear thinking" pill each day which is in fact a stupid pill. I found evidence of this when I used to dispatch for Roto Rooter and one of the districts I took care of was Birmingham. The customers were as stupid as a box of rocks, and the Technicians were no better. Basic english and math is a problem for them. If they read what I am typing here, they quite literally would not understand it. It's sad and tragic really.
 
2012-12-10 07:16:17 AM  
Women who vote Republican:

This is the world the Republicans want for you and your daughters.
 
2012-12-10 07:16:30 AM  

KawaiiNot: Um...Idaho. Anyone else catch that?


If you're waiting for a "counting to potato" image meme, doing a google image search isn't all that difficult, you know.
 
2012-12-10 07:17:14 AM  
I take back my previous statement about the box of rocks... I don't want to insult them (the rocks).
 
2012-12-10 07:19:55 AM  
I couldn't get the help I needed in Math even though I asked for it. They told me that math is hard and because I'm a girl I'd be better off focusing on reading anyway. I could read just fine and would have preferred the help learning percentages. Why yes, I did grow up in the south. Though, to be fair, my problem with math goes way beyond what tutoring can fix, it borders on illiteracy.
 
2012-12-10 07:29:33 AM  
Hopefully they teach the girls to quit whining and put on a good damn coat.

/This thread needs more pictures of hot woman in the math and sciences.
 
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