A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Is A Teacher's Sex Important ?

Thomas Dee is an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College, and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He is also the author of one of the silliest reports released by an academic recently. Dee is telling the world the earth-shattering news that boys learn better when taught by a man, and girls learn better when taught by a woman.

What does he expect the world to do with this information? Are we supposed to seperate the boys and girls and send them to different schools? This is just a silly idea. Anyone could have figured out that we learn better from someone like ourselves. This is not news. I'm sure you could probably come up with a report that tells us that we learn better from a person of our own race, or our own sexual preference, or our own social class. But that would also be silly and useless information.

Our Supreme Court has already told us that "seperate is inherently unequal". In other words, the very fact that you seperate people into groups because of something they could not control, creates an unequal situation. The court was right. This is not the kind of thing a free country should endorse.

I can't imagine trying to tell my father that I would learn better if I had all male teachers. He would have probably punished me for being stupid. He knew that education is a personal thing, and does not depend very much on who the teacher is, as long as the teacher is qualified. The only way to become truly educated is to become serious about educating yourself. Teachers are only guides to help you navigate the world of knowledge. A teacher's sex, race, ethnicity, sexual preference or age is of no importance.

You can be taught by any teacher if you want to learn, but no teacher can force you to learn. Whining about the teacher is just another way to say you don't really want to learn. We must instill a desire to learn in our students, and stop giving them excuses for failure.

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