Saturday, October 28, 2006

No Bark

There will be no discussion about the fractal nature of bark. Jonathan is baiting me here, trying to get me to go off about the recursive nature of leaf growth, which was his 7th-grade science project. I no longer care. The one thing I do still carry around resentfully from that whole event is that his project finished fourth, mostly because the judges - including the school secretary - didn't understand his project. The girl who did a really nice vinegar and baking soda volcano finished ahead of him. It's one of my prime examples of how schools favor girls shamelessly.

Or maybe I have taken the bait after all, and that episode was what Jonathan was trying to draw me into, so I would say nice things about how brilliant he is, er, was.


Anonymous said...

Aw come on. It couldn't have been a gender thing. How could anyone beat a vinegar and baking soda volcano? An ammonium dichromate volcano of course!

bs king said...

Pardon me for saying so, but I don't believe that schools favor girls shamelessly. I believe they favor stereotypical female-type intelligence shamelessly. A subtle distinction, but I believe it's an important one.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

A fair criticism, Bethany. many detentions did you get in high school?

Dubbahdee said...

I'm not sure things have changed much since I was in 7th grade, but so called Science Fairs are a complete and utter crock of cowpies. They are never about challenging students to find answers to perplexing questions utilitizing actual 'SCIENTIFIC METHOD.' They are about making cutely illustrated reports on cutely selected topics which are easy to lift from the encyclopdedia (in modern parlance - that "wiki" thing). Hence the dramatic meeting of base and acid, which has NOTHING to do with an actual volcano, wins a prize. Cowpies. All of it.
As for the gender bias thing...I am personally biased against cute, whether it comes from girl-types or boy-types. The problem with BS KIng's reply is that most girls look like girls, and therefore are subject to the female stereotype by default. It's not that the girls are to blame. It's the system. It's all cowpies.
I'll stop now. thanks for reading.

Ben Wyman said...

AVI, you always talk about how it was an utter travesty it was that CCHS never sent Doug and I to Granite State Challenge (and, actually, never told us about the event. I just came in one day to discover pictures of our team losing being posted on the corkboard), and I do know what you mean, but at the same time I see the teachers' point. They picked two juniors who were intelligent, and competitive athletes, and very level-headed. It seemed perfectly logical to send them to be part of the team.

But the thing is, they sent a team of all straight-A, competitive, level-headed girls, along with one male to be the "creative guy." And everyone was very logical, and thought things out carefully, and probably gave a very good performance.

But honestly, Doug and I could've rocked that thing. What's more, they missed the best choice possible among girls by not selecting Emily Doane. I mean, if you're going to be selecting level-headed straight-A students, at least have the common sense to pick the one most likely to thrive in that situation. But they missed her because she was quieter and seemed possibly even too studious to do well, which shows how little they really knew how their students worked.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I once said to Dave Mac "I sent you two one-man teams, and you didn't use either of them."

bs king said...

Restraining my bitterness, I will say I got quite a few. None for talking though, which I would have deserved. Jonathan has me beat with the "for doing an extensive pantomime to a reading in class" and my brother has me beat for one for "rolling pencils". I just got ones for my neckline being more than three fingers from my clavicle.

However, how often were either of your boys told that they shouldn't go to a particular school because it was more important to go to one where you could find a good husband? And then have that same person tell their mother a similar thing? And refuse to send your transcripts because of it until you had to throw a fit two days before the deadline?

Anonymous said...

High school science fairs are a preview of life in the larger world: style wins over substance most every time. In that regard they're decent, but painful, object lessons. Gotta go, Dr. Phil's coming on.

bs king said...

I apologize...I allowed my bitterness to overwhelm my actual arguement. It is my opinion that to say education favors girls is allowing gender to become a red herring. I believe that education favors well behaved above average mediocrity above all else, in whatever gender they can find it. The guy who was put on the trivia team from my class for example, was also not even close to the best guy for the job. He was however, the one with the fewest discipline problems. I ultimately agree more with Ben that as far as Granite State Challenge went they had zero concern for who would actually be good at trivia. I only got to go because my dad was on the ball and requested that the team be formed. I really don't think I would have been picked otherwise.

Oh, and I forgot in the detention category, I did also get a letter sent home from a teacher saying I was not "submitting to his God-given authority" because I questioned one of his decisions. I know when I was being a whiny teenager. This was not one of those times. Even my mom still defends me on that one. And I got called in to the adminstrator's office for saying I wasn't so sure about the Bible curriculum. Have I proved my ability to get in to trouble yet????

Dubbahdee- Don't hate me because I'm cute. I can't help it. It's just a natural manifestation of my sparkling personality.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Your first point was the accurate one, Bethany. Stereotypical feminine behavior is what is rewarded, and when you offended against that, you went into the bad pile.

As to that particular type of bad guidance, you were certainly more likely to encounter that two-edged sword at Christian schools.

Girl-favoritism is predominantly a classroom phenomenon - hence the semesters that no boys in the whole high school made high honors, except for Doug and Ben. Awards ceremonies had a whole different set of rules which were far less dramatically gender biased. I believe that "Most Improved" always went to a boy who had stopped getting into fights that year, for example.

bs king said...

Are you saying my point that I'm cute isn't valid????

And the "most improved" phenomena is true. I think it's because most girls would be offended by it. We can't hurt any feelings here!

Erin said...

Ahh, Christian school politics. Trust me, it's hard to change them from the other side of the desk as well. The year I did Granite State Challenge, I was picked because I was one of a certain administrative assistant's favorite four students. And in that case the only boy was her son.

My favorite detention was given by my senior year English teacher. He's a great guy, but I had been lobbying for opting out for college or at least online courses so that I could get a jump start on my college major (since teaching yourself chemistry or calculus does not qualify you as prepared enough to take AP tests). Surprisingly, our administration did not go for it (note the sarcasm). So I was stuck in an English class taught by an American Government major who pronounced "genre" "geneer" the first day of school. I was not impressed. The detention surprisingly came not from that class but from a study hall monitored by the same teacher. When the above mentioned boy said something causing me to laugh, I promptly received a detention for talking during a silent study hall. The teacher then proceeded to spend the rest of the study hall talking with two bubbly, stereotypical female-type intelligence classmates!

Sure says a lot for the reputation of our dear alma mater. And unbubbly, nerdy girls never get a break!