A kindergarten teacher in Bainbridge Island, Wash., actively denies her male students the opportunity to play with Lego blocks in order to encourage her female students to play with them.
Karen Keller bars the boys in her class from playing with the colorful blocks, even going so far as to lie to them about their opportunity to play.
"I always tell the boys, 'You're going to have a turn' — and I'm like, 'Yeah, when hell freezes over' in my head," Keller told the Bainbridge Island Review. "I tell them, 'You'll have a turn' because I don't want them to feel bad."
Keller does this because she saw the boys in her class gravitating toward the blocks during their "free choice" play time while the girls flocked to dolls and crayons. Keller's solution was to deny the blocks to the boys, who wanted to play with them, in order to encourage the girls to play with them. The Review article offers no indications about how Keller gets the girls to play with something of which they have no interest.
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Keller had found research finding that Lego play accelerates development and helps with spatial and math skills. And since Keller believes that gender stereotypes are ingrained into girls at a young age, well, something had to be done.
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Overall, boys are ahead of girls in math (by an equivalent of about three months of schooling), about even with girls in science and a year behind girls in reading.
Part of the reason for this more recent disparity is that boys spend less time doing homework and reading books than girls. Another reason is teachers like Keller, who actively hold boys back in order to promote girls.
The OECD also found that teacher assessments favor girls, while anonymous tests allowed boys to do much better.
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As one of my Twitter followers said: "When you have an axe to grind with 5yr old boys, maybe you shouldn't teach kindergarten."
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Keller claimed she only instituted the "girls only" Lego play for the first month of school to get them interested in the toys. She also said her "hell freezing over" remark was "a casual, off-record aside meant to convey my frustration with the marketing to girls in our society." She said that it was "not appropriate" and "taken out of context." She insisted that every student in her class has access to Legos.The teacher should be sentenced to be Greenhorn for a year on the Capt. Keith Colburn's crab boat Wizard. The $1,000,000 fine the school district should pay would be used to offset his loss of income from her lack of productivity.
The school district called the Review article "inaccurate" and said the school does not discriminate on the basis of sex.