Another Nail In The Boy Falling Behind

In today’s Globe & Mail, columnist Margaret Wente writes about a new scourge on young boys in the education system. Even though Margaret doesn’t quite come right out and say it. She knows the numbers. Apparently there is a new interactive app in use in elementary schools today that allows the teacher to add or subtract points to each student’s “conduct” during the day. It is called ClassDojo. Some 35 million are in use by teachers, parents and students in North America. And it is apparently available to any teacher who wants it – without prior school board screening. Parents can even login and check out little Johnny’s progress during the day. Now, judging by the current trends, little Johnny is probably already behind the little girls in his class. Imagine how he must feel to see his name in the bad books on the whiteboard up front. Let alone have Mom and/or Dad check his progress and text him a helpful nudges at recess. In previous books I have read on the subject, this modern marvel would fall into the “shaming” category of raising boys. Conform or be embarrassed online in front of your friends, peers and family. When the entire nature of a young boy doesn’t fit into that pretty little package. Is this a modern version of the strap administered freely throughout the school day? Or simply an hour-by-hour, day-by-day report card to keep parents at bay? On the other hand, to many American families this might be just the type of competitive tool that they like to see integrated into their own personal child upbringing mission. Competition is in their DNA. For the boys sake, I share Margaret’s anger at this share the blame approach to child development. Has our education system given up when it comes to the sad story of boys falling behind in favour of classroom discipline? Or are parents so completely reliant on modern technological apps on their smartphone that they are missing the key components to the personal and educational development of a successful, happy boy. On both counts, I sure hope not. For their boys sake.