Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by playitagainfred, Nov 19, 2015.
A kindergarten teacher in Bainbridge Island, Washington decided to attack what she sees as gender inequity by preventing her boy students from playing with the Legos in her classroom. Only girls were allowed to play with them.
Karen Keller, who teaches at Blakely Elementary School, has been trying to get girls more interested in science and math and noticed that during the 30-minute “free-choice” time at the end of the school day, the boys frequently played with Legos. The girls did not. Keller decided to bar the boys from the building materials so girls would not be intimidated to play with them.
In an interview with the Bainbridge Island Review, Keller said, “I always tell the boys, ‘you’re going to have a turn- and I’m like, ‘yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head. I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”
Keller cites research showing the benefits of kids having open-ended “trial and error” play with building materials like Legos. She determined that without her intervention the girls would continue to miss out on developing important spatial and math skills. She even got help from the Bainbridge Schools Foundation.
The parent-led school support group gave Keller a grant to purchase several new sets of Legos for the school. The grant was titled, ‘Deconstructing Gender Play in the Kindergarten Classroom.’
When KIRO Radio host Dori Monson heard about Keller’s Lego lesson, he was incredulous. Monson asked his listeners, “Why do we have to tear down boys to elevate girls?” Monson, who is the father of three girls also said, “If girls want to play with dolls and boys want to play with Legos, why do we have adults in the public schools who feel like they have to make a social statement about gender equity?”
The Bainbridge Island School District released a response to the controversy saying the boy Lego ban was an “isolated, short term practice” that ended in October. District spokeswoman Galen Crawford wrote, “All students in all classrooms have and will continue to have access to all instructional and non-instructional materials. BISD is committed to providing equal opportunities for all persons. The district does not discriminate.”
In the same news release, the district issued a lengthy statement from the teacher, Karen Keller. It read in part, “I proposed allowing girls to have an unencumbered opportunity to become more comfortable working with Legos in an attempt to support girls with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I treat all of my students with equal respect and kindness. Every student in my class has access to all curricular materials, including Legos.”
In Karen Keller’s kindergarten classroom, boys can’t play with Legos.
They can have their pick of Tinkertoys and marble tracks, but the colorful bricks are “girls only.”
“I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” she said. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”
Although her approach might anger some parents, Keller is sticking to her guns: It’s all part of a plan to get girls building during “free choice,” the 40 minutes of unstructured play time embedded at the end of every school day.
Injustice or ingeniousness?
For years, Keller, who has taught at Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary since 2008, watched with discouragement as self-segregation defined her classroom — her boy students flocked to the building blocks while her girl students played with dolls and crayons and staples, toys that offered them little challenge or opportunity to fail and develop perseverance.
She did her research and concluded that something had to give; her girl students were indeed missing out.
Play linked to spatial skills
Lego play, Keller found, has been widely attributed to accelerating development and helping children fine-tune spatial and math skills, two of the largest areas of cognitive disparity between men and women.
Further, female STEM role models are few and far between, and part of the reason for their underrepresentation, Keller believes, are the gender stereotypes women are socialized into from an early age.
She faults toymakers for reinforcing those roles — “the stuff LEGO is marketing for girls is just so limiting;” ‘girl’ sets replete with themes such as baking, cooking, care-giving, homemaking, decorating and hair styling — but she also faults teachers for not taking action.
“I just feel like we are still so far behind in promoting gender equity,” Keller explained.
Which is what led Keller to her classroom experiment.
If girls were given the opportunity, would they develop different play preferences? She thought so, and she could cite a study or two to back the claim up.
Guiding “free choice”
At first, Keller tried enticing her girl students with pink and purple Legos.
“But it wasn’t enough,” she said. The girls weren’t interested and the boys just expanded their palettes.
So this past fall, when Bainbridge Schools Foundation announced its Classroom Enrichment Grants, Keller saw her chance to affect change.
She asked for funding to purchase LEGO Education Community Starter Kits for three Blakely classrooms, writing that “while it’s not necessary to board up the playhouse and adopt the babies out, concrete steps can be taken to ameliorate the gender gap in the kindergarten and present engaging ways to develop girls’ spatial skills.”
What she didn’t tell BSF, however, was that the boys wouldn’t get to play with the new 1,907-piece sets.
“I had to do the ‘girls only Lego club’ to boost it more,” she explained. “Boys get ongoing practice and girls are shut out of those activities, which just kills me. Until girls get it into their system that building is cool, building is ‘what I want to do’ — I want to protect that.”
It’s a fair practice
In Keller’s mind, it’s a fair practice “because fair is getting what you need to succeed or to get better.” Fair doesn’t have to be the same, and she says her kindergarteners get that.
At least for now.
While Keller sees more girls in the building area than before, it’s still not the norm, she said.
So the boys will just have to wait their turn.
Legos are so erotic, they give boys bad ideas..
I used to make airplanes out of my Mom's clothespins.
Yes, what a utopia we'll be living in when there is no longer gender and we're all one sexless creature that can do anything from garbage collecting to flower arraigning
Huh. I call bs on this. Not sure where the lie is - that she's actually doing it, or not being adequately called on it. But I've been in many classrooms working with 2 yr olds to 5th graders. And I know A LOT about classroom enrichment grants, and this shit simply doesn't happen.
Edit: or if it does, it's stopped ASAP. Education foundations don't like to give grants that only benefit a tiny portion of a school population. But it happens occasionally and the teacher recipient does have a measure of autonomy with how its used/implemented. But the second parents start to complain, the principal and admin of the district swoop down and put things back in order.
social engineers should be beaten daily just for laughs.
Sounds like discrimination if true.
No child left behind. Thanks Bush! It's working out oh so well.
meaning what, genius?
They fabricated her own words?
Calm down skippy. Read Jayla's post above.
Clothes pins ? You old Fucker..... I don't know what those are.
Man, I loved Legos ....
The liberals want women to act like men and men to act like women, as if to prove the there is ZERO correlation between your biology and your gender.
Liberal cunts. I hope they pool together all trannies, muslims, and blacks in one city along with the hippies and we get to watch the destruction. Ill provide the popcorn.
I bet you do! You probably know about the ones without springs!!
Maybe Legos make boys more likely to be rapists, killers and thieves since 90% of those in prison are filled with men. Correlation equals causation, right?
What is their goal? That we all become one gender? Why is it so hard for people to understand there are more than physical differences between men and women.