Absent Without Leave: Fathers and the Education of Their Sons

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), March 06, 2018
What if fathers in homeschooling families agreed to accept all of the responsibility associated with educating their children starting in the sixth grade? Would their wives resist?
This would mean that the fathers would have to teach chemistry, calculus, physics, business, personal finance, and everything associated with earning a living in a technological world.
Are most fathers prepared to do this? No. They are not academically prepared. Until the advent of the Khan Academy, fathers also were not prepared in terms of the time that it would require for them to do this and also earn a living.
This has been the #1 social problem of Western civilization since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which was approximately in 1800. Fathers began to go into factories, where they would spend 12 hours a day, not counting the time it took them to get to and from work. At that point, throughout the West, there was a new principle of education. Throughout the history of mankind, fathers had taught their sons how to earn a living, and mothers had taught their daughters how to run a household. But in English-speaking North America and the British Isles, this tradition was abandoned, family by family. Industrialization led to an historic increase of per capita wealth. It changed all of society. But the price of this transformation was that husbands abandoned the training of their sons to women.
In the second half of the 19th century in the United States, the public school system began to take children out of homes. They turned these children over to unmarried young women who had minimal educations. These young women taught in what we like to think of as the little red schoolhouse. They taught everything from first grade through high school.
Not that many young men went to high school. They went back to their families’ farms, where the rural fathers finally regained some control over their education. Others went into factories. But after World War I, that tradition also ended. Compulsory education laws forced children to stay in high school, where there were sometimes male teachers. There were no male teachers before high school.
In Western civilization since at least World War I, education has been based on females’ control over the education of boys prior to high school. In high school, there have been male and female teachers, with males dominating the natural sciences. Higher education has always been dominated by males, especially in the natural sciences. The forced hiring of women — the EEOC’s quota system — has led to the political correctness of the modern university, with safe spaces and all the rest of it. Higher education is being increasingly feminized. The educational system from kindergarten through graduate school will soon be in the hands of women and men who act on behalf of women. The main exceptions will be physics, chemistry, engineering, and the rigorous natural sciences.
Here is the economic bottom line: for classroom-based education, women are cheaper than men to hire, and therefore price competition will always favor women in the classrooms.
The reconstruction of Western society has to begin with the willingness of fathers to reclaim control over the education of their sons. Anything less than this will simply accelerate the feminization of the West.
Internet-based education is the one area in which men can reclaim their lost authority over the education of their sons. That is because price competition is so fierce that it drives down the cost of education to such an extent that men can regain control over their sons’ education by assigning courses at the high school level and even the middle school level as digital courses produced by men.
The question is this: will the male heads of households insist that they are responsible before God and other men for the education of their sons, and therefore make the decisions regarding what is taught to their sons and by whom? If they have access to online curriculum materials that are taught by men above grade 6, they can safely defer the education of their sons to male-based curriculum programs. But to do this, they have to reassert their authority in their households. They have to insist that they are in charge, and their wives are not in charge.
That is the problem. They are not in charge. They have deferred responsibility to their wives over education of their sons, as their fathers did, and their grandfathers did, and their great-grandfathers did. The only exceptions to this are the two Tyler brothers, whose grandfather was John Tyler, who was born in 1790. Their father was the president of William and Mary College. But with the exception of these two men, the legacy of education in the United States has been one of feminization.
We hear a lot about a subculture of men who are reasserting their authority. I regard this as posturing. We will not see men reasserting authority until they reassert control over the education of their sons. Spare me the burning pyre celebrations every year in the desert. I want to see homeschooling that has mostly masculine instructors above the sixth grade. In the long run, it would be better to have male instructors from kindergarten through high school, but that will be a task for a future generation.
I have no objection to women teaching girls. They have taught their daughters from the beginning of time. But the moment we say that there is equality of educational opportunity, men should take over the educational system for the sake of the sons, and the daughters will be allowed to tag along. If there were completely feminine-based curriculum materials online, and these were assigned by fathers to their daughters, that would be fine with me. I am opposed to the idea of equality in education generally, because I think the genders are different. But to the extent that we want to train our daughters to serve as men in business, government, and even the military, then we have to accept the fact that the daughters ought to be trained by men or highly successful women.
My problem as the marketer for the Ron Paul Curriculum is that mothers make the curriculum decisions, not fathers. I think they would be willing to surrender control over the education of their sons if their husbands demanded it and took over. But the husbands don’t demand it. They are absent without leave. Mothers have been forced for the last two centuries to intervene in the formal education of their sons. That was why the public schools gained such tremendous support after 1840. Mothers found a way to remove this obligation from their lives, and their husbands voted for politicians who recommended the creation of tax-funded educational programs. After women got the vote, men and women voted for the modern public school system.

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