Puberty (i.e. sexual maturity) "happens between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys." (1)
Boys also lag behind girls in the development of attention, language, and fine-motor skills. Bloomberg writes, "Boys typically develop fine-motor skills up to six years later than girls. And in the early years, boys tend to be unfairly compared with girls on that score." (2)
School is a feminine space. The National Education Association reports that men comprise 10% of elementary and 25% of middle school teachers nationwide. This number has steadily decreased since the 1970s, and is worth reflecting on before blindly dropping your boy off at public school.
Classrooms are lead by women and are designed to reward skills that girls develop at a much earlier age than boys. So is it any wonder that many boys get frustrated and start to underperform? I don't mean to propagate a victim-mentality here, but the numbers speak for themselves: women outperform men at every level of the education system. Not to mention:
"By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD. Millions of those boys will be prescribed a powerful stimulant to 'normalize' them. A great many of those boys will suffer serious side effects from those drugs." (3)
This is outrageous. They are drugging us, Brave New World style. There is no way in hell 1/5th of the entire male population has this one mental disorder (and at 3 times the rate of women.) Sorry to sound alarmist, but I've been through the whole system, and they are simply drugging boys who can't sit still (behavioral psychologists wrote this was coming in the late 60s.)
We have scores of educational researchers of both genders saying that boys are falling behind in school. And the numbers show it: female undergraduates now outnumber male undergrads by 2 million people (56% to 44% respectively.) Where do those extra men go? Well, 93% of the nation's 2.2 million inmates are men...but I digress.
History of Public Education
OK, so your average young guy isn't going to wind up in jail, but given the above factors (developmental delay, nearly all female teachers, mass drugging, which leads to frustration and underperformance), even 'well-adjusted' young men will have a certain amount of psychic tension bubbling beneath the surface.
This tension would probably be there any ways, even without gender disparities in the classroom. People need to understand that the current system was developed in the early 20th century to train industrial workers as farming families moved to urban centers en masse. The system is not designed for your personal enlightenment or intellectual enrichment. This fact is extensively documented if you do some research.
You probably learned about Horace Mann (1785-1859) in history class; he was head of the Massachusetts State Board of Education and a Congressman who, more than any one else, was responsible for bringing universal public education to the United States. This development is often cited as a great advance in liberty and equality, but let's check the history. Wikipedia tells us:
American educators were fascinated by Prussian education trends...In 1843, Horace Mann traveled to Germany to investigate how the educational process worked. Upon his return to the United States, he lobbied heavily to have the ‘Prussian model’ adopted. Mann’s proposal became popular in the Whig Party, and in 1852 Governor Edward Everett of Massachusetts instituted a mandatory education bill based on the Prussian system. New York State quickly followed suit, and the system spread around the country. (4)
Wait, so the great equalizing force of public education, seemingly as American as apple pie, is actually Prussian? That seems odd, since students of history know that Prussia was a Spartan-like war machine bent on conquest. So what, exactly, were Prussians taught, and why was the American government so eager to emulate their system?
Famed educational theorist Thomas Alexander wrote in 1919:
The Prussian is to a large measure enslaved through the medium of his school…his learning instead of making him his own master forges the chain by which he is held in servitude…the whole scheme of Prussian elementary education is shaped with the express purpose of making ninety five out of every hundred citizens subservient to the ruling house and to the state. (5)
It all becomes glaringly obvious once you start to catch on. Is school mainly about learning - about becoming a truly educated and critical thinking person? No, of course not. American schools are also where you play sports, meet girls, join after-school clubs, and first learn about social hierarchy. Good grades can get you into college, but so can athletics and money/connections. "High School" is basically a centralized youth center, overseen by the government, that ranks and sorts kids.
This might be necessary, and there's no conspiracy here. But you should know that this is a reality of living in a modern, technological superpower. The masses must be mobilized, people can't just learn whatever they want when they want (that's inefficient.)
Students subconsciously know they are in bondage. Thus, they must be divided and turned against each other at every turn. Cliques and strict hierarchies form, and drug use proliferates (all in a place associated with learning!) Legendary 3-time New York City teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto writes,
Slowly I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior.
He's right on. Age-segregation is totally arbitrary. In 6th grade I was an average, perhaps even slightly below average math/science student, but I read college-level books on History. During our Revolutionary War segment, (much to my embarrassment) my teacher would often ask me to confirm/clarify facts during her lessons. That class was a total waste of time for me, every single day.
The bells also prevent learning, and are reminiscent of Pavlov's techniques to condition dogs. It's been proven that you can't actually learn if you are constantly interrupted 40 minutes into your work. I see this at my office - our meetings our all staggered throughout Monday, and even though they are relatively quick, people often say they can't get any real work done until Tuesday. In general, though, I find working in an office much easier than at school, since the rest of the week you can sit down and focus all day, instead of being shuffled around like cattle.
The aforementioned gender imbalance in education combined with the pressure of industrial (some say "Postmodern," whatever) society embed a desire to rebel in the youth. "Rebellion" and the "teenage years" are now inextricably linked, but it's important to understand that this isn't a constant throughout history. The teenage years (i.e. artificially extended childhood) are really a modern creation. Historically in this country you would start apprenticing at a trade, or working on a farm, at a very young age. This gave young men a sense of purpose and connection with adults in their community (instead of seeing them as overlords to rebel against.) Guys, George Washington led the attack that started the French-Indian War when he was twenty-two years old (i.e. the prime frat-boy age.) There are many other examples, but basically men's development has been severely stunted.
Any ways, this urge to rebel needs to be channeled into something other than actually organizing and taking action. This is where popular culture/music steps in and acts as a pressure-release valve. Black kids say "fuck the system" while listening to Hip-Hop. White kids say "fuck the system" and listen to The Rolling Stones.
Most popular music promotes a lifestyle that is not only depraved, but also completely unattainable for 99% of listeners. It's another way to make you a passive spectator, thinking that you are rebelling while consuming a packaged product pushed by multinational corporations. Theodore Adorno writes,
"Something is provided for all so that none may escape... Everybody must behave (as if spontaneously) in accordance with his previously determined and indexed level, and choose the category of mass product turned out for his type. Consumers appear as statistics on research organisation charts, and are divided by income groups into red, green, and blue areas; the technique is that used for any type of propaganda." (6)
I am not trying to be a grumpy Puritan wagging my finger at pop music. But just understand that there is nothing rebellious about taking drugs and watching other people perform. This actually strengthens the system.
Filled with impressionable youth, funded by wealthy interests and tax-exempt foundations, and staffed by left-leaning intellectuals, the modern college is an interesting project in social engineering.
The function and purpose of the American university has shifted so substantially in the past 50-60 years it's hard to even know where to begin. I don't have time to get into its whole history, but were currently seeing an odd fusion of the lingering Hippie-era mythos (i.e. college is the 'best time of your life' because you can escape from your parents and party) merged with the realities of a less prosperous era (high levels of income inequality, 70% of students graduate in debt, more competitive job market, etc.) Globalist themes (my college called us "Global students"), social justice warriors, and a mental health crisis also underlay the modern college landscape.
A word about partying: it's OK in moderation, but young men would be advised to drop the mythology surrounding it. You will not become a rock star, you are not a rebel, and you are being fleeced and indebted. This mythos only became mainstream last generation, and represents a totally illusory path towards freedom.
This system is not well suited for your average guy. It's simply not going to teach you the skills you need to thrive. However, don't fall for illusory rebellious outlets like drugs and social justice crusades. Become self-sufficient, educate yourself, and if necessary reevaluate your values. You may find your 85 year old grandpa is actually right about a lot of things.
More on my blog
(5) The Prussian Elementary Schools by Thomas Alexander