Nikki Suydam is a humanities teacher (surprise surprise) in Oregon who has just about had enough of everyone thinking that we can improve the quality of America’s teachers. I first came across Nikki’s piece because an 11th grade English teacher – a feminist – linked to it from the r/Education subreddit.
Again, this drives home my recurring point that, too often, the humanities are a feminist zoo.
Anyway, Nikki has written a piece for The Oregonian titled “The Mindless Misogyny of Education Reform” criticizing a columnist for wanting the world to have better teachers. Here’s how she starts out:
Education reform movements will always be with us. It is something that will never end, ever. Our culture and the learning tools available to us are always changing. That’s nothing too controversial. But here’s where she starts shoving her head where the sun doesn’t shine, starting with her very next sentence:
So just because they are 75% of teachers female any criticism of the teaching profession is misogyny? Gee, I suppose if men are 95% of the politicians that means that any criticism of politicians is misandry as well. I also suppose no invading army in history could ever be criticized if 95% of it were male – surely that would be misandry!
Get this: when men dominate a profession, it’s called male privilege. Any criticism against them is called social justice. But when women dominate a profession, any criticism against them is called the oppression of women.
But maybe I’m just not understanding Nikki Suydam’s position correctly. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here. Maybe if she elaborates a bit my befuddled male mind will grow with the enlightenment she has to offer. So here’s why she believes the teaching profession is being unfairly singled out:
Yes, because doctors – like teachers – spend 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week with the same patients, and during what are aptly termed their patients’ formative years. They have the power to shame and praise their patients in a large group setting, in front of their peers, day in and day out, for what they perceive is normal or deviant behavior. Doctors also clearly have the power to punish adults the same way teachers do with children.
Apples to oranges much?
Also, go up and ask a doctor how much he pays in insurance in case he gets sued for medical malpractice. Now go up and ask a teacher how much she pays in insurance in case she gets sued for educational malpractice.
Are you kidding me? It’s a widespread (and erroneous) belief that police can prevent crime simply for existing, when in reality the best that they can do 99% of the time (until they gain the power to teleport anywhere instantly) is investigate crimes that have recently occurred. And police are blamed – often correctly, in my view – for misconduct and excessive force.
Because like our education system our infrastructure ranks 14th among developed countries, right?
I have no doubt that this happens occasionally, but this is hardly proof of “misogyny.” The usual reason teachers do not comment is that teachers themselves – unlike the associations that represent them (which do comment) – don’t have time to be full-time advocates. Nikki herself even alludes to how elusive this alleged misogyny is, saying:
One has to wonder if this is because most of those experts are women.
If by “one has to wonder” you mean you assume, then yes.
We simply need more information than just “the majority of lower ed teachers are women” to credibly characterize any criticism of the teaching profession as misogyny, just as we would need more information than just “the majority of politicians are men” to credibly characterize any criticism of politicians as misandry. We need specific examples that demonstrate that these criticisms were motivated by notions of gender.
But Nikki doesn’t present any of this evidence. And she starts veering into some dangerous territory. Rather than fighting against misogyny that supposedly criticizes teachers because they are women, it seems Nikki’s real position is that teachers should be immune from criticism simply because they are women.