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Blakely teacher restricts Lego-play to her girl students in the pursuit of gender equity

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posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 03:36 PM
What?! Why?!

“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.

1. So much for the play time being "free choice" if some of the kids can't make free choices.

2. How are the kids going to learn to trust adults in charge if one of their first teachers blatantly lies to them because contrary to what she might think, Kindergarten kids aren't that dumb. The boys will figure out that they're being treated unfairly and lied to.

3. If some of the kids can't play in certain ways, then then play time is not only not "free choice" but it's also not "unstructured."

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.

So instead of finding out if the girls were self-segregating because they preferred to play with the other toys or finding out if the boys were actively preventing the girls from playing with them, she just decides to "gift" the girls with the toys she deems best and deny boys those toys. I guess she must assume every girl has inappropriate toys at home and every boy has LEGOs. Who's being the sexist one now?

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.

Gee, I guess I was right. But she must be careful to avoid blaming the parents too. After all, we're the ones she gets the poor, crippled dears from and we're the ones they see their gender roles from. So, she also blames mommy and daddy, although in today's world ... couldn't that also be just mommy or daddy or even mommy and mommy or daddy and daddy?

But wait ... there's more ...

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.”

Basically, she tried using the girl LEGO sets, but the girls weren't into them and the boys just played with them in addition to the rest.

So she wrote a grant to get expanded educational LEGO sets. But she just didn't tell them that she wasn't going to let boys play with them AT ALL. So, she not only lies to her students; she lies to get grant funding. How nice! What a wonderful lady.

Then she proceeds to indoctrinate the little girls to force them to believe that "no, you don't really like those other toys ... you like building with LEGOs ..." One wonders if she smashes little baby dolls the little try to make out of the LEGOs?

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, she calls this "fair." Only a social justice warrior would call this fair. It is a classic case of attempting to advantage those your perceive as victims at the expense of those you see as having taken advantage. In this case the girls are uplifted at the expense of the boys with no thought to other, obvious social lessons she is inadvertently teaching.

And I wonder how she would recognize the norm when she sees it?

edit on 20-11-2015 by ketsuko because: Whoops! Looks better with the linkie doesn't it?

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 03:40 PM
Can't wait for people to defend this...

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 03:46 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

I am dumbfounded in how in each case of supposed or actual inequality, the "fix" is solely a reversal of roles, with a cavalier "they deserve it" attitude.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 03:50 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

Oops, found it

My question, why does she not let boys play with legos as a requirement for girls to play with legos? (it is not mutually exclusive)

Does the idiot not understand that she can get legos for all? A boys and girls box?

Why would you lie to the boys and think it is funny? Then ban them from using these toys entirely when that is not required to get the girls their own (other than being a lying, vindictive, penis hating asshat with a social justice cause?)

Intentional Punitive Behavior to "specific" children because they have a penis... that is pretty much the moral of this story.

How are parents not getting this fool removed?

edit on 20-11-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 03:54 PM

originally posted by: BlueJacket
a reply to: ketsuko

I am dumbfounded in how in each case of supposed or actual inequality, the "fix" is solely a reversal of roles, with a cavalier "they deserve it" attitude.

So true! You dont get equality like this, like some kind of Robin Hood of toys.

The "Yeah right" admission gives a glimpse of her true colors.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 03:58 PM
a reply to: infolurker

The only possible idea I could see is that she was going on the premise that the boys were preventing the girls from playing with them, but at that age, little kids will pretty much play with each other. The cooties idea hasn't really settled in yet.

I know he's pre-K this year, but there's a nice picture the teacher sent of all the little kids in his class playing together and he's driving the truck while she has the doll house dolls loaded up in the back of it. Clearly no issues there.

So, I can't imagine the boys are really preventing the girls from playing with the LEGOs is the girls really wanted to play with them.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:03 PM
Mayb those boys will grow up regarding lego as a "Sissiy's" toy and not worthy of their attention.

When they have kids, they will categorise lego along with dolls and toy ironing boards.

Some people, no matter how "educated" they may be, are truly stupid.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:12 PM
My kid went to this school. Fortunately she didn't get this person for a teacher. She has never liked legos.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:15 PM
Complete BS on this teachers nothing wrong with girly girls and nothing wrong with builder boys. There are definitely preferences that either sex gravitates toward and that goes for a whole lot more then Lego and barbies.

I just don't get why she would take it away from the boys. More power to girls who with Lego but why punish the boys for it.

As a young boy Lego was one of my favorite pass times. I have several 5 gallon buckets of stored at my parents place. I can wait to have kids so I can bust it all out and help them build with it. Lego is such s great imaginative and cognitive toy its limits are endless. For example I remember how I could build strong walls by staggering the blocks in the wall and interlinking the corners, Lego taught me structural integrity with out me even knowing it.

a reply to: ketsuko

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:16 PM
You're a girl, you get to play with Legos.
You're a boy, you don't get to play with Legos.

Gender equality!

I guess the hypocrisy is lost on this teacher. Further, I didn't know it was her job as their teacher to dictate what interests the children. It's a shame her career hasn't been met with the same fate as the boys and the Legos... taken away from.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:17 PM
I read about this when the article went viral. Come to find out the OP's source took statements out of context and the school did respond.

Following the release of a recent news article, the Bainbridge Island School District (BISD) has received inquiries that reflect inaccurate perceptions about student access to Legos in Karen Keller’s kindergarten classroom at Blakely Elementary School.
In keeping with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education grant, Ms. Keller gave girls a designated time to play with the building toys during a 30-minute 'free-choice' time block in September 2015. This isolated, short-term practice ended in October. All students in all classrooms have and will continue to have access to all instructional and noninstructional materials.


Also, people's ignorant, knee-jerk reactions caused the teacher to experience nasty emails, phone calls and FB posts. Apparently the teacher quit because of this.

This appears to be more of a case of bad journalism, not teachers forcing an agenda.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:17 PM
Oh my gosh! She could of just asked the young student's why the girls didn't play with the Lego's and if they wanted to. I clearly remember kindergarten from over thirty years ago and kids need communication, not lies.
She could of set it up so that all toys were available to both genders and opened their young minds to sharing things as well as concepts and ideas. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:22 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

This is ridiculous....if girls WANT to play with Lego, fine....don't freaking force them to. Sheesh. If a child excels in art, you don't shove mathematics at them until they choke on it. I understand being well rounded but this is playtime for cripes sake.

Granted I was a Lego girl as a kid, along with Hot Wheels and GI Joe and all that...but I also played tea party and Barbies with my girl friends when I visited them at their homes. Forcing girls to play with something they're not already inclined towards is stupid, especially if the boys are being left out of the playtime.

What a maroon.
The world needs Mommies too.

This just seems misguided as all get out to me.


EDIT - Just read Introverts update....glad to hear the Administration has their act together.

edit on 11/20/15 by GENERAL EYES because: edit for update

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:32 PM
a reply to: ketsuko
The very first sign that she's a bad teacher is "I'm like...", followed by the thought she was having.
Only undereducated illiterates think they can resemble a statement.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:36 PM
a reply to: introvert

well then, i am glad she quit. By her own admission she segregated the play areas for Lego.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:39 PM
So we got a wannabe BF Skinner.

Aww, she lost, guess she'll have to try again next time.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:42 PM

originally posted by: AmericanRealist
a reply to: introvert

well then, i am glad she quit. By her own admission she segregated the play areas for Lego.

You don't know that. The outlet that released this piece is also under fire because the interview was not published in it's entire context.

That's the issue that we should be addressing. What is the context in which she said these things and what else did she say?

We don't know that so it would be illogical to come to any conclusion until that context is understood.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:46 PM
In the comments, a post from a parent who has a boy in the class.

As always, we don't know all the facts. This opinion piece seems to be slanted.

The comment from the parent says the boys can play with the Legos.

Shannon Pringle
I have a boy currently in Ms. Keller's class and we love her! If you don't have a kid in her class, you don't know what you're talking about and have no right to denounce her! Even if the boys couldn't play with the legos (which they can, by the way) who cares? There are a million other toys to play with!

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:56 PM

See? For me, this is one of the things that makes LEGOs more girl-friendly. Just include girls mini-figs in the sets or at least give girls the option to give them girl hair, so they look like girl mini-figs.

posted on Nov, 20 2015 @ 04:59 PM
a reply to: GENERAL EYES

I spent quite a bit of time with my Barbies, but they were always secret agents. James Bond taught me that the best secret agents always dressed well, and that concept synched up nice with the way Barbies are presented.

So I could play all "girly," but shoot lots of bad guys and save the world too. And the very best part was that Barbie and my best friend's brother's GI Joes were suddenly pretty compatible when it came to play.

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