On Malala's 19th Birthday

July 12, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Today is the 19th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, and we join millions and millions of people in wishing her a happy birthday and many happy returns. To celebrate her 16th birthday, Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, designated July 12 “Malala Day” and she addressed that assembly with a now-iconic speech, asserting it was not her day but rather the "day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised a voice for their rights." (Malala, quoted in Bai).

Filed Under: All-Girls, gender equity, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, Malala Yousafzai, Malala Day, Unicef, World Bank Group

Game Changer

November 23, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Look at you now you're a game changer / Stronger than the truth and 10 times braver / Like an arrow shooting through a poison heart you know what you are / You're a game changer.

lyrics from “Game Changer” by Nini Camps, Kristen Henderson, and Lori McKenna

The other day, my friend Nancy Flanagan (a retired band teacher from Michigan) posted an image suggesting, given that one of the targets deliberately chosen by ISIS in Paris was the Bataclan, that we choose to defeat terrorism by attending a live music show over the weekend. As it happens, I already had plans to attend a concert Friday night, the one-week anniversary of the Paris attacks, and I shared that with her and resolved to share pictures from the show that night over social media.

Filed Under: All-Girls, Girls Schools, Rock Band, Education

Fangirling with the Experts

October 30, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In her recent presentation at Smith College on women, feminism, and rock, Jessica Hopper described how, when Green Day first hit it big, for some reason, boys who were fans often felt it necessary to quiz girls who were fans to see if they were legit. Meg Reilly, our vocal music teacher who is also a working rock musician, and I were talking at dinner the next evening, and she laughed as she recalled that exact experience growing up. I certainly remember the same dynamic from my own high school days years earlier.

Filed Under: music, student voice, All-Girls, Girls Schools, Feminism, Education

Not Finished Yet

March 11, 2015 by Bill Ivey

I was deeply saddened by the news that Sweet Briar College would be closing. My connections to the college are actually tenuous at best, but, being a strong believer in girls’ and women’s education, I can’t help but wish they had been able to find a way through their financial difficulties.

Filed Under: All-Girls, On Education, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Women's Colleges, Sweet Briar

Ending Well, part 2

November 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

On the last of classes in the middle school, I made the following post to Facebook:

Filed Under: Teaching, All-Girls, On Education, Beautifully different, Girls Schools, community, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

Why I Came, Why I Stay

November 13, 2014 by Bill Ivey

The other day at Open House, one of the attendees, a public school teacher, asked each of us present on a faculty panel to talk about how we ended up at Stoneleigh-Burnham, and why we stay. Our stories were as individual as we are. My own begins the summer I was getting married…

It was the summer of 2004, and my fiancée and I had just graduated from the M.A.T. program in the French and Italian Department of the University of Massachusetts. Each of us had completed all the requirements for Massachusetts State certification except for the French proficiency exam. My fiancée called up to find out details, and was told that there was a non-refundable fee of $75 and it would be given on one of three possible Saturdays in August, one of which was to be our wedding day. The exact date, she was told, would not be given out until no more than three weeks ahead of time, “for security reasons.” We were about to spend a year living in France anyway, so we elected not to register for the exam. That meant, when it came time to apply for teaching positions, we had no choice but to apply at independent schools. And that’s how I ended up at Stoneleigh-Burnham.

Filed Under: Teaching, gender, All-Girls, On Education, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, The Faculty Perspective, girls' school, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

Making Feminism Cool

October 01, 2014 by Bill Ivey

“Bra-burning. Man-hating. Angry and unattractive. Such stereotypes have shadowed the women’s movement over the past few decades — and a slew of young, fashionable celebs are working to clarify feminism’s true definition.” (Fairchild) Setting aside for another day the question of why such a stereotype may have come to life and remained, in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, so persistent, Caroline Fairchild raises a good question in her article “Will young celebrities make feminism ‘cool’?” Besides noting Emma Watson’s epic speech at the UN launching the “He for She” campaign, Ms. Fairchild mentions Taylor Swift’s recent realization that she has been a feminist all along and Beyoncé’s performance at the VMAs backed by the word “feminist” in huge block letters.

Feminism, many analysts note, has been waging an uphill battle for years to define itself as being in general far more inclusive than it is typically portrayed. I’ve certainly seen many students over my three decades here echo Ms. Swift’s sentiment when she said, “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means.” (Swift, quoted in Thomas)

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, gender equity, community, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, Women in media, racism

Sick Day

September 29, 2014 by Bill Ivey

(written Tuesday, September 23, 2014)

Filed Under: Teaching, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, The Girls School Advantage, social justice, gender equity, Girls Schools, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, girls' school, Education

Why I Support the ACLU's Suit Against Single-Sex Schools

July 18, 2014 by Bill Ivey

You know I love this school and deeply believe in what we are doing. So when I saw an article in Slate entitled “‘Busy Boys, Little Ladies’: This Is What Single-Sex Education Is Really Like,” my blood boiled. I really have completely and totally had it with the continually regenerated perspective that single-gender education (a term I prefer to “single-sex education” as it focuses on the social construct of gender rather than the biological concept of sex) only serves to perpetuate stereotypes and a feeling of inferiority and how research is often misapplied and misinterpreted to back up that point of view. Yet, for some reason, I read the article. As I predicted, I became even more appalled as I read. But not for the reasons I expected.

In the article, Amanda Marcotte describe some practices cited by the ACLU in their suit against the Hillsborough County school district in Florida and also discovered in reporting by Dana Liebelson in Mother Jones. Boys (i.e. not girls) are encouraged to exercise before class. As a reward for doing well, boys are allowed to play with electronics while girls are given perfume. Teachers of boys are encouraged to engage them in higher level debate and discourse while teachers of girls are encouraged to connect with them - as if kids of all genders wouldn’t profit from both practices.

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, On Education, social justice, gender equity, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, girls' school, Education

The more things change...

May 22, 2014 by Bill Ivey

The other day, I was walking through downtown Amherst and picked up a book of feminist writing I thought might be thought-provoking. I opened to a random page, and read about a steadily increasing gender wage gap. I opened to another random page, and read about those moments when women have had to deal with the assumption that they will have children and how this must inevitably affect their career. I opened to a third random page, and read an account about what it feels like to be sitting at a conference - yet again - listening to the people in a position of privilege and power talking about working for equity.

Filed Under: wage gap, gender, women's movement, All-Girls, LGBT Support, gender stereotypes, anti-racism, social justice, gender equity, diversity, Feminism, jill abramson