Did girl gains lead to boy crisis bloat?

A study released today, by the Washington-based think tank Education Sector, reports that over the past three decades, test scores and college enrollment rates for boys have mostly risen. Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews gives his summary and notes that the report

. . . concludes that much of the pessimism about young males seems to derive from inadequate research, sloppy analysis and discomfort with the fact that although the average boy is doing better, the average girl has gotten ahead of him. (Washington Post)

Education Sector contends that though evidence shows Hispanic and African American boys are in “real trouble” academically; these trends are determined more by race and class, than gender.

The report suggests that the “boy crisis” in education is summoned to support a variety of arguments against education policy and practice. Education Sector Senior Policy Analyst Sara Mead warns

. . . the current boy crisis hype and the debate around it are based more on hopes and fears than on evidence. This debate benefits neither boys nor girls, while distracting attention from more serious educational problems—such as large racial and economic achievement gaps—and practical ways to help both boys and girls succeed in school. (The Truth About Boys and Girls, Education Sector)

As you’d expect with this kind of issue, folks are already up and blogging on it:

And the September 2006 Educational Leadership will include a special section on gender differences–exploring teaching boys and girls without stereotyping.

So what’s your take on all this noise about boys?

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m not sure anything has really changed – rather, I think we are using real research techniques to finally and formally validate that boys and girls learn differently. Obviously that’s not new or news. But because we have made gains in girls’ education, we have discovered the need to take the ideas (not necessarily the specifics) of addressing gender issues in the classroom.
    In many of the recent articles and news items on the ‘boy crisis,’ the focus is on those young men in the urban, poverty-stricken sector and the schools that are succeeding in these areas are addressing the needs of ethnic and racially diverse groups in their teaching. Same thing this article says….

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