“Boy Crisis” Overstated

Well, whaddaya know:

A study to be released today looking at long-term trends in test scores and academic success argues that widespread reports of American boys being in crisis are greatly overstated.

In fact, young males in school are in many ways doing better than ever, the Washington-based think tank Education Sector said.

Using data compiled from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the think tank found that over the past three decades boys' test scores are mostly up, more of them are going to college and more are getting bachelor's degrees.

Although low-income boys, like low-income girls, are lagging behind middle-class students, as a gender boys are scoring significant gains in elementary and middle school and are much better prepared for college, the report says. It concludes that much of the pessimism about young males seems to derive from inadequate research, sloppy analysis and discomfort with the fact that while the average boy is doing better, the average girl has gotten ahead of him.

"The real story is not bad news about boys doing worse," the report says, "it's good news about girls doing better."
Passed on by Toast. (You can read the Education Sector’s full report here. As an aside, I’m familiar with their work and most of their funders, and aside from a dedication to equal educational opportunities, they’re not an ideologically homogenous group.)

As I’ve said every time I’ve written about this mythological crisis, to perpetrate the erroneous notion that educational disparities are down to a strict gender divide helps neither boys nor girls—especially the ones who really are in crisis. This is primarily a class issue, which is something Americans don’t like to address. It’s so much more fun to make it about boys and girls (thus offering another opportunity to blame those dirty feminists) than about the Haves and the Have-Nots, but it’s also counterproductive, and will deepen even further the divides between rich and poor as long as we ignore where the real divides lie.

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