Is the Boy Crisis Real?

The “boy crisis” started like many other controversial topics that burst into the public zeitgeist. Authors, commentators, and educators start talking about the issue. The topic snowballs into a plethora of media attention. Suddenly, everyone is talking about how schools, long thought to be shortchanging girls, actually are shortchanging boys.

In the past year alone, there has been a cover story in Newsweek and articles in the New Republic and Esquire. The Today show ran a segment. A Massachusetts teen has filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, saying boys are discriminated against by his high school’s homework and community service requirements. Worries abound that boys are not attending and graduating from college. Numerous articles in local papers report on how more districts are experimenting with single-sex classrooms.

Then, as it happens with most of these education phenomena, comes the dissent. This summer, Education Sector, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that studies school issues, released a study that says, essentially, “Hold on a minute. Is there really a boy crisis after all?”

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