This email just in from
a reader education analyst Sara Mead*:
I just saw your Plank post on the new AAUW study; since you had questions about its objectivity (which is fair, given the documented problems with their 1992 "how schools shortchange girls" report), I wanted to direct you to a report I wrote for Education Sector, a nonpartisan education policy think tank, two years ago. Using federal data, I found basically the same things the AAUW report does: many key educational outcome indicators are improving for both boys and girls; elementary school aged boys, in particular, are doing as well as or better than ever academically; to the extent that gender gaps favoring girls exist, they happen because girls have made significant gains, not because boys' achievement has declined; and achievement gaps by race/ethnicity and income and much larger and more significant than gender gaps.
Here's a link to my report: http://www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/ESO_BoysAndGirls.pdf
Essentially, I reached the same conclusion as you: The media hype about a “boy crisis” or a “girl crisis” is a distraction from the much bigger issue that our educational system is failing large numbers of poor and minority children.
I haven't had a chance to read it yet. (Scrambling to close a piece on Madame Speaker.) But anyone with a little time to kill while awaiting today's Kentucky and Oregon results might want to check it out.
* I should always check with the Chait household before posting on the subject of education research.