What About the Boys?

June 06, 2006 1 min read

The so-called “Boy Crisis” has arrived. As the public outcry over boys’ academic decline in relation to girls’ success has grown louder, people are trying to explain this trend—and many, it seems, are blaming girls.

In this Education Week Commentary, Lyn Mikel Brown, Meda Chesney-Lind, and Nan Stein caution against a zero-sum mentality. They claim that, contrary to prevailing assumptions in the popular debate, boys are not struggling because girls are excelling, nor are boys suffering more now from the traditional teacher-gender gap than they were before the crisis. Instead, they posit, the real reasons for the gender achievement gap include poverty, racism, and the societal stigma that studying is only for geeks—and girls.

What do you think? Do current educational trends cater to girls, and neglect boys? Or are boys’ academic problems rooted in broader social messages about masculinity? Do boys think that doing well in school is for girls?

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.