Boys are not doing worse in school–their performance just isn’t improving as fast as girls’. And far larger than any gender gap is the gap between white children and the rest. In high school, where boys are doing worse than before, girls are too.

Sara Mead, a “senior policy analyst” at Education Sector, uses nothing but data to demolish the latest “boy crisis” fad. As a bonus, she also plows salt into the ruins–explaining how a claim with so little basis in reality could be turned into a bevy of books and pop-magazine sociology.

The media, it seems, were just bored with the well-known socio-economic gap. Pundits, she argues, simply used the “boy crisis” to push harder whatever line they were pushing before:

“A number of conservative authors, think tanks, and journals have published articles arguing that progressive educational pedagogy and misguided feminism are hurting boys. . . . Progressive education thinkers, on the other hand, tend to see boys’ achievement problems as evidence that schools have not gone far enough in adopting progressive tenets and are still forcing all children into a teacher-led pedagogical box that is particularly ill-suited to boys’ interests and learning styles. . . . In other words, few of these commentators have anything new to say–the boy crisis has just given them a new opportunity to promote their old messages.”

This heels-dug-in thinking reminds me of 9/11. Supposedly it “changed everything,” but in fact those who were warmongers before kept right on, and those who thought everything would be fine if we just quit writing blank checks to Israel kept thinking that way too.

(Hat tip to Crooked Timber.)