I'm not sure it helps the cause of those who are concerned about boys in schools to have conservative columnist John Leo weigh in as an ally (Media keep the boy crisis at bay
). The issue has already been diminished as a "conservative" one, and Leo's assertions that the pushback is a feminist conspiracy will only fuel that perception.
But Leo certainly gets it right when he points out just how overeager and credulous the press has been about the piece that was written by the Ed Sector's Sara Mead and launched into the MSM by Jay Mathews' not very critical-minded page one story in the Washington Post. Like they say, "man bites dog" stories always get a lot of attention from the media. A slow pre-holiday news week doesn't hurt, either. But still, shame on everyone who's been swallowing this one whole.
Whether the report's impressive notoriety turns out to be the "jackpot" for Mead et al remains to be seen, however, given the Ed Sector's aspirations to be taken as a place that puts out thoughtful work. Leo calls the report nothing more than "a long op-ed piece," which seems too harsh. But the 21-page analysis isn't based on any original research. Its arguments seem more cute than comprehensive. Politically speaking, the report pushes the organization out towards the liberal end of the spectrum. These are all things that the ES, its board and funders have to consider, especially given the current scrutiny in the blogs and among academics surrounding around think tank research.
UPDATE: Mead bravely claims the research high ground here
. Meanwhile, the blogosphere comments here
and skewers the Post's coverage here