There are a bunch of letters, led by one from Carol Gilligan, in the current ATLANTIC MONTHLY, in response to an article in the May issue with the same title as the subject of this post, written by Christina Hoff Summers.
While not squarely centered on what one would think is MC's "mission," these kinds of issues are, I believe, a major subtext beneath much of the Parents With Pitchforks mania: politically correct agendas. Hence, the attack on "rainforest math" and the use of the word "fuzzy" are part of a general assault on a certain viewpoint that can be read as either radical and extremely left (if you're me), or as "liberal" if you're the general public and much of the press. That MC's breast-beating "liberal Democrats," can attack NCTM as racist and out to hurt minorities and women is an indication of how poorly this country understands what liberalism is and how thoroughly conflated liberalism has become with political correctness.
Hence, the War on Boys issue, which I believe has much merit, is being used to beat up on ALL reform educators instead of being carefully applied to the extreme and absurd ways in which legitimate concerns about harassment have been abused. Moderate, measured criticism quickly degenerates into sound-bites and hysteria. And kids and all of us continue to suffer as pc types try to demonize boys and educational conservatives try to ignore the very real issues of sexual harassment, hazing, and other forms of inappropriate behavior (on the part of both boys and girls) which deny all students the right to learn in a safe, relatively bias-free environment.
Are these latter concerns taken to extremes? Undoubtedly. I've seen some ridiculous things in the past two years at the school where I have taught. And the press is only too happy to provide us with far more absurd examples of how legitimate concerns can become zealotry gone mad. So should we just say, "boys will be boys" or, for that matter, "girls will be girls" and turn our backs? Should discussions about equity, the environment, or a host of other social issues be banned from public schools because they make some parents uncomfortable?
There is no question that there are politically correct teachers and administrators out there who think it is okay to proselytize since they're so sure that they're right. (Reminds me of SOME group from California). These folks are, in my opinion, not teachers, but preachers, and the latter are almost never the former.
But that doesn't make the ISSUES out of place. It's no more correct for those on the extreme left to shove their views down kids' throats (or try to) than it was for my 11th grade history teacher to try to harass me in class because I openly opposed the War in Vietnam or for students at Harvard Law School to hiss classmates who dare to express conservative views. But outraged parents and rude students of whatever political stripe don't have the right to keep the rest of us or our kids in ignorance. Neither demonizing nor apotheosizing EITHER gender is going to get us any further towards social or personal sanity.