Of course in school there are boys who can read a Jane Austen novel withoutVia Market Power, who found a link at Emirates Economist, where this observation is cogent.
wanting to jam an icepick through their templefalling asleep on page 3, and there are girls who like Robert Heinlein (if I had to guess, there are more of the latter than the former). We could fairly easily examine the cognitive style of individual children and teach them accordingly. This might well result in classes with significant gender imbalances -- the "boy-thinking" class would have a few girls, and vice versa -- but most schools have multiple sections at each grade and therefore have the capacity to divide the children into classes that teach differently.
Then there's the question of job success after college. It is claimed that boys get better jobs and pay than girls relative to their performance in school. Some say this is a message to girls that talk of a meritocracy is a lie. But it could be that school performance is a highly imperfect predictor of productivity in the workplace - in part because of the fact the girls are more diligent in schoolwork carries over from high school into college.There's still the effect of fertility on labor force participation to consider. The common schools, however, have always been a feminized environment, particularly in K-6. Might the fretting over sex imbalances in academic performance be masking a different phenomenon, namely diminished returns to universal access to college?