This seems to be the take away from this Maclean's interview with the American psychologist/family physician Leonard Sax. And his views are also given some play in the Star today by Jim Coyle.
More generally, Mr. Sax believes that today's primary school system has been "feminized". Boys can't fight and throw snowballs and play with toy guns the way they used to. Furthermore, once out of school they are no longer surrounded by a "culture of men" that teaches them right from wrong etc.. Somehow, this is leading them to poor grades, violence and, when they reach college age, sexual impotence.
Dr. Sax's theory sounds fishy to me, lamenting and calling for a return to the "good old days" when school for boys was like one big scouting expedition, where campfires were sat around and guitars strummed and traditions passed from man to boy via rites extending back to the days of Lord Baden Powell.
But all I can say for sure is, I passed through the school system back during Mr. Sax's Golden Age (roughly 40 years ago), and I don't recall it being that much fun. Even back then you had to sit still in math class, which was boring and sucked, and in most of the other classes too, which were also boring and sucked. I don't recall being allowed to pack fake weapons into class, although maybe some schools were like that. In any case, these days the kids don't need to play with fake guns; they've got real ones, and this has clearly NOT had a salutary effect on overall grades.
I do recall the glory of a good snow-ball fight, especially one particular time when I corked some kid with an ice-ball I'd made up special and he fell plonk! right off the snow bank and we all had to run. I also recall the wooden Pirate Ship our neighborhood built outside of Millstream Elementary School in Langford, B.C. At every lunch hour, the kids would fight over who got to stand on the after deck, and many, many a child cracked their heads open getting fed to the sharks. But I don't really think its presence had an effect on my grades, which were dismal in any event.
Mr. Sax has mistaken nostalgia for science, I think.