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Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds Hardcover – April 6, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Davidsons, creators of educational software and founders of a nonprofit foundation that helps educate gifted children, offer an absorbing look at how our nation is neglecting children of exceptional intelligence. Egalitarian notions, sparse education funds, and a cultural trend toward anti-intellectualism have combined to put gifted children in a position where schools typically don't meet their needs. The authors concede the difficulty of defining genius and offer guidelines used by various school districts and authorities that have the effect of lowering the bar and offering "enrichment" programs of limited duration that don't begin to address the needs of really gifted children. But the core of this book is the stories of exceptionally bright or talented children forced to endure the routines of regular schools that, while teaching to the lowest common denominator, stifle their enormous potential. The final chapter offers advice to parents on how they can help their children and advocate on their behalf. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D. Director, the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, The University of Iowa Genius Denied is a highly readable and important book about some of the most important issues in the field of gifted education today. Jan and Bob Davidson make the compelling case that schools are not meeting the educational needs of our brightest students, and offer clear recommendations on what we can do about it. This book will have an impact and I absolutely recommend it.

Dr. James R. Delisle Professor, Kent State University, and author of Gifted Kids Survival Book and Guiding the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Youth Every teacher and administrator in America can benefit from reading about how lives of intellectual promise have been squandered by our public schools...and what must be done to transform genius denied into genius fulfilled.

Dr. Julian Stanley Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Founding Director of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, Johns Hopkins University Genius Denied is a fascinating, well-written, carefully thought-through call for better attention to the educational needs of bright boys and girls.

Dr. Miraca Gross Professor of Gifted Education, Director of the Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Center, University of New South Wales, and author of Exceptionally Gifted Children A thought-provoking book which demonstrates vividly how the concept of "equity" has been misinterpreted in America's schools to deny an appropriate education to hundreds of thousands of children. A must-read for teachers and parents alike.

Jane M. Healy, Ph.D. Educational Psychologist, author of Endangered Minds and Your Child's Growing Mind This book is not only a valuable and reassuring guide for parents of highly gifted children but also a clarion call for national attention to education's biggest "dirty little secret." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First edition edition (April 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743254600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743254601
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George C. Leef on April 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read and review a lot of books on education. Jan and Bob Davidson's Genius Denied fills a crucial gap in the literature. While almost every other failing of our educational system has been written about at great length, this book addresses a problem that receives very little ink -- the way that it lets gifted children down.
That we do in fact treat the educational needs of very bright children with neglect can hardly be doubted after reading the many case histories that the Davidsons have assembled. Gifted kids -- who, the authors note come from all races and all levels of family income -- are regularly told just to keep quiet and go along with the slow-paced lesson plans that are usually geared to the least able students in class. The result is utter boredom and a waste of human potential. It's like insisting that a race car built to go 200 mph should have to putter along at 25 mph.
While many school districts purport to have "gifted programs," the Davidsons observe that they are usually just for show and actually accomplish very little. "Pull out" programs that provide gifted children with an hour or so of time out of the regular classroom so they can read, draw, or do other activities are woefully inadequate for the needs of these children, but usually that is all they get.
The Davidsons are equally effective in identifying the root of the problem. We have an educational culture that is dominated by egalitarians who think it is a bad thing for some children to race on past the others. Never mind that the result is misery for the brilliant youngsters and a squandering of great human potential.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I strongly recommend reading this book if you are the parent/educator of a gifted child. This book is a real eye opener into school life of American gifted children - even those that seem to be doing just fine. My son is highly gifted and absolutely loves school. He had a wonderful teacher in third grade and likes his 4th grade teacher even better. He scores 100 on most tests and generally seems happy. So - what's the problem? He's not learning anything! Until I read this book, it never even occurred to me to ask my son if he has learned anything new this year. He does homework daily, has tests and quizzes in all subjects - of course he's learning - right? When I asked him yesterday if he thought he was actually learning - he said no - nothing new. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being new work that is challenging) he rated last year and this year a 4 (I think he would have rated it lower, but he could tell I was heading for a slight freak-out).

Genius Denied points out that many bright children are just coasting in our school system. They already know the work and "learning" the material comes effortlessly. Even if they aren't having emotional difficulty with being forced to repeatedly learn things they already know, it can become a serious problem later on when they actually come across material they don't know. Many won't even know how to study.

I think the book gives great information about the different types of "gifted" classes offered by schools, especially in the elementary grades. My son was in a math pullout last year and will probably be in it again this year. The author questions how a 1-hour a week enrichment class is supposed to provide the learning enrichment these children need.
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Format: Hardcover
As a teacher of gifted students, I am very familiar with the unique challenges inherent to meeting the needs of bright students. Genius Denied and the companion website [...] helped me to better understand the options available to me as a teacher. Genius Denied is a great balance of story and practical solutions. It really made me think about what kind of teacher I want to be. I thought I was doing the right thing when it came to my gifted students and I now see that there is so much more I could be doing, and that it isn?t going to take a lot of time or money! I can't recommend this book enough. It is a must read for teacher, parents and students.
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This book highlights the need for educating all children on their level. Using examples of some obvious prodigies and how the schools have failed them, it makes the point that we are doing these children as well as our country a disservice in not providing an appropriate education for everyone. Not only does this book show how we fail these children, it also gives practical ways for students, parents, and educators to correct this problem.
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Format: Hardcover
Jan and Bob Davidson and writer Laura Vanderkam have presented a case for gifted education that is both logical and heartfelt. Genius Denied identifies the flaw in the current trend toward egalitarianism and addresses how to best meet the needs of children with superior intellectual abilities. The importance of mentors is stressed and vignettes present gifted children in all sorts of educational situations. Clearly, the children who thrive are those who are encouraged by one or more caring adults.
My family participates in the Davidson Young Scholar program and we will be eternally grateful for the experience. We are one of the families mentioned who have chosen to homeschool rather than subject our children to the lock-step lowest common denominator methods practiced by our local public schools. Homeschooling is wonderful, yet my career is on hold and we are forced to economize in order to survive as a one income family in a two income society.
Genius Denied should be required reading for educators. It's a powerful book and I plan to present a copy to a school principal I know. Perhaps you might also do this!
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