Home > Advocacy and policy > John Rosemond needs to do his homework on gifted kids

John Rosemond needs to do his homework on gifted kids

During the years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve avoided using it as a soapbox. But today, I feel compelled to take a stand — and I’m asking you to do the same by writing a letter to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If you saw John Rosemond’s column in this weekend’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, then you already know why I’m so worked up. If you didn’t, the brief synopsis is, a mother complained that her nine-year-old gifted child dawdles with his homework and has mediocre performance in school. Rosemond’s response said that being identified as gifted and talented has probably ruined the kid.

It turns out, the print version of the AJC omitted the most disparaging of Rosemond’s comments. Here’s a more complete excerpt, as can be read online:

“First, the fact that the school has identified your son as “gifted and talented” may be part of the problem. My finding is that a good number of children who’ve been so identified seem to feel that their mere participation in G&T programs entitles them to good grades no matter how much effort they put into their schoolwork. So they do just enough to get by and no more. The further problem is that schools will not, generally speaking, lower the boom on these kids. Teachers continue giving them decent report card grades even though they don’t complete assignments or turn in work, do poorly on tests, and so on. And once a child’s been promoted to G&T status, demotion is virtually out of the question. These kids are smart all right. They’re smart enough to figure out that the only consequence of their lack of effort is that adults get upset.”

It’s bad enough that Rosemond’s advice — which went on beyond this paragraph — ignored the most likely reason for this child’s struggles: he’s bored because he’s not being challenged. But this blanket accusation that gifted children are arrogant and conniving is reprehensible, and Rosemond’s use of the word “finding” to imply it’s based on actual research makes it worse.

This is the second time this summer that Rosemond has belittled gifted children and/or gifted education. (You can see the prior example at http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/10/2952680/john-rosemond-should-child-be.html)

Speaking out against these attacks on the gifted is unlikely to change Rosemond’s mind, but maybe, just maybe, our rebuttals can offer hope and support to parents of gifted children — parents who need to understand the real reasons why gifted children sometimes struggle.

Categories: Advocacy and policy
  1. Suzanne Compau
    August 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Thanks, Dori. I have long been a fan on John Rosemond’s columns and books – but this time he is way off the mark. I will be packing up his books and donating them. Then I will write a letter as you suggest.

    • August 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      For anyone interested in speaking up, there are four places you can write to. Pick one, or all four:
      1) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Most likely to care what readers within Georgia think.
      2) Rosemond’s home newspaper, the Charlotte Observer. This is where the column originates. Address your letters to Michael Weinstein, Features Editor, Charlotte Observer, 600 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
      3) McClatchy Tribune News Services, the company that syndicates the column. Write to Wes Albers, McClatchy-Tribune News, 700 12th St. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005.
      4) John Rosemond himself. The address of his physical office is 1391-A East Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054.

      I’ve contacted all four, and I spoke with Wes Albers on the phone this morning. I doubt anything will happen unless they get a deluge of responses.

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