Book Review in a Nutshell: “Dumbing Down America” by James R. Delisle

"Dumbing Down America" by James R. Delisle reviewed by Pamela Price of RedWhiteandGrew.com

Recently Prufrock Press sent me a free review copy of James R. Delisle’s new book, Dumbing Down America: The War on our Nation’s Brightest Minds (and What We Can Do to Fight Back).

Long-time readers of this blog know that I serve as a board member for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. As you might guess from that volunteer work, I have encountered a lot of the information that Delisle parses through in his latest book. The individuals with whom I work at GHF and through my private work and life know first-hand that America’s school systems are coming up short in serving gifted and twice-exceptional (2E) kids. It’s a primary reason (if not the only one) that families in GHF have opted out of the system, even if only temporarily.

Therefore, the facts and narratives that Delisle shares are more than familiar; they are “our” collective stories.

Yet reading them in this new book left me gobsmacked. The author and long-time gifted education advocate has pulled from many sources a story that lays out brilliantly (and painfully) the willful and unintentional slights woven into our educational infrastructure that harm gifted and 2E kids. All the landmark moments are here: the debate over NAGC’s definition of “gifted,” the controversies surrounding Howard Gardner’s “multiple intelligences,” and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Thankfully, Delisle doesn’t leave the reader in a state of anguish about the past but rather offers up an array of hyperlocal and broader solutions to changing the narrative to one that better serves the educational needs gifted kids as well as other stakeholders in their education. Although the “Dumbing Down” bit of the title is provocative, the most engaging and exciting part of the book’s name is the “what we can do to fight back” part. Yes, homeschooling is included as an option–but it doesn’t work for everyone. Which is why it’s exciting to see so many ideas on the pages of this book.

Delisle deserves kudos for his plans. If you care about gifted kids–your own or others, then read the book to learn more about his suggestions and pass it along to the education change agents in your community.

Because for this “war,” it’s time to raise an army.

To purchase a copy of the book reviewed in this post using my Amazon Affiliate Link–and for which I receive modest compensation for my time reviewing it, please click here.

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Pamela Price is a Texas-based writer and author. Currently she’s researching a book forthcoming from GHF Press on the impact of bullying and relational aggression upon gifted children and their families.

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5 responses to “Book Review in a Nutshell: “Dumbing Down America” by James R. Delisle

  1. I just bought the book, and especially can’t wait to read the section on what we can do as parents. I’m disinclined toward “negative” language, and that has concerned me re: this book, which is why I’ve haven’t jumped to buy it earlier. But your review changed my mind.

  2. While I’m not crazy about the use of the war analogy, I plan to purchase this book. I’m glad to hear that it’s full of positive suggestions as it presents the problems. I’ve read other work by Jim Delisle and I do appreciate his directness and his knowledge of this subject. I also appreciate your expertise, Pamela.

    • The analogy made me uneasy at first, too, but having read it, I do think there is some validity in the idea of conflict being waged between two “parties.”