For US advocates of gifted children:
I've been following this interesting conversation, and thinking some of you might want to participate. Margaret DeLacy is a long time Advocate for gifted children, based in Oregon. Jay Mattews is an important Journalist for the Washington Post. Margaret has asked that if you send Jay an email, that you cc her. When I did this, she sent a nice personal email back.

Margaret Delacy has posted another email to other lists and I would
like to send it on. It contains very helpful information when and if
you choose to contact Jay Mathews.
Margaret DeLacy wrote:


Thank you so much for sending these stories to Jay and copying me.
I'll be
smiling once I stop crying over some of the stories.

Jay send(t) me a message a short time ago, which I am copying below.

I am asking you to weigh very carefully the opportunity of helping
all the
other families who have written these letters and gifted children
across the country against possible harm to your own children.

We are entering a difficult period. Reporters are more and more
to name their sources instead of using anonymous sources. On the
hand, some news stories linger on indefinitely on the Internet
whereas in
the old days they were soon buried in a single library vault.

I "outed" my own children. As I was president of the school
Talented and Gifted advisory committee and later a plaintiff against
state Department of Education it would have been absurd to have
avoided the
question of whether I had identified gifted children. It was
usually the
first question a reporter would ask. A photo of my son appeared in
newspaper article about our district's services.

We have never experienced any adverse consequences--unless you count
of people asking me where I got that cool wallpaper for my son's

However, there were times earlier in their lives when I would not
wanted this information to be public. Moreover, my kids were not
profoundly gifted and so weren't interesting enough to reporters to
"become" the story.

You can ask any reporter to keep anything you want to say "off the
record." However, it may result in a decision that the story isn't
publishing without the "background" information. Alternatively,
background information may be the proof the reporter needs that your
is true, and he/she will then go with the story without publishing
details. Very few stories rely on one source for the same
information. Just be clear about what must remain off limits to
publication, even if it means the story won't run.

You can't always control what is said about your children--but most
reporters will try to respect the limits you set to guard their
privacy--unless you are Britney Spears. Some day, your child will
applying for a job. You don't want their prospective employer
his/her name and learning that this person was addicted to heroin,
went to
jail for theft, and had been expelled from five schools by the age
of 12.

It will save time if you are sending an e-mail if you let the
reporter know
whether it is ok to use information (including your name) in that
e-mail. You may also want to include a phone number and/or a city.

If you say anything negative about a school "on" the record, it is
important to stick to verifiable facts and helpful to have
documentation. For example, if you have evidence that your 7 y.o.
was reading at a tenth grade level and/or had completed Algebra 1
and that
the school then assigned her to regular second grade, you don't need
to say
anything more on the record about the school's decision. Let the
explain why they thought denying acceleration to students was a good
idea--don't claim that the principal "hates bright children." You
prove or know his/her frame of mind. Stick to what you KNOW
happened and let other people draw the logical conclusions.

If a reporter asks if you know other families to confirm what you've
offer to give his/her contact information to them instead of handing
their names. You can certainly ask them to volunteer to talk with
reporter. Some families have reasons for keeping a very low
profile. A
parent may be holding a very sensitive job, for example.

Please accept my apologies for preaching to the choir. It may be
to a few of you.

Thank you for taking the time to do this for our kids!

Again, please copy this to your other lists as appropriate


Subject: Re: yr good sources
To: Margaret DeLacy <>
X-Mailer: Lotus Notes Release 5.0.12 February 13, 2003
From: Jay Mathews <>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:57:35 -0400
X-MIMETrack: Serialize by Router on notesmail1/TWP(Release
30, 2005) at
08/30/2007 11:57:35

I am getting good emails from people who are reading yr good work,
but i
would be very grateful if you would make clear that in order for me
to be
able to use their stories, i need to know which schools and which
failed to serve them adequately, and need their permission to use
names and get a response from those school officials to what the
parents of
gifted children told me happened. We know there is great
The only way to put these stories on a new level is to investigate
them in
detail, and see what the officials involved are saying to justify
actions. ---jay

Coaching available, at