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Schools put genius child in special ed, tell mom he can’t learn. Now he’s free, and he could win a Nobel Prize

Posted by Austin Petersen • 28 Aug 2013

They said he would never learn, now he’ll teach them a thing or two…

A genius boy whose IQ is higher than Albert Einstein is on his way to possibly winning a Nobel Prize after being set free of special education programs in public schools. His mother made the decision to take him out of the programs, even after having doctors diagnose him with Aspergers and say that her son Jacob Barnett would never even learn to tie his shoes.

She describes in her book “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius” that she was afraid of trying to pull him out of school. “For a parent, it’s terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals. But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away.”

Jacob was not thriving in special ed classes. He kept turning deeper into himself and was uncommunicative with other people. His doctors prescribed medical treatment for the boy. When he wasn’t in therapy though, his mother noticed him doing amazing things. “He would create maps all over our floor using Q-tips. They would be maps of places we’ve visited and he would memorize every street.”

Jake dropped out of elementary school in the 5th grade. His incredible memory allowed him to attend university classes after he learned all of high school math in two weeks. Now he’s on track to graduate from college at age 14 and working on theories to build on Einstein’s theory of relativity.

60 minutes did a special on Jacob here.

 

Meet Jacob Barnett


  • mscoyote

    Right on. I can’t agree more. We get what we ask for. The generation of kids being raised by parents that can’t say no is frightening. It’s not a liberal/conservative thing. It a culture wide attitude that somehow we are entitled to succeed without working. The kids coming out of the schools into the corporation I work all expect to be promoted without doing anything or working for it. Fascinating and frightening study the results of spoiling children.

  • Archie Meijer

    There is a lesson here.

    We have come to be too reliant on formalism including in understanding the mind. We foolishly believe that humans, any humans are capable of understanding the mind perfectly and how to handle other people’s minds and more foolishly that we can use language in order to do this. We have come to see language as omnipotent.

    Sometimes the way to do something or to fix something is not something that can be stated in words. We have become a culture that undervalues feeling. People say to be “logical”, logical is often code for “do everything according to words you can form in your head or hear from others.” To be logical is often illogical.

    There could be people out there who would’ve improved had nothing been done but disintegrate because of the ‘help’ we give them. And how would we know? We can’t use time machines. When this happens we just assume that they were hopeless from the start. In this case the parents knew best and they followed their feelings. Had they not nobody would’ve suspected that he would’ve turned out this much better ignoring advice from so-called experts. In this case the bond between parent and child beats so-called logic and reason.

  • TD63

    Anyone on here who doesn’t know that the school systems are vastly dominated by liberals and progressives is either completely insane or in denial…

  • Guest

    I have to agree… This is the main reason why I refuse to go ahead and teach even after all the education I have just gone through… having to deal with parents and their spoiled coddled little brat that really just needs some good discipline and to hear the words NO!

  • http://Southcentralpa.myorganogold.com Eric Martin

    I have Aspergers. The thing with Aspergers is – yes, we do have anti-social disorders and such, but we are very high functioning and have genius IQ levels. Albert Einstein him self had Aspergers. My mother was an educator for mentally retarded adults/students, and also taught in special education classes. She knew more than most of my (and my twin’s) symptoms than anyone and we were placed in special education classes just so we can focus better. Now we are both top quality in our individual fields.

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  • Olvar

    This story is a powerful example of chuckholes that would be found by progressives who want to go down the the road of “it takes a village.” Parents have god-given discernment that ought to be free to trump the experts, whether in education, medical decisions, or something else. Nothing matches an intuition rooted in love.

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  • rwhaller42

    I couldn’t agree more. The most important problem in education today is parents who are coddling their children and creating generations of uncivilized brats who have no manners and then blaming the schools for the results. I think in large part this is because parents who grew up in middle class homes where only one parent had to work in order for the family to afford that style of life, can no longer get by on one income so both parents work. Then they come home and spoil their children because they feel guilty.

    • mscoyote

      The worst kids I know of come from families where both parents are professionals making well over $100,000. Quality time consists of a couple dinners out a week and the kids have been farmed out to expensive classes and activities away from home since they were 6 weeks old. Kids from families where both parents have to work to put food on the table know a little more about making choices and working hard.

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  • Mike Keller

    Remember… The government pays for the education system. If it was not what they wanted it to be, they would change it. The government does NOT want an intelligent and educated populace, capable of critical thought. The government wants a proletariat of undereducated, under-achieving, TV watching, video game playing morons, that are JUST intelligent enough to run the machines and complete the paperwork that keep them in power, but are too stupid to realize how badly they are getting fucked on a consistent and persistent basis.

    • ThatDudeGuy

      You should learn to read and comprehend before trying to spread your anti-government propaganda bullshit. Oh wait, you just read the headline didn’t you? This is why we are considered stupid.

  • Ryan Denner

    Now my understanding is that George W. Bush, a Republican conservative, implemented the program and policy known as the “no child left behind act” which dictates how a school functions. So if there is is going to be an argument pertaining to the division of ideologies of two political parties, then perhaps we should look at a broader lens versus playing the blame game. Just for clarity, I do not associate myself with liberalism nor conservatism, just information from both sides allowing me to think critically. This article is not about the liberals nor the conservatives. Rather, it is about the way children are misdiagnosed in a classroom setting which has nothing to do with the government.

  • Tammie Black

    I have a sister that is mentally retarded and physically handicapped. Doctors told my mothet that she would never live to see her 1st birthday and if she did , she would be nothing but a vegetable. Well she will be 49 this October and weighs about 160 give or take a few lbs. She is nowhere intelligent like these others , but she is very loving, some what musically inclined. My parents to her to child welfair I think to discuss placement of her. While there the social worker must have taken 20 calls from her own children. My mother looked at her and said , you can’t even control your own children and you want to tell me what to do with mine. It’s all about money, the more they can instatuionalize , the more money they make.

  • BobInSoCal

    My son was diagnosed with ADD in 4th grade and placed under an IEP in his school. We think it was because he was so bored, as he is now 23, graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering, and heading to a PhD program in the fall.

  • Michael Kimsey

    Liberalism is a serious mental disorder.

  • withavengeance

    All of us learn in different ways. I am a square peg that doesn’t fit in a round hole. I always have been and I always will me. During my school years, I hated history because of all the memorizing of dates, people, events, etc. I now LOVE history because I can get deeper into it (the stories, the politics, the peoples’ characters) than memorizing a lot of useless information. I also learn the best hands on, not through an instruction book or someone telling me. Last I knew, my I.Q. is 132. I’m not a genius by any means, but I’m far from stupid.

  • FTrooper70

    So much for social workers and liberal, intellectual pinheads.

    • Aoi Warai

      In a constitutional, capitalistic, democratic republic, founded by landed gentry, yoeman farmers, and a few pirates — who isn’t a “Liberal”?

      I mean, there are two very centrist Liberal parties in the US, that exaggerate their differences among their respective cult fanatic followers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t all still Liberals: classical Liberals, neo-classical Liberals, progressive Liberals, Liberal christians. I mean, its a joke when Americans call themselves “conservatives”, right? What do you have to conserve that isn’t a Liberal institution?

      These aren’t Edmund Burke, or pro-monarchist reactionaries. Liberalism won the wars of the revolutionary era, sorry
      you didn’t get the memos (The Constitution, The Bill of Rights).

  • elleol

    Oh, Sam is manipulating us liberals. Pretending education is a liberal institution when it is so conservative, and run by big business selling new test materials. Ha ha. Trolls do the same kind of tactics over and over.

  • Tom Freemal

    I’m just an ordinary construction worker and judging by how most of you people spell, I pray you are all not teachers, if so, I can understand why the public school system is in such a terrible state.

    • withavengeance

      The ability to spell is not a learned ability. It’s genetic in nature. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Educate yourself.

  • Sue

    Your gripe has nothing to do with parents although the majority are under the same influence. Psychiatry was allowed to infiltrate the education system in the mid 60’s. What was once a darn good education evolved into what we have today – a mess! They changed learning methods repeatedly, changed how teachers taught, changed texts, took away discipline, took away moral codes to live by. Gave them labels, mind altering drugs that kill and harm, PC, school police, metal detectors, locked down schools and arrest. If a teacher cannot teach, how on earth can a kid learn in that kind of environment? And that is before Common Core!

  • Patrick Maher

    Kai, everything becomes political once it’s made public. I give you American politics in a nutshell. Which is a good place for it.

    My way is right, your way is wrong. My candidate will save us, yours will destroy us. I will relentlessly ridicule and criticize the absurdity of your beliefs at every turn but at the same time you damn well better respect my opinions.

    I wrote that 25 years ago and it’s just as true today.

  • Oline Wright

    I am one of those rare parents who when being told that my child was not doing the work told the teacher to give him the grades to reflect that. In fact I told one teacher to flunk him if he wasn’t earning the grade. Problem was they knew he knew what they were teaching. They could not keep him involved/challenged in the normal class room. I had that problem myself when in 8th grade the english teacher basically was assigning us exercises from the grammar book and then sitting reading or something instead of teaching or lecturing.

  • cnsteph

    Do you know why parents have changed, hpsweet? Because we have been
    told for so long that we are to stupid to teach our children, so we
    should leave it to the professionals. That would be you. Now that
    those professonials are getting what they asked for.. all they do is
    complaih about it. Yes, I agree there is an entitlement attitude too…
    but I guess when those professionals teach that “government is there to
    keep you safe and sound” and “everyone has the RIGHT to what they want”
    (these are things taught in the 3rd grade class at my local public
    school — I witnessed them during my student teaching classes) then what
    do you expect to happen? Sorry to pee on your parade but teachers
    have gotten exactly what they have asked for.

  • copykon

    The school system did the same thing to me when I was a child (Asperger’s). They justify it by saying you lack basic skills. I was often left so bored I wanted to leave school. I spent so much time with therapists it was nothing but a waste of time.

  • Glenn Mason

    sure, as schools today are baby sitter or drug pushers
    , as common core just makes you gay or a lesbian,
    or learn the Muslim way
    yes squat and shit on floor so those behind you can eat it

  • Joe Bear DeVito

    I don’t believe in this case it was “the liberals”, unless of course you are talking as a whole on who is running the schools and medicine…… BUREAUCRATS! It’s amazing to hear of stories like this. I betcha this kid goes on and discovers something we only believe in science fiction, such as the Warp Drive for space travel.

  • RVNMike

    I told you teachers were stupid.

    • db

      Doubt its the teachers…you just showed how much you don’t know about government schools/public education!

    • go4it

      It the bureaucratic administrators! They set the rules & guidelines for how & what to teach. The poor teachers must comply … or lose their jobs.

  • Troy Adamczyk

    I’m not saying I’m a genius, but I have an IQ of over 185 and was put in special ed for most of my elementary and middle school years because they feed a line of BS to my mother and father, saying I have ADHD. A few years later we challenged the school district and they agreed to release me from special ed if I was seen by the same psychologist that diagnosed me, without meeting with me, with ADHD. After a month of visits he concluded that I was cured of ADHD and stated to me that I was the first ever cured of this disorder. My only response to him at, 12 years old, was “Doesn’t that suggest to you that I never had it to begin with?” I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “professional” go so white in my life. All he could tell me is I definitely had it, and that he was the one that first diagnosed me. All the years I suffered, all the classes that I lost, and all the knowledge I missed out on, I wish I could have closure, because no amount of compensation could make up for this.

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