"At the Head of the Class" [August 13-20] made a few good points in regard to what other schools could learn from magnet schools like Stuyvesant High School.
My problem lies with comments regarding how the admissions standards affect the self-esteem of students who applied to magnet schools but are not accepted. The whole point of these schools is to provide quality education to children who actually want to put forth an effort to achieve. One's self-esteem does not come from being denied access to something; it comes from supportive parents, trial and error, failure and success, and making a way for yourself without having everything being handed to you. I say the magnet schools are a blessing. We want to have some intelligent, motivated, hardworking people out there to put this country back on track.
Ah, Stuyvesant! The interviewwith Alex Klein brought back memories from the 1940s. Back then, the school was all boys and had split sessions; juniors and seniors in the morning, freshmen and sophomores in the afternoon. You thought you were smart to get in but soon learned there were smarter kids in your classes. Four Nobel laureates are alumni. But it wasn't all homework and exams; we had fun too. It was June 1945, and Nazi Germany had surrendered. Japan was on the brink of defeat. A group of exuberant seniors, with graduation just a few weeks away, headed over to nearby Washington Irving High School, which was all girls then. We stood outside chanting "we want girls" until a school official came out and asked us to go away. It was fun while it lasted.
Desmond J. Nunan Sr.
Ocean City, N.J.
In "At the Head of the Class," Stuyvesant alum and book author Klein appropriately comments that "very little attention [is] given to the gifted and talented." It is unfortunate that gifted children are not looked upon by society as having unique needs. These future leaders will make significant contributions to society in technology, music, art, and the overall goal of making it possible for us to live together in peace and global harmony. As Frederick Goodwin is quoted as saying in Teaching With the Brain in Mind: "Positive environments can actually produce physical changes in the developing brain."