Sunday, October 7, 2007

Preview of Upcoming Interview with Alec Klein, Author of A Class Apart

You may recall from about six weeks ago that I reviewed a new book, A Class Apart, by Alec Klein. You may want to read that post first for some background. Here's an excerpt from that post:
...this is an honest and well-written view of one of the highest-rated high schools in the country, Stuyvesant HS, with its long tradition of excellence and famous alumnae. Stuyvesant is a selective (based on an entrance exam) school for the gifted, particularly in math and science.

Alec has agreed to an interview for MathNotations to take place sometime in the next few days. Unlike my recent interview with Prof. Lynn Steen, I plan to have an opportunity to ask some follow-up questions. Alec and I are still working on the format which might take the form of a phone conversation (and my transcribing my notes).

You may also want to read the review of the book I wrote on Amazon. The issue of gifted education is a hot topic and was recently discussed by mathmom in an excellent post referred to in Jonathan's latest edition of the CoM. Selective schools (aka magnet schools, academies) like Stuyvesant HS in NYC (the focus of the book), which require an entrance exam, have been the target of many critics who view them as elitist and overly pressurized for adolescents. I personally have mixed feelings about this and this ambiguity will emerge in my questions. Alec, an alumnus of Stuyvesant, gives an even-handed objective view of the school and the issues of specialized schools in general. Although, he doesn't claim to be an expert on education, he is an expert journalist who knows how to eloquently present issues fairly and thoroughly. Even more significant is his humanism and his compassion for students which resounds in A Class Apart.

Here's a short bio on Alec:

Alec Klein is an award-winning journalist, playwright and author. His first book, Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner, was an acclaimed national bestseller that was translated into Japanese and Chinese and excerpted in Great Britain. Stealing Time, required reading in several college courses across the nation, was selected as one of the “Best Business Books” of 2003 by Library Journal and Strategy + Business and hailed by The New York Times as “vivid and harrowing ... a compelling parable of greed and power and hubris.” His second book of nonfiction, A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of America’s Best High Schools, was just published by Simon & Schuster, and it is being nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

I hope my readers will be patient as I work through this process. I may still post a math blog here and there of course! That's one habit I can't seem to kick!

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