SOURCE: Simon & Schuster Publicity

October 16, 2007 09:00 ET

Exposed: The Elite U.S. Public High School

Intimate Details of One of America's Oddest and Best Public High Schools and Valuable Lessons Unveiled in "A Class Apart": New Book by Award-Winning Author and Washington Post Journalist

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 16, 2007) - A spellbinding story about high academic achievers in an elite public high school, "A Class Apart" (Simon & Schuster) by award-winning journalist and bestselling author Alec Klein raises important issues about education in the United States. Gifted and talented adolescents, many from immigrant families, are separated from their mainstream public high school peers by their drive to succeed. The book artfully illustrates the dark side of the American Dream along with what makes the school so special as it follows a handful of teenage students and teachers through a pressure-cooker semester at Stuyvesant High School. In addition to unveiling strategies that can be applied to any learning institution, the book raises tough political issues about publicly funded schools that segregate the best and the brightest.

Klein, himself a 1985 Stuyvesant alum, manages to convey three valuable lessons to educators, parents and students that don't cost anything but go far in furthering academic success:

-- Parental involvement raises the caliber of a school and the success of its students

-- Positive reinforcement contributes to a desire to learn

-- A school that gives its students a sense of freedom (issues of safety notwithstanding) creates a home-like environment that nurtures the learning process

Quotes:

"If Stuyvesant High School's students can embrace learning so enthusiastically, why can't everyone? Alec Klein, a young Stuyvesant alum familiar with the culture, devotes a year to diving back into the school's daily life in search of answers to that question. Klein's conclusions are surprising and have meaning for public schools everywhere."

-- Jay Mathews, The Washington Post education reporter and columnist

"Alec Klein, a masterful reporter and writer, weaves a spellbinding, sympathetic narrative about one of America's best high schools and how its remarkable students and teachers change each other's lives. 'A Class Apart' also teaches an important lesson: that even the brightest youngsters -- whom other schools often take for granted -- need guidance and nurturing from caring adults."

-- Dan Golden, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Wall Street Journal and author of "The Price of Admission"

"Alec Klein's 'A Class Apart' is a brilliant, joyful and important story -- one of the most revelatory books in years about what's right and wrong in our education system. Set at one of the nation's best high schools, it's filled with compelling and uplifting characters, like the captain of the football team who taught himself calculus. Klein, who immersed himself in the lives of the school and its students, had extraordinary access to the students and faculty, and he's done a masterful reporting job. 'A Class Apart' is filled with dramatic surprises, terrific writing and insights about education in America. As a parent of a school-age child, it got my attention. As a reader, I couldn't put it down. I loved this book."

-- Gary Cohn, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter

About the Author

Alec Klein is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Post. Prior to joining The Post in 2000, Klein was a staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, and The Virginian-Pilot. His previous nonfiction book, "Stealing Time" (Simon & Schuster, 2003), was a critically acclaimed national bestseller. Simon & Schuster is nominating "A Class Apart" for the Pulitzer Prize; the book was also nominated for the National Book Award. Raised in New York City, Klein lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and daughter.

Alec Klein is available for interviews and public speaking engagements. Please contact his publicist, Brian Ulicky.

Contact Information

  • For additional information:
    Brian Ulicky
    Simon & Schuster Publicity
    1230 6th Ave., 12th Floor
    New York, NY 10020
    P: 212-698-7544
    F: 212-698-7336
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