This reminds me so much of my own experience as a Valedictorian and Harvard student. Reminds me how great my parents are/were and how hard I can be on myself.
A top Stuyvesant graduate is conducting a survey to find out what inspired other top graduates work hard to get good grades. How much of it is because of pressure from parents, otherwise known as "Tiger moms?'' What other factors drive students -- and have driven you -- to succeed?
You can visit Stefanie Weisman's Web site, valedictoriansguide.com, to send her an e-mail and participate in her study.
As a college professor at a competitive school, I wish the emphasis here had been on learning instead of "success." What is "success?" Who decides? While I'm glad this student and her 20 peers were mostly able to "self-motivate," they still sought the same carrot as the tiger babies -- with no explanation of why. What does being valedictorian and having a high GPA mean if you don't use it for anything? Is there any definition of "success" for young people that DOESN'T involve straight As and an Ivy League school?
I like your comments. I am a bit troubled by how many responses include the fact that their kids attend Harvard or other Ivy League equivalent schools as some barometer of success. My son would often point out that the really intellectual curious and interesting kids were "B" students and not the valedictorian.
Please note that Asian students make up 72 percent of the population at Stuyvesant. Not all of them are Chinese. Asian kids make up around 60 percent of the students at Brooklyn Tech and a substantial number of them are of South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) descent.
This is irrelevant, ignorant and racist. What does descent have to do with achievement at Stuyvesant? I've reported this post as racist and look forward to it, and my reply, being removed.
I dont see the comment as explicitly racist but rather shows generally how overly weighted certain schools are with particular populations. that said, I think it refreshing at least to hear HONEST impressions about who is where in which schools in NYC.... it is my impression that schools in the city are LESS diverse and more strikingly segregated since Bloomberg and Klein took the DOE over, and since SCHOOL CHOICE as they disingenuously call it has become about who knows enough to get into a few, select programs...
A sample size of 20? Did I read this correctly? Although the conclusions make sense intuitively, I find it difficult to draw such broad conclusions on such little data
When my sons were little I made friends with a woman who had five very high-achieving children. I asked her how she did it and this is basically what she said to me:
"Follow the interests of your child. If he shows an interest in rocks, run to the nearest library or bookstore to get books on the subject. Enroll him in the summer science program at the museum."
I also noticed that this woman and her husband placed a very high value on education and modeled positive attitudes for their children. For example, they hardly had any furniture in their living room, but they did have a grand piano so the kids could practice. This mom also kept the love of learning alive for her children by stressing the positive and avoiding negatives. So far as I know there was little pressure on the children to perform but expectations were very high. Of course, it helped that the parents themselves were educated and able to avail themselves of good schools.
I followed my friend's advice and my sons grew up to graduate from Harvard and Stanford. Both now enjoy challenging and fulfilling careers.
Stefanie Weisman, what did you do in kindergarten? Was it a play-based class, or did you do academics all day long and were you pushed to read at "Level H" by the end of the year? Did you write 5-page stories by October, labelling all of your drawings? Did you have 90-minute lessons from the teachers about, "What do readers do? Readers look at the title of the book. Readers looks at the first letter of the first word in the title." Did you have 11 pages of homework per night in kindergarten? No? However did you succeed, then?
If anyone thinks that looking at Stuyvesant (or any of the select few high schools in NYC where only the top 5% of students get into) is an interesting way to look at 'achievement', we have allowed the entire system to go the way that Bloomberg & The Educrats want us to go. Try looking at the majority of kids in urban high schools(UNDERFUNDED, largely minority, largely poor) who actually have to FIGHT to achieve. And in those majority rise up a few fantastic learners, and THEY are the remarkable ones. And the teachers who work and help those few kids in the morass of the more than 50% of the poorly run, poorly administrated high schools in NYC ... they - those teachers who stick it out - are the other heros of that story. Stuyvesant and Harvard are bastions for the very few select, and studying how their achievement for those rarified group of students is about disingenuously 'playing' at presumed 'research'. If this is student led and directed, I hold my criticism for Schoolbook and any of the grown ups promoting the work as significant... and invite people to look at the massive bodies of research (generally ignored by the current NYC/DOE) which shows that a supportive educational and literate friendly familial system is the way for success at schools and beyond. What more do we really need to think about besides how to rescue the nearly 100,000 students in high schools this term who are NOT at Stuy or anywhere equally strong academically, financially or otherwise?
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