I was very dismayed after reading the article, "Two Paths to the Summit" by Rich Tosches, which appeared in the Dec. 2 edition. The author describes two local high schools, Cleveland High and Simi Valley High, which have outstanding boys basketball programs.
Mr. Tosches has unfortunately chosen to highlight the negative aspects of Cleveland High. As a result, I fear that irreparable harm has been done to an outstanding school.
The Cleveland High Humanities Magnet has an academic program that has received national recognition by the Rockefeller Humanities Foundation and has been touted as a model of secondary education.
I would have no argument with the author if the article was exclusively a sports feature. But Mr. Tosches devotes more than 40 inches of copy, out of approximately 52 inches, to descriptions of burned milk cartons, murder posters, racial percentages, English fluency estimates, graffiti, and implications of prevalent gang warfare.
After reading Mr. Tosches' article, what parents would even consider sending their children to Cleveland High for other than "fast-paced, fast-break basketball"?
Well, it happens to be that both of my daughters are excelling in college, as are many of their high school classmates, thanks to the outstanding academic education they received at Cleveland High. My son is presently a student there, and I continue to be pleased with the quality of the education he is receiving.
I personally attended a local Valley school demographically similar to Simi Valley High, but my education didn't compare to what my children have received at Cleveland High. I presently live in a community similar to Mr. Tosches' portrayal of the Simi Valley suburbs, but my children attend Cleveland High because it provides the best public education around.
MICHAEL L. MANDELL