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[Susan notes: What a good point: In today's schools, students who don't quietly do their skill drill exercises find themselves in serious trouble.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re ''The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome'' (March 1): If the search for the next Einstein is in America's public schools, the applicant might well be found in detention.

As an adolescent, Einstein, despite having good grades, was asked to leave school. His irreverent learning style disturbed the other students. Unlike Einstein, his classmates did not ask questions of the teachers and found rote learning acceptable.

A century later, in America, too many students are faced with Einstein's predicament -- an educational system that stifles the very creativity and imagination needed to produce innovative thinkers. As Einstein himself said, ''Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.''

Patricia Lakin

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