Man, it’s tough being a super-wealthy parent (apparently). Forget choosing the right preschool, how do you even choose the right preschool admissions coach?
Preschool admissions coach Emily Shapiro told The Week that preschool in New York (by which she specifically means Manhattan), is “fairly consistently insanely expensive.” Of course, everything in Manhattan is fairly consistently insanely expensive, which everyone knows when they move there. Unfortunately, knowing this doesn’t stop many Manhattanites from endlessly discussing how expensive (read: elite) everything is in Manhattan.
Ms. Shapiro, who charges $150 an hour for phone consultations and $250 an hour to meet in person, guides Manhattan parents through the preschool admission process. The process is akin to the process of getting into college, and involves entrance essays, interviews, and big fat checks. A consultant’s fee is just a drop in the bucket: private preschools range from $12,000 a year to upwards of $40,000 a year. Since “most New York preschools enroll children at age 2,” that means there are parents shelling out $120,000 for preschool.
For the sake of comparison, New York residents can obtain a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York for approximately half that amount.
The article says, “As some parents see it, that’s a small price to pay if junior gets into Harvard.”
(No pressure, Junior, but we just shelled out $120K for preschool so you can go to an elite elementary school, middle school, and high school, and then Harvard.)
Citing a lack of preschool options, The Week article asserts that “many parents pay for a school somewhere on that spectrum because they have to — there are few other options, unless you want to homeschool.”
Um, when did keeping a two- or three-year-old at home become homeschooling? As one commenter on The Week’s Facebook page put it, “that’s not ‘homeschooling,’ that’s just living.”
Perhaps most hilariously, the article aims to debunk many “myths” about Manhattan preschool.
“As you can imagine, in a scene this insane, urban legends about getting into preschool abound,” we’re told.
‘I worked with a couple who had moved here from Atlanta, and they were just completely dumbfounded by what they were finding,’ Shapiro said. ‘People were telling them that you have to sign your kid up for preschool before they are born, which is completely not true.'”
Silly n00b! You should have signed up before you conceived. Just kidding! (Sort of.) Ms. Shapiro recommends that parents begin the preschool process a year-and-a-half before parents want to enroll their child.
“Because most New York preschools enroll children at age 2, parents should begin their admissions process when their child is 1 year old,” we’re advised.
(Note: Not only did I not go to an elite preschool, I went to a state university. And I still know that age 2, minus a year and a half, means you have to start when the baby is six months old.)
The thing is, that’s not the urban legend I think of when I think of this whole Manhattan preschool situation. What I think is that there are a very privileged few who are spending gobs of money, energy, and time, on preschool–and that’s no legend, that’s fact.
What is a myth is that this applies to all New Yorkers. First of all, New York City isn’t just Manhattan. Secondly, the vast majority of kids in New York City go to public school, not elite private schools. The New York City Department of Education serves over 1.1 million students at over 1,700 schools. Some of those public schools (gasp) are actually located in Manhattan.
For most NYC kids, if they go to preschool, it’s to a regular daycare or preschool just like anywhere else in the country. I was born in Brooklyn, where I went to a distinctly average preschool and then P.S. 321. When my family moved to a fancy-pants town in Connecticut known for its good schools, we found that I was a year ahead academically, compared to what was being taught in my new suburban school. I ended up skipping a grade–not because I was super-smart, but because I had learned so much already at a New York City public elementary school.
I don’t blame wealthy parents for wanting to give their kids every advantage in life. I’m just not sure paving a pre-determined path for them at six months of age is really an advantage.
(via: The Week)
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
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