Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Picking the 'Right' School

The other day when I was home sick from work, I watched a documentary on Showtime called "Nursery University." It followed five New York City families who were all vying to get their progeny into one of Manhattan’s exclusive nursery schools. We’re talking pre-K and under, folks. At $20,000 a year and up. Uh, huh.

I was entranced by this program because Hubby and I will be touring schools this month to decide upon a kindergarten for Miss E. next year. I thought I was being a bit over-anxious about this process, but after seeing these parents, I’ve decided I must be so low-key, you’d hardly think I had a pulse. What lengths these people went through to get in the door, on the right waiting lists! They jumped through hoops, trotting their children out like trained ponies. They hire consultants for thousands of dollars, just to get advice on how to get their kids in the "right" school. I could not believe this. I had always heard that the world of Manhattan private education was cut-thoat, but this was CRAZY! I’m guessing that they assume if their child gets into "the" nursery school then they’re a shoe-in for Harvard? What the what?! So, if your child doesn’t get into the first choice, is everything down hill from there?

After watching this program, it made me thankful that I don't live such a pressure-cooker lifestyle. My kids are bright and will get a good education. My husband and I will work hard to help them attain that. But, at some point, you have to step back and look at what's best for your life and that of your children. Not what you think society is pushing you toward.

Is anyone else going through the school search with for their kids right now? Be it pre-school, grade school, high school or college? Would love to hear your stories!
Image courtesy of the documentary "Nursery University"


Tickled Pink Talk said...

Oh, it can be so crazy! I worked in admission for a private school in Boston and it was CRAZY!! Our area isn't nearly as cut-throat, but it sure can be stressful. You want the best education for you kids, but it can be SO hard to figure out what that is, especially when they are so little....We are very happy where the boys are now and luckily shouldn't have to think about it again until they get to Highschool!

AEOT said...

My friend and her husband left NY this year for this very reason. They have a preschool aged daughter and they REFUSED to go through the rigamarole to get her into the "best" private schools. He was able to get a fabulous job back in their home state of MI, so they jumped on it. She's now in a great preschool, and all they had to do was walk in and ask!

LPC said...

Out here in Silicon Valley we have some symptoms of this, but not so bad. Here's the thing. I have now sent two kids to Princeton and they went to a k-8 school where pottery making was more important than math scores. So.