Sometimes I think I should have named this blog something other than, "Stupid America". And then something like this happens and I realize I was right all along: A woman in Manhattan is suing her daughter's $19,000 per year preschool because, she says, it did not adequately prepare her four year old daughter for entry into New York City's competitive private school system. Apparently she did not "catch the eye" of any elite power kindergartens and now she is destined for a life of drudgery and hard labor for minimum wage instead of an Ivy League college and a job as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Yes, really.
According to the litigious mother, her precious angel started at the Upper East Side preschool at the age of three. But Mom pulled her out only a month into her second year, because not only was the school not doing enough to prepare her for entry into the difficult realm of private kindergarten, it was also (gasp) "one big playroom"!! Imagine the temerity, letting three and four year old kids play instead of answering essay questions, solving quadratic equations and speaking conversational French. Who do they think they are?! Who in their right mind would let a four year old play with other kids and talk about shapes and colors (this is the sort of degenerate stuff the mother insisted was going on) before they've taken their college entrance exams? How could they be expected to be either a Mover or a Shaker, much less both, when they haven't even read Proust by the age of five! Shameful. Mom also insists her little darling was forced to associate with two year olds. What kind of idiot lets four year old kids associate with two year olds!? It's like they don't even care. First they let the kid play, and then they expect her to play with other kids!
Furthermore, the mother and her legal team insist, the apple of her eye will now be forced to accept a life of hard knocks because she will never be able to get into an Ivy League school. This quote is directly from the article in the New York Times-and it seems like they can't believe this either:
The suit charges that preschool education is critical to a child’s success in life, quoting from various news articles. “It is no secret that getting a child into the Ivy League starts in nursery school,” says one. “Studies have shown entry into a good nursery school guarantees more income than entry into an average school,” says another.
I think perhaps those studies that show that entry into a good nursery school guarantees more income neglect to mention that those who have $19,ooo a year to throw away might also have enough money to make sizable donations to the college of their little pumpkins' choice, thereby helping to guarantee a spot in the next freshman class, and then quite possibly guaranteeing more income in the future. In Daddy or Mummy's company.
Hmm. Now, I have to say, I have many friends who attended Ivy League colleges and universities. Almost all of them graduated from said colleges and universities, and the very few who did not, transferred to equally excellent schools and did finish their degrees. I know many who continued on in Ivy League universities and obtained their graduate degrees, both, Masters and PhD's, from them. Several of my closest friends actually teach at Ivy League colleges now. Many are considered to be foremost in their chosen fields. And if I were to ask them, "Did you go to a prestigious preschool?", they would look at me like I was crazy, laugh, and then answer, "did you?". And I would have to admit, I never went to preschool, and even kindergarten is really just a blur. When we were four, we were far more concerned with dolls, Hot Wheels and Scooby Doo than what we should write about in our admissions essays. And we played with other kids, and toys, because we were, you know, normal.
Of the many people I know who attended Ivy League schools, almost none of them went to private school. Even fewer went to preschool. Yet they managed to get into the college of their choice and then go on to become lawyers, doctors, business people, scientists, teachers, professors, stay at home moms, artists, authors, actors, architects, engineers...anything, ANYTHING they wanted to be, they could become. Not because they went to an Ivy League, and certainly not because they went to the right preschool, but because they had the drive and the brains to do it. And along with that, very often they had parents who read to them, took them to museums and libraries and concerts, helped them with their homework, went to their school plays, watched their basketball games, listened to them and just basically supported their kids and let them know that they could do anything they set their mind to, or at least, they could try. And it didn't cost them $19,000 per year, either. So, I have to wonder, who's the guilty party here? Is it the school that let the kids play instead of learning to splice genes, or is it the mom who is more concerned with prestige and an elite private school education than she seems to be with her kid? Maybe if she spent some time with her own kid, her daughter would have perhaps passed that elusive private school test. I know, I know, that's what nannies and tutors are for, but still...we'll never know because it's too late, the kid must be half way to five by now. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, right? Another future ruined before the age of six. Will they never learn?