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Kindergarten: The New Harvard

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Guest blogger Ronda Kaysen: Manhattan tots are finding themselves shut out of the city's elite kindergartens, even after making the cut at the best pre-schools in town.


While most industries are reeling from the economic downturn, Manhattan's private schools--which charge upwards of $30,000 a year--are flush with parents pounding the doors. Competition is so steep, the admissions process rivals that of the Ivy Leagues, says the New York Times.

Count a baby boom, parents with larger families staying in the city and the wealthy getting wealthier among the reasons why parents are finding their progeny rejected from every private school they apply to.

The situation has gotten so dire that Mandell, a preschool on the Upper West Side, opened an elementary school this year so its lost lot could have a place to call kindergarten. The school received 50 applications for 25 spots. It opened a second 25-seat class and 100 more applications poured in within 48 hours.

If these kids can get into kindergarten, getting into Harvard will be a walk in the park.

In other parts of the country, moms are waiting in line at 5 a.m. trying to get in the local public school. What has happened to just signing them up? Are you fighting to get your kid in kindergarten where you live?

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Suzanne August 13, 2008, 12:48 PM

In NYC there are only a certain number of slots for each grade and if you don’t get in early enough you may not get into your local school any more. It’s even worse for pre-Kindergarten. I wanted my daughter to go to a UPK (pre-K funded by the city in a private daycare center) program at her daycare center and it is first come first serve there. I was there at 7am and I was still number 25! Fortunately I got her in but I’ll have to do the same for her sister in 3 years. Overcrowding is ridiculous but what other choice do we have?

foxymama August 13, 2008, 3:40 PM

Doesn’t seem to be as bad in LA - but my daughter was on a wait list for our community school…had to go to another one of the three elementary schools in our district the first half of the year. you are right - we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. schools are overcrowded, not enough teachers, class sizes increaing, budgets cut. it’s a hard thing to work through. i find the more parental support the school has the better off everyone is…administration, teachers, students.

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