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(The New York Times)   Nurturing, caring and not-at-all helicoptery Manhattan parents hire tutors to get their kids ahead on the big entrance exam...for kindergarten   (nytimes.com) divider line 120
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6405 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Nov 2009 at 10:46 AM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-11-22 09:22:39 AM
Why is this such a bad thing?

People with money spend it so that their offspring can get ahead of those with less money.

This has become the norm in our society, from schools, to government (substitute the word "constituents" for the word "offspring"), to employment.

Of course, there is a downside to this approach. If the kid is not "gifted", no matter how much you tutor them, they aren't going to get in the "gifted" classes. In which case you go to Plan B: spend $20,000 to get them into the private school.

/stupid is as stupid does, regardless of how much money stupid has
 
2009-11-22 09:31:51 AM
Might as well get them used to the idea that school is full of standardized testing they may or may not understand.

/teacher
 
2009-11-22 09:42:01 AM
Whatever happened to letting kids be kids? The only test a kid should get in kindergarten is regular or chocolate milk before nap time.
 
2009-11-22 10:19:07 AM
superdolfan1: Why is this such a bad thing? People with money spend it so that their offspring can get ahead of those with less money...


I think some parents justify going overboard because they sincerely want their little Johnny to get the bestest possible education.

But I can't help but wonder how many of these Manhattanites are spending thousands to one-up everyone in their social circle, à la the business card scene in American Psycho.

/I Googled "gifted schools" and the most common search suggestion made me chortle.
 
2009-11-22 10:29:59 AM
The Dalton School? That's such a party kindergarten.
 
2009-11-22 10:49:23 AM
How dare they spend money on their child's education!

*outrage*
 
2009-11-22 10:51:32 AM
www.somerset.qld.edu.au
 
2009-11-22 10:51:38 AM
I thought it was moderately pathetic that people needed to take SAT Prep classes and waste all that money, but this takes the cake.
 
2009-11-22 10:52:17 AM
MY KID IS SMARTER THAN YOUR KID!
 
2009-11-22 10:54:25 AM
See its important that little whomever have the right sort of friends early these lifelong connections an entirely effect the level of hookers and blow he gets later in life.
 
2009-11-22 10:55:45 AM
Mierda! Can someone post the article? That damn site always wants me to register, and I refuse...

Anyone? Bueller?
 
2009-11-22 11:00:33 AM
These kids are so doomed when they hit the real world in about 20 years.
 
2009-11-22 11:00:49 AM
Minerva8918: Mierda! Can someone post the article? That damn site always wants me to register, and I refuse...

Anyone? Bueller?


">

Tips for the Admissions Test ... to Kindergarten
Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

At Bright Kids NYC in Lower Manhattan, a tutor asked Dashe, 4, which object didn't belong.
comments


By SHARON OTTERMAN
Published: November 20, 2009

Kayla Rosenblum sat upright and poised as she breezed through the shapes and numbers, a leopard-patterned finger puppet resting next to her for moral support.
Related
Times Topics: Tests and Testing | Education (Pre-School)
Enlarge This Image

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Meredith Resnick conducted a test assessment with Simone at Bright Kids NYC.

But then came something she had never seen before: a visual analogy showing a picture of a whole cake next to a slice of cake. What picture went with a loaf of bread in the same way?

Kayla, who will be 4 in December, held her tiny pointer finger still as she inspected the four choices. "Too hard," she peeped.

Test preparation has long been a big business catering to students taking SATs and admissions exams for law, medical and other graduate schools. But the new clientele is quite a bit younger: 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents hope that a little assistance - costing upward of $1,000 for several sessions - will help them win coveted spots in the city's gifted and talented public kindergarten classes.

Motivated by a recession putting private schools out of reach and concern about the state of regular public education, parents - some wealthy, some not - are signing up at companies like Bright Kids NYC. Bright Kids, which opened this spring in the financial district, has some 200 students receiving tutoring, most of them for the gifted exams, for up to $145 a session and 80 children on a waiting list for a weekend "boot camp" program.

These types of businesses have popped up around the country, but took off in New York City when it made the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, or Olsat, a reasoning exam, and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, a knowledge test, the universal tests for gifted admissions beginning in 2008.

Kayla's session at Bright Kids was an initial assessment; her mother, Jena Rosenblum, had not decided whether to put her through a full course of tutoring. She was considering it at the suggestion of Kayla's preschool teacher. "Even though we live in the West Village and there are great public schools, obviously, any opportunity to step it up a notch in caliber, we would like to try," Ms. Rosenblum said.

Melisa Kehlmann said her main concern was that her 4-year-old son, Adrian, would be shut out of the well-regarded but overcrowded schools in her Manhattan neighborhood.

"It's quite pricey, but compared to private school, which averages about $20,000 for kindergarten, the price is right," she said of the tutoring. "I just want the opportunity to have a choice."

Private schools warn that they will look negatively on children they suspect of being prepped for the tests they use to select students, like the Educational Records Bureau exam, or E.R.B., even though parents and admissions officers say it quietly takes place. (Bright Kids, for example, also offers E.R.B. tutoring.)

"It's unethical," said Dr. Elisabeth Krents, director of admissions at the Dalton School on the Upper East Side. "It completely negates the reason for giving the test, which is to provide a snapshot of their aptitudes, and it doesn't correlate with their future success in school."

No similar message, however, has come from the public schools. In fact, the city distributes 16 Olsat practice questions to "level the playing field," said Anna Commitante, the head of gifted and talented programs for the city's Department of Education.

As for parents doing more - like hiring a tutor - Ms. Commitante said she finds "anything else a little too stressful for young kids" but that "we can't dictate what parents choose to do."

There is no state registry or licensing for these services, but an Internet search turns up numerous companies with names like Another Young Scholar, Junior Test Prep and Thinking to Learn. Harley Evans, the owner of Manhattan Edge Educational Programs, raised prices this year to $90 a session from $65, but still has his maximum load of 70 children. Daniel C. Levine, the founder of Exclusive Education, based in Manhattan, said that a few years ago, 2 percent of his clientele were children under 6. Now it is about 10 percent.

"It's the same phenomenon as with the SATs: a gradual rise in test prep, until it becomes the norm," said Emily Glickman, a Manhattan educational consultant. "Given that the demand for high-stakes schools outstrips supply, that's what's happening."

Some of the thousands of students registered to take the gifted tests in January are also preparing at home. Bright Kids is selling a few hundred $90 workbooks per month, said Bige Doruk, the company's founder. Dr. Robin MacFarlane, who developed the Kindergarten Test Study System, said she was on track to sell more than a thousand of the $60 Olsat prep kits this year, though she advises parents against intensive cramming.

Tutoring preschoolers is not quite the same as drilling high school students for the SAT. At Bright Kids, Kayla was initially stumped by the visual analogy, but once the learning specialist, Meredith Resnick, explained that she was looking at a whole-to-part relationship, she easily found the right answer: a slice of bread. "You can see that when I scaffolded her, she knew it," Ms. Resnick said.

Children often have to be trained to listen to questions from strangers and to sit still for about an hour, the time it takes to complete the two tests.

"If their mind isn't keyed into listening, the whole question can fly over their heads," said one tutor, a retired teacher in gifted programs.

She spoke on condition of anonymity because she has administered the test for the city and wants to do so again.

"Some kids can do well without preparation, but children who are familiar have an edge," the tutor said. From an equity perspective, she said, "it's ridiculous."

Ms. Commitante said the city had not noticed any bias due to test preparation. For this year's kindergarten class, 3,231 students scored in at least the 90th percentile, the minimum to qualify for a gifted program, a 45 percent increase from the year before.

But that rise was attributable to "a variety of factors," including increased participation, she said: 14,822 took the tests, an increase of 19 percent. The percentage scoring 90 percent or higher rose to 22 percent from 18 percent.

"I would hope that parents make decisions around this program because they feel that this is an educational option that their child really needs, as opposed to, 'I have to get my child into this program because that's the only place where they are going to get a good education,' " she said. "I just don't think that's true - we have a lot of really good schools."

Correction: Nov. 20, 2009

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the study system developed by Dr. Robin MacFarlane.
 
2009-11-22 11:01:13 AM
Maxor: See its important that little whomever have the right sort of friends early these lifelong connections an entirely effect the level of hookers and blow he gets later in life.

There's also networking with the right fellow parents... good for your career and status. And, sending your kid to the right school so that she has the right tastes and up-to-date spending culture.

Yet, with all those intangible benefits these schools provide, it must be frustrating to know that there are kids who grew up in modular houses in Arkansas, went to mediocre public schools, and never set foot in a Kaplan, who manage to pull scores over 750 on their SATs.
 
2009-11-22 11:03:07 AM
It's a bad thing because it is farking kindergarten. This is a sick farking system. There is virtually no evidence that standardized testing or "elite" schooling for a farking kindergartener is of any value in predicting or improving outcomes, and what evidence exists is of arguable quality and would normally be discounted as coming from the very system it financially benefits. (Versus plenty of evidence discounting the value.) What few advantages may by some metrics be imparted to some of these children invariably fades within a few years, and is widely seen as simply a result of these childred been drilled to those metrics.
 
2009-11-22 11:05:21 AM
Why do parents today have to suck so bad?
 
2009-11-22 11:06:03 AM
That's right, I said it: childred
 
2009-11-22 11:07:14 AM
"It's quite pricey, but compared to private school, which averages about $20,000 for kindergarten, the price is right," she said of the tutoring. "I just want the opportunity to have a choice."
==================================================

$20000 for private school kindergarten?

Why, in the name of all that is holy, spend 20k on private school kindergarten?

If you have that much money to waste, give it to a goddamn charity or something.
 
2009-11-22 11:07:19 AM
Lawnchair: Maxor: See its important that little whomever have the right sort of friends early these lifelong connections an entirely effect the level of hookers and blow he gets later in life.

There's also networking with the right fellow parents... good for your career and status. And, sending your kid to the right school so that she has the right tastes and up-to-date spending culture.

Yet, with all those intangible benefits these schools provide, it must be frustrating to know that there are kids who grew up in modular houses in Arkansas, went to mediocre public schools, and never set foot in a Kaplan, who manage to pull scores over 750 on their SATs.


Isn't networking with the right fellow parents, and the culture all about a better class of hookers and blow for the whole family?
 
2009-11-22 11:08:52 AM
MPOM: It's a bad thing because it is farking kindergarten. This is a sick farking system. There is virtually no evidence that standardized testing or "elite" schooling for a farking kindergartener is of any value in predicting or improving outcomes, and what evidence exists is of arguable quality and would normally be discounted as coming from the very system it financially benefits. (Versus plenty of evidence discounting the value.) What few advantages may by some metrics be imparted to some of these children invariably fades within a few years, and is widely seen as simply a result of these childred been drilled to those metrics.

This "elite preschool" and "elite kindergarten" fad with the 3+ year waiting lists and the exams and background checks to get anywhere near the place is for the parents. So that the next time they're at the $6000+ a year membership country club eating $100+ each appetizers and getting smashed on wine produced when their grandfather was a twinkle in someone's eye they can brag about little Muffy and Buffy and how well they're doing in their exclusive elite preschool/kindergarten.

fred2blue.files.wordpress.com

Approves...
 
2009-11-22 11:09:05 AM
...costing upward of $1,000 for several sessions

Kindergarten here costs about $33K a year. Not sure how much I am going to worry about a few grand for a tutor.
 
2009-11-22 11:09:58 AM
jake3988: "It's quite pricey, but compared to private school, which averages about $20,000 for kindergarten, the price is right," she said of the tutoring. "I just want the opportunity to have a choice."
==================================================

$20000 for private school kindergarten?

Why, in the name of all that is holy, spend 20k on private school kindergarten?

If you have that much money to waste, give it to a goddamn charity or something.


You should see the 24k gold fingerpainting they do. :p
 
2009-11-22 11:10:06 AM
RTFA: "You can see that when I scaffolded her, she knew it," Ms. Resnick said.

WTF is "scaffolding"? FTI: "Scaffolding is an instructional technique whereby the teacher models the desired learning strategy or task, then gradually shifts responsibility to the students."

Oh, the kid's being led on. Just say that, Ms. Resnick. Have some honesty. And be sure to be in the room when the kid takes tests in the future.
 
2009-11-22 11:12:03 AM
Thanks, AgentKGB

TFA:
"It's unethical," said Dr. Elisabeth Krents, director of admissions at the Dalton School on the Upper East Side. "It completely negates the reason for giving the test, which is to provide a snapshot of their aptitudes, and it doesn't correlate with their future success in school."

We obviously have a Bell Curve supporter here. Intelligence is much more than just your genes, and training your child to be intelligent will certainly make him more so.
 
2009-11-22 11:13:17 AM
jake3988: Why, in the name of all that is holy, spend 20k on private school kindergarten?

If you have that much money to waste, give it to a goddamn charity or something.


$20K in NYC is not the same as $20K elsewhere.
 
2009-11-22 11:13:44 AM
Thank you AgentKGB!

So basically, this is obnoxious. Let the damn kids be kids, take it easy. There is plenty of competition to come once they get older!

Next will be more articles from parents complaining that their snowflakes are at an disadvantage because they can't afford to pay for these classes, etc.
 
2009-11-22 11:13:54 AM
jake3988: "It's quite pricey, but compared to private school, which averages about $20,000 for kindergarten, the price is right," she said of the tutoring. "I just want the opportunity to have a choice."
==================================================

$20000 for private school kindergarten?

Why, in the name of all that is holy, spend 20k on private school kindergarten?

If you have that much money to waste, give it to a goddamn charity or something.


Do you have any idea what a public school looks like in NYC?

As long as my tax dollars go to pay for stop signs in flyover states I will continue do as I wish with my kids education.
 
2009-11-22 11:14:03 AM
Fark it, I'm never having kids. There is no upside to it.
 
2009-11-22 11:14:57 AM
What does this tutoring entail? This is how you tie your shoes, this is yellow, when i put my keys behind my back they don't actually cease to exist. Thanks, that'll be $1000 schmuck.
 
2009-11-22 11:15:17 AM
The problem is that raw brainpower is not something that can be purchased.
 
2009-11-22 11:15:20 AM
I don't think it would be too bad if they made the tutoring fun, with games and songs. Although I don't see why you would hire a tutor for that. What adult can't master kindergarten level information?
 
2009-11-22 11:15:42 AM
Grey Street: Fark it, I'm never having kids. There is no upside to it.

Free organ banks?
 
2009-11-22 11:20:05 AM
Entrance exams for kindergarten? WTF?
 
2009-11-22 11:23:30 AM
Rosenblume,goldman , kowalski,silverman

i777.photobucket.com
 
2009-11-22 11:23:51 AM
Smarshmallow: $20K in NYC is not the same as $20K elsewhere.

The median household income in the 5 boroughs is $50403 (06-08 census figures). The median income for a full-time employed male is $44267. This is, overall, not even 15% higher than Des Moines.

$20k on the Upper East Side is not the same as $20k elsewhere. I'll give you that.
 
2009-11-22 11:24:42 AM
You're welcome :)

Grey Street: Fark it, I'm never having kids. There is no upside to it.

patdollard.com
Teenage babysitters?
 
2009-11-22 11:26:41 AM
this being a major news story is no good for me and my daughter...

my daughter is 4, and she can already read, write, add, subtract, and is starting to learn her multiplication table.

she is going to go insane if she is put in a class of kids who all still have yet to learn those things, she needs the GT program, but I am scared that all these rich parents with tutors are going to take that opportunity away from us. :(
 
2009-11-22 11:27:28 AM
Scorched Colon: Entrance exams for kindergarten? WTF?

It's been around for years and years. You don't remember a certain

www.dailycupoftech.com

saying "While you could hardly pass the entrance examination to kindergarten! I'll just give you the customary 2 minutes to say your prayers"

to Bugs Bunny back in the 60s?
 
2009-11-22 11:29:05 AM
drinki bird: this being a major news story is no good for me and my daughter...

my daughter is 4, and she can already read, write, add, subtract, and is starting to learn her multiplication table.

she is going to go insane if she is put in a class of kids who all still have yet to learn those things, she needs the GT program, but I am scared that all these rich parents with tutors are going to take that opportunity away from us. :(


Keep her away from the paste eaters...

On a serious note, your daughter does sound very bright and a more advanced class is probably a good idea to keep her from getting bored.
 
2009-11-22 11:30:25 AM
It's their money. Whether you like it or not, getting into a private pre-school with good ratings gives your kid a leg up, both in terms of quality of education and in terms of connections coming up through the grades. That can be the difference between a decent job and a great job.

There's also a bit of game theory involved here. Since everyone else is getting tutoring, people feel the need to have their kids trained by professionals to put them in the same position. All in all, I wish I owned a tutoring business, looks like they can clean up in this kind of situation.
 
2009-11-22 11:31:34 AM
"You can see that when I scaffolded her, she knew it," Ms. Resnick said.

Why don't you have a seat over there.


/i think a lot of these parents were the ones that sat around eating the paste
 
2009-11-22 11:31:47 AM
Lawnchair: Maxor: See its important that little whomever have the right sort of friends early these lifelong connections an entirely effect the level of hookers and blow he gets later in life.

There's also networking with the right fellow parents... good for your career and status. And, sending your kid to the right school so that she has the right tastes and up-to-date spending culture.

Yet, with all those intangible benefits these schools provide, it must be frustrating to know that there are kids who grew up in modular houses in Arkansas, went to mediocre public schools, and never set foot in a Kaplan, who manage to pull scores over 750 on their SATs.


I've got an acquaintance who pulled his kid out of the same public school that mine attends so that he could enroll her in a private school. He pulled her out of the top public school in the city, and perhaps the region, to enroll her in a private school that is about as good, and is paying $5000 a year in order to do so!

The bad thing is that if you ask him what she's learning there that she wasn't learning in the public school, he doesn't have an answer. Yet he swears that the education his daughter gets is head and shoulders above what she would have received. The only benefit I think they get is that he likes to brag that he cares so much about his kid's education that he's willing to spend $5000 on it.

Hope he never reads that one chapter of Freakonomics.
 
2009-11-22 11:34:02 AM
Fengen: in terms of connections coming up through the grades.

Connections!? In farking grade school ????
 
2009-11-22 11:34:17 AM
Fengen: It's their money. Whether you like it or not, getting into a private pre-school with good ratings gives your kid a leg up, both in terms of quality of education and in terms of connections coming up through the grades. That can be the difference between a decent job and a great job.

There's also a bit of game theory involved here. Since everyone else is getting tutoring, people feel the need to have their kids trained by professionals to put them in the same position. All in all, I wish I owned a tutoring business, looks like they can clean up in this kind of situation.


Would you really want to tutor 3 - 4 year olds for 12+ hours a day?
 
2009-11-22 11:34:31 AM
I think the disturbing aspect of trying so hard is that this has to put to put undue strain on those children and does so with little education benefit.

I can envision a family who 'sacrificed' a trip to Europe or some other luxury item and giving the non-gifted child a ration of crap about it being a waste because the child didn't try hard enough. Let's face it, no matter how smart your child is, someone has a smarter child. Hereditary genius is also in strong dispute. I'd bet a buck that many of the very wealthy in NYC are not geniuses. Even if they were, they would be very unlikely to produce genius children. The biological link to passing genius is suspect at best.

A growing and probably more practicable usage is to refer to children of this sort as "gifted" and to make a distinction between profoundly gifted children, those in the upper 0.1 percent of the general population, and moderately gifted children, those in the upper 10 percent of the population.

cheap fast references
 
2009-11-22 11:35:11 AM
Lawnchair: The median household income in the 5 boroughs is $50403 (06-08 census figures). The median income for a full-time employed male is $44267. This is, overall, not even 15% higher than Des Moines.

$20k on the Upper East Side is not the same as $20k elsewhere. I'll give you that.


Alright, yeah, I meant Manhattan specifically, my bad.
 
2009-11-22 11:36:55 AM
TsukasaK: Fengen: in terms of connections coming up through the grades.

Connections!? In farking grade school ????


I think they mean that your little Billy or Suzy will make friends with someone and if their friend's mommy or daddy happens to own a company and gives your child a cushy job on a silver platter later on in life well...
 
2009-11-22 11:39:20 AM
I mean these kids need a leg up when applying to Harvard or Yale.
 
2009-11-22 11:43:11 AM
Fengen:
There's also a bit of game theory involved here. Since everyone else is getting tutoring, people feel the need to have their kids trained by professionals to put them in the same position. All in all, I wish I owned a tutoring business, looks like they can clean up in this kind of situation.


It looks like the progression of steroid use in bodybuilding.

First, it was the guy who worked the hardest in the gym and who had the best genetics who won. Guys whose genes weren't wired for that kind of muscle growth started roiding to be able to compete with them.

The orignal winners caught on to that and started roiding to maintain their edge over the other guys, and they were back where they started -- the guys who worked the hardest and had the best genetics won.

This high-class kindergarten prep shiat looks to be another fallacy of composition in the making.
 
2009-11-22 11:43:14 AM
 
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