(NY Times) Private Schools Mine Parents’ Data, and Wallets

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shortly after she enrolled her 3-year-old son in a prestigious, $21,000-a-year Upper East Side preschool, Rachael Combe, an editor at Elle, received an invitation from the head of the school to come by for a visit. She assumed the meeting was to discuss how her son was adapting to the school’s curriculum.

Instead, the head of school explained that he was laying the groundwork for a new capital campaign, and that he had already received commitments from various families — some up to $1 million. Would Ms. Combe and her husband consider a gift of “even $25,000 to $50,000?”

Relentless fund-raising, be it for the annual fund, the spring benefit or the latest capital campaign, is as much a feature of private schools as small classes and diverse offerings. But with schools hitting the upper limits of what they can charge for tuition, consultants, parents and school heads say the race for donations has become notably more intense and aggressive.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance

5 Comments
Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. David Keller wrote:

I’m not sure why the NYT thinks this is news. I am bombarded with mail, email and phone calls from multiple institutions my children or my wife or I attended. As one wag said, if Osama Bin Landen had gone to college, they wouldn’t have needed the CIA; some develpoment officer would have found him on September 12.

March 28, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
2. evan miller wrote:

The only shocking bit is that anyone would be stupid enough to spend $21,000 a year for a pre-school!

March 28, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
3. Cennydd13 wrote:

And one wonders just exactly how these parents expect their children to benefit from attending one of these money-grubbing businesses (that’s exactly what they are)?  Are they going to be any better off than children whose parents aren’t financially able to send them to such schools?  I very seriously doubt it.

March 29, 10:19 am | [comment link]
4. David Keller wrote:

#3—I would disagree.  My son and daughter went to a private Epsicopal School and got a 1000 x better education than public education.  My son graduated, though my daughter went to 10-12th grades to an arts school, which while public, emphasised learning over recycling, revisionist history and sex education. The real write-off at expensive private schools is social, the competition for consumerism/conspicuious consumption and, sadly drugs and alcohol.  But every student goes to college and the really smart ones go to major colleges and end up with major careers, many with prestigious scholarships.

March 29, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
5. Cennydd13 wrote:

What does this tell the parents who can’t afford that $21,000 per year tuition?  That because they can’t afford it, their son or daughter won’t get the same quality education as the children whose parents can afford it, and it therefore puts their children at a social disadvantage…..the very thing which should be avoided like the plague, and which helps to create classism?  And $1,750 per month?  It’s ridiculously high!

March 29, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
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