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Getting your kid into a decent preschool, with “decent” dependent on a certain set of socioeconomic, cultural, and often status-based “ideals,” has long been a harrowing, horrible New York City tradition. Enough so that British publication the Daily Mail, writing about the most recent case of New York City “preschool insanity,” actually used a clip from the more than 20-year-old film Baby Boom to depict said insanity. The Daily Mail was referring to the current case of a mom who has sued her kid’s preschool because it may have irreparably compromised her four-year-old’s chances at getting into an Ivy League college.
As the New York Post puts it,
Nicole Imprescia is suing the $19,000-a-year York Avenue Preschool, saying her daughter, Lucia, was forced to spend too much time with lesser-minded two- and three-year-olds when she should have been focusing on test preparation to get into an elite elementary school.
Now, as obnoxious and horrible as that sounds, Imprescia may have something of a point, if a misguided one. She claims that the school promised her it would prepare Lucia for the ERB exam, which is required for admission into “nearly all the elite private elementary schools” (yuck). And she says it did not do so, instead functioning not as a rigorous academic institution but instead as a place for fun! Well, that is unacceptable, especially at these prices.
“It became obvious [those] promises were a complete fraud,” the suit says. “Indeed, the school proved not to be a school at all but just one big playroom.”
Of course, Imprescia is not a teacher, and, it sounds like, not much “fun” either — nor patient. Lucia was pulled from the school after three weeks and put in a Catholic school where, presumably, the nuns will take no nonsense. The lawsuit comes in because the school won’t give Imprescia back the $19,000 she had to pay up-front for her daughter’s admission. The school’s lawyer says there’s a no-refund policy (partly, you’d have to imagine, to prevent just this sort of behavior among parents suddenly dissatisfied with their toddler’s perceived lack of progress at elite nursery schools).
But this kind of thing has been going on forever, as long as pushy parents and pageant moms have existed, which is to say, always. Imprescia is only of interest, really, due to her gall in announcing to the world her high-minded expectations for her child, and then actually suing for her money back based on the premise that those expectations could have been destroyed in a mere three weeks’ time.
But, one has to wonder whether that $19,000 might be well used for family therapy down the road — especially when Lucia begins to question Mommy’s scant faith in her ability to surmount the obstacle of having a sub-par nursery school.
Then again, the family’s lawyer had this to say, via the Daily News: “Lucia Imprescia, for the record, will get into an Ivy League school — York Avenue Preschool notwithstanding,” said Mathew Paulose, of the firm Koehler & Isaacs. “The child is very smart and will do well in life.”
So, wait, what’s the problem?
Here’s how a slightly more self-aware Manhattan mom, writing on the Upper East Side Moms blog, described the preschool process back in 2006.
The preschool process …..Is this a joke!!!!!!
Ok as a mom to a 20 month old it is now crunch time for me. On the Tuesday after Labor Day between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. I will be calling for applications for up to 12 upper east side schools. Because the process is so challenging I have enlisted my Husband, Mother and Mother-In-Law to help me out on the phones. If I get 9 applications out of the 12 that I am shooting for that will be super cool. Then comes time to set up the interviews or tours. Hopefully on the day of the interview with each school my daughter will be on her best behavior. Is Jocelyn supposed to answer questions like: Tell us three qualities that you would like to change or Why does Jocelyn see herself as a good fit for this school??? Hopefully Jocelyn can show off some of her many 20 month old talents like the double handed nose pick that day or how about the get off my slide hit. I can’t wait to find out in March after our interviews which schools feel Jocelyn is a good fit for them.
Tot’s ‘Ivy’ suit [NYP]