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This pampered private school elite can only lead to US decline

PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
edited April 2012 in Prep School Parents
No, I haven't gone off the deep end--it's a new Naomi Wolf essay.

As prep school would include day schools, some of our posters would have first-hand knowledge of the "pampering" she bemoans.

I think her vision of the "public school experience" is based on her memories of her time in school. Many of the features she deems pampering in the private school world are alive and well in our local suburban public schools. I'm also not convinced that the University of Arizona students she encountered in Mexico are exclusively private school scions.

I don't think the boarding school experience qualifies as pampering. YMMV, so...any opinions?
Post edited by Periwinkle on

Replies to: This pampered private school elite can only lead to US decline

  • neatoburritoneatoburrito Registered User Posts: 3,449 Senior Member
    Lest I think this woman has the IQ of a bedbug, I will assume that she is NOT lumping the boarding schools discussed on CC with the NYC school she refers to. If she does indeed paint them all with the same brush, I would challenge her to spend a term at Exeter and just see if she can find someone to hold her hand!

    The biggest problem I have is her balking at the idea that teachers work for the students. Ummmm.....they do. Or they should. I don't mean, of course, that adults should be subservient to kids, but yeah; their job is to help their students learn. This especially touches home because I am currently dealing with a group of teachers who literally FLEE the school at the end of the day as if they were being paid by the hour. When you couple that with evasive answers to questions asked in class, how are these kids supposed to learn? Ex of evasiveness.... Student: "Mrs. Blank, is a biufs the same as a wuiop?" Teacher: "OK"
  • STLmom23STLmom23 Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    Wow. I couldn't even finish it. We've only been through the application process thus far, twice, but I can say that in itself was a grueling, humbling, and character-building process for my DD.
  • RanabonaRanabona Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    Neato, you give her too much credit when you give her the intelligence of a bedbug.

    There is little rational thought in this article. In one paragraph the stay-at-home parents are spending time meeting with the administrators nipping "learning experiences" in the bud. A few paragraphs down, the parents are working such long hours that the school has to become the child's biggest source of emotional feedback. You can't have it both ways.

    Did she really look back fondly on the fall race riots at her school because it was an opportunity for a life lesson?
  • wcmom1958wcmom1958 Registered User Posts: 351 Member
    I know members of her family struggle, like the rest of us, with the question of what constitutes a good education and how to get it. She had a privileged upbringing and is committed to social justice and that's a conundrum for which she appears to have found a facile answer. Only problem is that she has the (bully) pulpit for her not-yet-adequately examined views. There are lots of people of a similar stripe who struggle with wanting a good education but not wanting to be lumped in with the "elites." I'm quite sure I would have a similar reaction to parent events at elite NY city schools. Does that mean I want my kids in classes of 50+ where they probably won't get the same PS education as we did 30 years ago? No. She's a big name. I hope other big names will show her some nuance.
  • opsops Registered User Posts: 818 Member
    There is nothing new subliminally inerting politics into education by the elite liberal media in bashing private schools. Spare Exeter the grief, just have her look at the waitlist(s) generated this Spring.
  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 5,661 Senior Member
    "The novels Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace attest to the fact that the American elite, until recently, understood that character-building, challenging experiences in high school were part of training "masters of the universe"."

    So death and mental breakdown should be the norm in high school?

    Most high schoolers these days work far harder than those in the generation(s) that preceded them.
  • CherryRoseCherryRose Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    "... these 'cotton-wool kids' are ill-equipped to cope with global competition."

    Um, ma'am? We faced global competition to just get into these schools. And that's just the tagline...
  • mhmmmhmm Registered User Posts: 1,192 Senior Member
    I am a parent whose three kids attended three of Manhattan's top private schools and one top BS. (top city boys schools end in 8th or 9th grade and you must transfer somewhere else, the girls schools go through 12th grade). I can attest to the fact that not one of those schools allow the kids to email the teacher, on any email other than the school email, and one of these schools allows the kids to email ONLY from the school system, during school hours. The teachers are allowed to email at any time. The only exception is a due date for an essay that some teachers collect only through the school email system and you are allowed to email those by midnight of the due date. Yes, the teachers are there for you - with small classes that is to be expected. You email/ask them after class to set up an appointment and they will make time to meet with you to discuss a problem, etc. That is why they chose to work at a private school, so that they can have a lively discussion with interested kids.
    No final grades? Change the grade on an essay? Yes, there are schools in the city, same as in LA, that do not have final exams or grades till HS. They would never be confused by NY parents at least, as the top academic schools. They do cost the same as others. Nothing wrong with it. They have some top notch students there as well, but the greater majority don't have as strong scores when they come into them. You ARE allowed to be not as smart as your next door neighbor, last time I looked.
    The funniest part of her article I thought referred to 'Bama. What? Children of the NYC elite? Im not badmouthing the school, but I doubt there are 10 kids from the private NYC community enrolled among the thousands of Alabama students. Also why is she calling a state college children of the elite. Another point to make would be - no way no how not even in wildest dreams would a NY kid be the top officer at a frat or srat in Alabama. Just cant happen. So the passivity she speaks of did not get its head start in my hometown ;)
  • DAndrewDAndrew Registered User Posts: 1,216 Senior Member
    ^^It is funny. Yeah like that is the best place to find a representative sample of wealthy pampered elites. The idea of "pampered" is shocking to me. I guess there could be some "nurturing" schools like that out there, but certainly not the BS I know of or the day schools mhmm's children are at.
  • ILikeTofuILikeTofu Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    ^^It's not Alabama, it's ARIZONA. For a scathing indictment of how AU does business, search YouTube for Declining by Decrees and watch. They buy students with high SATs into an exclusive Honors College. I expect a couple might come from NYC, who knows. Wolf's essay is fear-mongering at its worst.
  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 5,661 Senior Member
    Naomi Wolf attended Lowell High School, a San Francisco magnet school to which students are admitted based on prior grades and test scores. According to Wikipedia,

    "Lowell contains a wide-ranging and rigorous curriculum and is noted for its academic excellence and prominent alumni. The school has been named a California Distinguished School seven times and a National Blue Ribbon School four times.[4][5] Lowell is currently ranked 28th by U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools in America for 2010 and 49th by Newsweek's America's Best High Schools 2010 list.[2][6]
    The campus itself consists of a main three-story academic building with two extensions, a three-story science building finished on September 21, 2003,[8] a two-story visual and performing arts building with the 1500-seat Carol Channing auditorium, 13 Bungalows, a library, extensive arts and science laboratories, six computer labs, a foreign language lab, an indoor gymnasium, a dance studio, a weight room, an American football field, a soccer/multipurpose field and baseball batting cage, ten tennis courts, eight basketball courts, four volleyball courts, and a 1/4 mile (400 m) dirt oval."

    Gee, sounds like she really suffered...
  • mhmmmhmm Registered User Posts: 1,192 Senior Member
    Tofu,well I just showed the provincial NY attitude I guess about states west of the Hudson. Mea Culpa. Name of school aside, my premise still stands. Not many people who can afford 40k plus plus a year for 13 yrs will be much swayed by merit money in a non target school.
  • education1steducation1st Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    @mhmm - wow, I am not from the South but your attitude assuming that those from NY "no way no how never in their wildest dreams" be an officer in an Alabama frat or srat sounds like a pretty deep and ridiculous geographical bias. Just saying. There are, amazingly, many brilliant, gifted, hard-working, top kids from all over the US and beyond, not just from the NE.
  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 5,661 Senior Member
    I believe mhmm was addressing the fact that Wolfe seemed to be trying to connect the dots between the privilege she saw in Manhattan private schools and the rampaging U of Arizona students she encountered. Mhmm pointed out that Manhattan prep schools are not exactly feeders for U of A (either one). His/her comment did not address the quality of education at these institutions or the quality of students who attend them.

    That said, I would challenge you to find the University of Alabama on the college matriculation list of pretty much any of the elite Manhattan prep schools. Doesn't make it a good thing or a bad thing, just a true thing.
  • education1steducation1st Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    @Sue – I have not read Wolfe’s article so perhaps read the comments out of context. My point wasn’t to evaluate matriculation data from various universities or challenge that information. I was merely pointing out that the comments seemed negative and appeared to assume that the NY schools and the kids therein are above admittance to, let along participation in, schools from other parts of our country. There are many kids and parents who read these posts and people face bias/prejudice based on so many factors. It seems that, as a nation, we should be long past the geographical issues. Apologies if I misread the intention behind the post, but perhaps if I did so then others did as well so I just wanted to respond to the comment.
This discussion has been closed.