Before the 1970's and 80's, NYC private schools were almost exclusively white and wealthy. With desegregation, schools became increasingly diverse. Today, many private schools enroll a class that is at least a third nonwhite. At Dalton and Fieldston Lower Schools, the percentage is almost 50%.
Recently many NYC private schools have attempted to move from not openly discussing race, or having race discussed exclusively during racial affinity group meetings, to mandatory school-wide programs. Two recent articles illuminate this development.
Can Fieldston Un-Teach Racism? by Lisa Miller, New York Magazine
At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside, by Kyle Spencer, New York Times
NYC private schools, home of New York's wealthiest families, are racing to build new facilities and improve existing ones, using public money.
According to Martin Z Braun of Bloomberg Business, NYC private schools borrow through Build NYC Resource Corp., a city agency that facilitates nonprofits raising money through the municipal-bond market.
In his article NYC Prep Schools Binge on Debt to Lure Rich With New Pool, Labs, Braun explains that the schools later repay investors, who earn lower interest rates which they accept because the income is nontaxable. NYC private schools are eager to quickly improve their offerings, as today's parents are very demanding.
“It exactly parallels what is happening with colleges,” said Emily Glickman, a New York City-based private school admissions consultant. “If you have to pay a boatload of money, you want to get the most that you can. It’s hard to claim to be a really prestigious private school if your facility looks old.”
Avenues, a for-profit school that opened almost three years ago in a 10-story Chelsea warehouse, raised the standard for what a private Manhattan school should look like, said Glickman, the admissions consultant. With a bi-lingual curriculum of Spanish or Mandarin and English, it costs $45,350 a year to attend.
Braun details building projects going on at Riverdale, Fieldston, Saint Ann's, Packer, and La Scuola.
Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued by cities and other governmental entities to raise money to build schools and other projects for the public good. Is it a public good when only those lucky and wealthy enough to go to private school benefit? Mayor De Blasio's spokesperson says yes, because all this expansion means more jobs.
Parents with children of all ages, including, sadly, infants, regularly ask me about Ivy League admission.
As an alumni interviewer for an Ivy League school as well as an educational consultant who regularly speaks to college admissions experts, I carefully track what schools desire from applicants.
Elite colleges seek students who take the hardest classes their schools offer, earn superb marks, get top scores on standardized tests, are well liked by teachers, interview well, and show demonstrated and remarkable achievement in their areas of passion.
Unfortunately, the bar for admissions to Ivy League schools gets higher every year. In 2015,Harvard's acceptance rate dips to record low: 5.3% of an exceptionally qualified pool.
Other Ivy League and equivalent schools posted similar numbers. Many very bright students were disappointed by a process that may seem arbitrary and unfair.
As a parent, you want to enjoy parenthood. Spending your child's early years worrying about Ivy League gatekeepers can be a real killjoy.
Fortunately, we live in a society where graduates of all kinds of colleges can be highly successful. In fact, research indicates that going to a less prestigious college may increase your chances of graduating with a highly sought-after and marketable science, technology, engineering, or math degree. This is because when you're not surrounded by the best of the best who seemingly ace every course, you have more patience with your own learning curve approaching a new and difficult subject.
Ultimately, our goal is for our children to be happy, academically successful, and prepared to have an impactful, rewarding, and meaningful career. Happily this can happen at many colleges, both in and out of the Ivy League.
Frank Bruni and Malcolm Gladwell explore these points in their insightful books:
New York City private schools are adding more and better facilities to stay competitive with demanding families, just like the colleges.
Dalton, Manhattan Country School, Trinity, Collegiate, Chapin, Dwight, Avenues, Speyer, Heschel, Riverdale and more NYC private schools are seeking to or have already put on additions, created new buildings, and partnered with other institutions as they add more of what today's parents want, such as STEM education and better sports.
Local residents aren't always appreciative of these improvements. In The Wall Street Journal's Private Schools Seeking to Expand Face Opposition, Laura Kusisto and Sophia Hollander note:
Expansion pushes by several of the city's top private schools are meeting opposition from wary residents on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side.
If you're looking for a NYC international school for your child, you have more and more choices. From Manhattan's Dwight and the United Nations School, to the French, Italian, and British schools, the last few years have spawned Avenues, Leman Meritas, World Class Learning Academy, International School of Brooklyn and now New York International School.
As Sophia Hollander reports in the Wall Street Journal, NYC international schools may be international in name or community, but not necessarily in their use of the well-known International Baccalaureate curriculum: NYC International Schools Set Own Course. Hollander writes:
The so-called IB program—which was created in the 1960s to educate the children of ex-pat families living in Switzerland—has become one of the fastest-growing educational movements in the U.S., lauded for boosting test scores and improving college-admission rates. In 2014, more than 1,800 IB programs were offered in public and private schools around the country, up from 500 in 2004.
But several newer international schools in New York City have opted not to embrace the program, which they say is expensive and unnecessary for younger grades.
The rise of these international schools is coupled with the rise of for-profit schools, as Leman, NYIS and WCLA are all part of global for-profit educational networks. Avenues, with its NYC international school flagship, plans to build other for-profit sites domestically and abroad. The International Baccalaureate is expensive to offer, which surely impacts these institutions' decision.
Many international relocating families come to me for help choosing between these schools and established, city schools. For admissions help for your child, contact NYC's best educational consultant.
More NYC and Westchester schools now offer better and early foreign language learning, Avenues and the International School of Brooklyn as well as some other schools offer bilingual programs, and afterschool NYC foreign language classes and tutoring grow...all evidence of amplified parent demand for early foreign language learning.
As you begin to plan your summer, you may be interested in Danielle Pergament's Times article Making Language Immersion Fun for the Kids. Pergament writes:
But I also want my children to be true citizens of the world in a way that I have never been, even as a travel writer - I'm not bilingual. I want their comfort zones to be measured in time zones.
Pergament offers early foreign language camp and travel ideas, as well as advice about middle school and high school language programs.
Many of my successful NYC private middle school and high school client applicants have international experience on their resumes.