Friday, May 23

DOE's changing admissions schedules prove costly, not just annoying

Parents have always known they are taking a risk when they put down a deposit at a private school while waiting to hear whether they've been accepted at their preferred public schools. But I didn't know until recently that they can be risking as much as a year's tuition — which can total as much as $20,000 or more. A story in the Times today describes a family who has been paying all year for a seat at the Little Red Schoolhouse that their daughter doesn't occupy, because she got into a citywide gifted program in June. By the time they notified Little Red, they had passed the deadline to pull out without having to pay the full year's tuition. Today on Urban Baby, users are vilifying the family for waiting so long to let LREI know, but earlier this week, readers there were worrying about the same thing happening to them.

Whether private schools would actually plan around the public school schedule if the DOE had a regular schedule is up for speculation, but a spokeswoman for an independent schools organization made a great point when she said in the Times, "Unfortunately, it’s impossible to collaborate on the timing with the public schools when the dates change every year." Of course, the DOE's changing schedules are problematic for lots of families, not just those considering private school.

I do question how familiar Susan Dominus, the story's author, is with the public schools in the Bloomberg-Klein era. She writes, "It would have been nice, from [the parents'] point of view, if Little Red, which ultimately forgave about $6,000 of the $26,000 tuition, ran itself a little bit less like a competitive business; but it would also have helped if New York’s public school system reliably ran itself more like one." Has she not heard that schools are businesses and their principals are all CEOs?


Anonymous said...

The private schools are NOT blameless in this game.

example: Catholic high schools changed their acceptance letters deadlines earlier to get 8th Grade families to commit to their program (late Jan) before Specialized High Schools (BTHS, Stuyvesant, Brx Sci, etc) offers seats to students (mid-Feb).

also: For a family trying to play BOTH side and then complaining, SHAME on them !!!

Many families (especially Title I, immigrants, ESL) do not have such options OR even aware of them. These are Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

"More than three months later, in June, they learned their daughter had also been accepted into one of three gifted and talented schools available citywide...."

Hmmm, am I missing something here? Did this family get their notification for a citywide school? Since G&T notifications are not out yet and won't be until June, how can the writer of this article say this? And, given that the number of seats for the three citywide schools is far less than the number of students eligible, this child may not have a seat at any of the citywide schools.

Anonymous said...

add to 12:56 pm post--

ok...i see my error, i misread the article. this was LAST year.

i hope i am not in a similar situation next year...

Anonymous said...

To Anon 12:56:

Read the dates in the article. They got the G&T notification in June 2007 - that's LAST year. She's already attending her first year at the public school right now, but the family has just made its final installment payment to the private school she didn't go to. All the hassles they're talking about in the article happened in the last school year, not this year.

Anonymous said...

Don't most private schools allow you to take out insurance that protects you from the loss of an entire year's worth tuition? Sure it costs extra but if you hope for public and keep the private as backup you sure should pay for it.

Anonymous said...

No 12:56 you are RIGHT. Even if this kid got a 99, there is NO guarantee she will get into a city-wide school. Her parents may be just as happy with a district spot. But my kid got a 99 and I am no way even close to sure that she will wind up in Anderson, NEST or Lower Lab.