So I initially reacted to this news story as “you gotta be effin’ kidding me.” But now that I’m more familiar with it, I’m thinking the mother does have a right to sue.
Nicole Imprescia, a mother of a four-year-old, is suing York Avenue Preschool in the Upper East Side for failing to prepare her daughter for the Education Records Bureau (ERB) Exam, which is required by many elite private schools in Manhattan. After only three weeks at the school, Imprescia pulled her daughter out and demanded a refund of the $19,000 tuition she paid. The school refused to refund her money stating there is a nonrefundable tuition policy that the school adheres to.
The suit alleges that the school perpetuated a “complete fraud” by not preparing students for the ERB and it proved not be a “school at all, but just one big playroom.” It goes on to say that four-year-olds were sometimes mixed with two and three-year-olds and were just learning shapes and colors (which is usually taught to toddlers at age two in most Manhattan daycares).
The suit also alleges that York Avenue Preschool ruined the daughter’s chances of getting into Ivy League School like Harvard and cites an article that identifies preschools as the first step of getting into Ivy League. Imprescia is seeking “exemplary damages, costs and attorney’s fees” but the suit does not specify an amount.
Now, in my opinion Imprescia deserves her refund. Her daughter was in the school for only three weeks of the school year and if a parent is not happy, they shouldn’t have to pay for a year’s worth of tuition to a school that a student will not attend. But in the other hand, a preschool is NOT going to determine a child’s chances of attending Harvard. C’mon, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Those preschools that advertise Ivy League acceptance rates forget to mention that their students’ parents are usally wealthy, highly-educated, and, most often, Ivy League graduates themselves. Yes, a good school curriculum can make a difference, but it really does come down to parent involvement, good child rearing, a sound and culturally enriched home, and parent connections (ahem, have you ever heard of school legacies? how else could George W. get into Yale?).
I’m human, and as an NYC parent going through Pre-K admissions right now, this is something I have to constantly reming myslef of: Yes, it’s important that we push forth on school reform, good curriculum and better teachers, but it’s not necessary to get caught up in this elite rat-race that NYC parents have created for children as young as two.
Parents, I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts. Is Imprescia right in suing? Are we NYC parents nuts?