Category Archives: Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Mother Sues Preschool For Failing to Prepare Kid for Ivy League

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?


Manhattan Universal Pre-K Info Session Tomorrow

This week is a busy one. Not only does this week kick off Lent for millions of Catholics around the world, it also kicks off the Universal Pre-K admission process for thousands of NYC families.

Monday was the first day for accepting applications and the process will last until April 8, the deadline to submit the application.

Given that pre-school tuition can cost up to $24,000 a year in Manhattan, a lot of parents, including myself, will be applying for slots.  Tomorrow, there will be a Manhattan Information Session at Louis D. Brandeis High School for city parents, which I hope will shed some insight and guidance on what to do, how to better my daughter’s chances of getting selected, etc.. Getting accepted to an NYC public Pre-K program isn’t a simple school registration process. It’s a competitive and dizzying ordeal to go through.

Case in point: Central Park East, a great school in East Harlem, had 157 applicants last year for the 18 slots it had opened. P.S. 158 in the Upper East Side had 341 applicants for 36 slots.

As if the odds weren’t challenging enough, preference is given to kids with an older sibling in the school. So parents like me who only have a single child have a slim to none chance of getting in.The second preference is applying to your zone. In my case, East Harlem, where slim pickings of good schools make it even more challenging for your child to receive a good education.

It’s a lot more depressing than it sounds.

Nevertheless, I’m taking the chance and hoping for a miracle that my daughter will be selected to go to a good school. For those of you parents who are fellow dreamers, click here to find out more.

Best of luck to everyone.