Officials at a popular lower Manhattan public school have outraged dozens of parents whose kids are wait-listed for kindergarten by suggesting that they consider a $16,000-a-year private school down the block instead.
In an e-mail to prospective parents, PS 276 staffers gave parents scant hope of landing an open slot while touting the opening of “The Learning Experience Children’s Academy,” a new private school set to open next week.
The sales pitch hailed the private school’s class-size limits of 16 kids, and noted that it models its program on the Department of Education’s “core curriculum” for kindergarten.
Unmentioned in the e-mail from parent coordinator Erica Weldon — on which PS 276 principal Terri Ruyter is copied — is the private school’s price tag of $1,600 per month for 10 months, with summers off.
Well, I guess this solution is better than the last one the DOE came up with - birth control for parents to keep the kindergarten population down.
But something the NY Post fails to mention is just how "hot" this new Learning Experience Children's Academy chain is - and indeed, it is a "chain."
Here's a press release from the company crowing over their new Manhattan location:
NEW YORK, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Learning Experience® (TLE®), the nation's top growing early learning academy for children 6 weeks to 5 years old, announced today it has opened its first Manhattan location. The newest TLE® Children's Academy, the 150th location nationwide, is located at 20 West Street, New York City, NY.
On the heels of a study released by the Education Department stating that nearly 5,000 children qualified for gifted and talented kindergarten seats in New York City public schools in the fall (22 percent more than last year), TLE's® Brooklyn location reported that 100 percent of its center's children that qualified for kindergarten passed the New York City Gifted and Talented test and 85 percent were already performing at the first grade level.
"In spite of, or possible directly related to our economic displacement, parents are stressing advancement through early education as a high priority for their children," says Richard Weissman, TLE® President. "Our nationally proven platform is best suited to instill preschoolers with the necessary tools for future academic and life successes."
The 9,600-square-foot state-of-the-art center in the landmark Art Deco building, formerly the Downtown Athletic Club in Battery Park City, Manhattan, will serve the growing demand of parents who wish for their children to be fully prepared for grade school, and beyond. The exceptional, high-quality curriculum - including yoga, early reading program Fun with Phonics®, sign language for infants, foreign languages such as Spanish, and manners and etiquette - has 90 percent of children enrolled at TLE® reading before the age of 4.
Averaging a center opening every 15 days, TLE® has a growth rate of 81 percent for the past 7 years. "We recognized the continuing demand for high-level preschool education in Manhattan and sought to bring our centers to key locations throughout the city for some time," said Mr. Weissman. "We bring more than 30 years of educational and business success to the market, which makes this a perfect fit for an established city."
Headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., TLE® is thriving and continues to be a leader in the advanced preschool industry with a mix of company-owned and franchised locations. In addition to the Manhattan location, TLE® has a prominent presence throughout the Tri-State area with over 60 centers in New Jersey, 5 in Connecticut, and 13 in New York, including one in Brooklyn, and several more scheduled to open throughout the 5 boroughs including Staten Island.
Gee, it sounds wonderful. I mean, who wouldn't love a school that offers yoga for four year olds.
And yet, I seem to remember that the DOE letter to parents with wait-listed kids stated how the Learning Experience Children's Academy stresses a "core curriculum," you know, like the Common Core curriculum the NYCDOE uses to indoctrinate, er, educate children for 21st century feudalism, er, challenges.
Is yoga for four year olds part of that "core curriculum"?
Or do you have to pay $16,000 a year to get that?
Oh, and you know what else I noticed about the Learning Experience Children's Academy?
It doesn't seem to be obsessed with standardized testing and test prep.
Indeed, they still have something call "playtime" on what they call Make Believe Boulevard, an indoor Main Street, USA playset that allows for socio-dramatic play.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but most NYCDOE kindergartens don't have this kind of thing anymore, do they?
I can't say for certain, but I just don't there's a "socio-dramatic play" component in the Common Core curriculum.
Not in between all that test prep and drills they're doing...