$26,000 kindergarten

At elite private schools in New York City, kindergarten tuition now exceeds $26,000 a year. That’s not counting $5,000 for a coach who prepares four- and five-year-olds for private school tests and interviews. Or donations to the annual fund drive.

Tuition at one school has risen 70 percent since 1996-97; inflation has been 14 percent in those years. Isn’t there a recession?

About Joanne


  1. Wacky Hermit says:

    As my dad is always telling me, the price of anything is precisely that which the market will bear. So long as there are people out there willing to pay $26K for Kindergarten, there will be $26K Kindergartens.

    Joanne, are you trying to say that this is a shameful price (if people are willing to pay it, it is not), or are you trying to make a point against those who claim we are still in a recession (in which case this isolated school does not make an adequate counterexample)?

  2. $26K for kindergarten!

    Why, even with vouchers, I STILL couldn’t afford Georgetown Day!

  3. Bruce Cleaver says:

    Wacky Hermit is right – there is no intrinsic value, only that which people will pay.

    Still, I’d like to know what it is they think they are getting for that price….

  4. Considering that the failed NY public schools want $15,150 for a “basic” education, $26k probably isn’t too far out of line for an elite school. I’m sure a large part of the price is for parents to ensure that their precious little ones only associate with the “right” people from the very beginning.

  5. Kris Hasson-Jones says:

    I think it’s a great example of how high-income people transfer their money to lower-income people.

  6. I agree with Kris, but its scary when kindergarten costs more than my college degree.

  7. Right boo. Its just like real estate. You don’t pay a high price for who you live near. You pay a high price for who you don’t live near! Nobody builds a mansion next to a housing project (or trailer park). And nobody learns in a classroom full of delinquents.

  8. ***Julie*** says:

    Speaking as a teacher of those “delinquents”… it doesn’t matter how much money their parents pay, they will have that attitude, and be delinquents themselves one day, and our society almost guarantees it.

  9. I think it’s a great example of how high-income people transfer their money to lower-income people.

    I think it’s more of a case of people having more dollars than sense.

  10. I don’t live in New York, but hearing of such tuition levels lead me to ask, “are the public schools that bad?” I’m really not concerned, one way or another, if people from Wall Street who make $1 million or more are competing to spend that much money to send their kid to the “right” school. I am concerned, for my friends who live in New York, if tuition is rising due to increasing demand on the part of the middle class.

    In the opinion of one New York Post writer, Andrea Peyser, the New York schools are that bad. (http://www.nypost.com/commentary/15653.htm) The headline reads, “What choice do I have but to send my kid to a private school?”

  11. PJ/Maryland says:

    NYC’s public schools are a very mixed bag. In the outer boros, there are decent schools in most of the decent neighborhoods; this would be most of Queens and Staten Island, and good chunks of Brooklyn and the Bronx. Not to say your kids wouldn’t be better in a private or parochial school, of course.

    The $26k schools are in Manhattan. The majority of people living in Manhattan are either really rich, living in nice apartments or brownstones, or are very poor, living in cramped apartments in terrible neighborhoods. Because of the costs of living in Manhattan, the middle class is not the majority it is in most of the country. In fact, I would guess that a middle class family in Manhattan might find it hard to manage on less than $150k per year. The traditional pattern is that young singles live in Manhattan, and may stay after they get married, but move to the suburbs once they start a family. (There are more families in Manhattan than there used to be, tho, so there have been some changes.)

    There are some public schools in Manhattan that are very good, but you have to live in the right neighborhood. My impression is that most middle class families in Manhattan game the system to get their kids into one of these (ie they move to the right neighborhood for a couple of years until their kids are grandfathered, then move to a [somewhat] less expensive neighborhood). If you’ve got the money, private school is probably easier than working the system.

    I would note, too, that $26k sounds like a lot, but compared to $3k/month rent for a 1 BR apartment, or $100 for a basic dinner for two at a restaurant, it’s not so bad.

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  13. i think sarahs gay
    and 26 pinger is alot to pay for kindergarten. why not just stay at home for free?!

  14. Melissa’s right i am gay. And i also think it’s more of a case of people having more dollars than sense.