In search of the perfect middle school, New York City parents make the rounds of well-regarded public schools, checking out everything from classrooms to bathroom gossip, reports the New York Times.
After a 90-minute tour of the Clinton School for Writers and Artists in Chelsea, (Aimée) Margolis casually slipped away for what appeared to be a quick pit stop. She carefully occupied a stall, waited for a cluster of students to walk in, and listened.
“It gives you a glimpse behind the scenes,” Ms. Margolis explained of her sub rosa research. “At the tour everybody’s ready for you, everybody has a happy face. They say what they want to say, and you hear what they want you to hear.”
A 30-something woman hiding in a bathroom stall to overhear tween girls’ chatter is “creepy,” suggests Ann Althouse. And just imagine how the 10-year-old daughter feels seeing her mother’s antics in the New York Times.
The paragraphs on three girls’ criteria for a school made me chuckle:
“If it’s a really ugly color, I don’t like it that much,” Emma (Patterson) explained. Some school tour guides, she complained, are too focused on addressing parents’ concerns, which she summarized as “the academics are like collaborative and blah, blah,” and dismissed as “not as important as, like, having lockers and stuff.”
I hadn’t realized so many NYC public schools have selective admissions. According to the Times, some parents hire a coach to get their kids into the best public middle schools.