The tutored rich

After paying for very expensive private schools, wealthy New Yorkers pay subject-matter and SAT tutors to ensure their children can compete for Ivy League colleges, reports the New York Times.

One mother paid $38,800 for tuition at Riverdale Country School and another $35,000 for a tutor to help her son through a single class, Integrated Liberal Studies.

Last year, she said, her tutoring bills hit six figures, including year-round SAT preparation from Advantage Testing at $425 per 50 minutes; Spanish and math help from current and former private school teachers at $150 an hour; and sessions with Mr. Iyer for Riverdale’s equally notorious interdisciplinary course Constructing America, at $375 per 50 minutes.

More than half of the students at the city’s top-tier schools hire tutors, the Times estimates.

“It’s no longer O.K. to have one-on-one coaching for sailing but not academics,” says Arun Alagappan of Advantage Testing, whose 200 tutors bill $195 to $795 for 50 minutes.

More and more, parents are hiring tutors to turn B+ students into straight-A contenders for Ivy League spots.

Gone are the days of a student who was excellent at math and science just getting by in English and history; now, everyone is expected to be strong in everything (including fencing, chess, woodworking and violin).

I noticed this when my daughter was at Palo Alto High. The top students were expected to take AP classes in everything — though I don’t think any of them had  tutors. I wonder if the college craziness has escalated in the competitive public schools too.

Michael Ruse compares intensive tutoring to athletes bulking up on steroids.

In London, Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin are advertising for a $100,000-a-year tutor for their children Moses, five, and Apple, seven, reports the Daily Mail. Slackers need not apply.

American Resident quotes the ad:

“The ideal candidate will have received a classical education, including Latin and Greek, and be familiar with such elements as the history of thought from a philosophical perspective. He or she should also be musically fluent and play at least one instrument well. In addition, language skills are essential and the Tutor should have fluent French and at least one other of Spanish, Italian, Mandarin or Japanese. The Tutor will also need to be fit and healthy, enjoy many sports and pastimes both indoors and out, including painting, art, or art history and drama, as well as sports such as chess, tennis, fencing or a martial art.” ….. when the tutor collects the boy from school, they might stop by an art gallery on the way home!”

Ex-Pat Tutor thinks it’s a bit too much to ask, even for $100,000.