Private School Financial Diversity

by NYC Firm Schools on May 11, 2009

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Lee Cohen

In discussing the article by writer Emily Listfield entitled, At Chic Upper East Side Schools, The Rich Are Still Really Different From You and Me, we talked about the picture she painted of the different economic backgrounds and diverse lifestyles of students in families within the NYC Private School Environment. One of the main factors in the article was the different understanding and reactions to difficult financial factors affecting the students and their families in the schools.

as so many friends lose their jobs and I worry about how to pay for college, the social and economic stratification in the school community seems more severe than ever.

I recently made the mistake of confiding to another mother at my daughter’s elite Upper East Side private school that I was worried about money. Instead of nodding sympathetically and commiserating about the financial crisis, she told me to stop obsessing and just take my nanny and daughter to St. Barths. Seriously. “That’s what I always do when I’m feeling anxious,” she confided. There were so many things wrong with that sentence all I could do was mutely nod.

What this small piece of the article brilliantly shows is the vastly diverse financial cultures that students and families will find in Firm Schools across New York and other cities. Yes, there are very, very rich families and students in these schools. The myth that there are only wealthy students, however, is truly a myth. The number of elite wealthy is far lower than most “private school stories” would have you believe.

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