Mom Sues Preschool for Not Prepping 4 Yr. Old for Elite University

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by overedge, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    My nephew and his family live in an area of NYC with a large population of well heeled dual income families. When my niece-in-law got pregnant, neighbors nearly scared her to death about getting on the admission lists for certain pre-schools as soon as the baby was born. Well, they're not nearly as well off as some of the neighbors, so pricey pre-school and was out of the question. They still get quizzed often about their choice to use public schools. They're treated as if they enrolled their kid in some sort of fanatic cult school. Fortunately, they won the school lottery and got their kid in an EXCELLENT school which guarantees his brother a slot, too.
  2. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    It's all awfully confusing. I don't think that I have enough information to really form an opinion. But as agalisgv's link said, they've acknowledged the falsehood--shouldn't they had given the money back at that point?
    I finally got around to partially watching it. But even before I saw it, I knew unless I had unlimited income, I'd high tail it out of NYC as soon as my pregnancy test turned positive. Not an easy place to raise a child, that's for sure.
  3. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    The link said that the mother said that the school had acknowledged the falsehood.

    In the shark-infested waters of New York preschools, can you see a preschool director making such a foolish admission? Not that it couldn't possibly happen--maybe it did--but I think it's unlikely enough that I would like to know exactly how that acknowledgment was stated before I just accept what this woman says about the school.

    It seems to me that she wants her tuition back; she signed a contract saying that the tuition is non-refundable. Therefore, she has to prove fraud. I hope she has something better than "My child spent a day with two-year-olds and they dared to teach her colors and shapes."
  4. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Well, of course. If that's her only grievance, that her child spent some time with the little ones, even if it's a few weeks, I don't think she has a leg to stand on. But if it's the whole year (and how long did the girl attend the school? That's also confusing) and say, no French lessons, no test prep and doing 2 year old level activities instead, then yes, I'd say that's fraud.

    I have no idea what really happened though. The reporting is so fragmented.
  5. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    But what stands out to me is that neither mother nor lawyer have EVER claimed that the child didn't get French or anything else that was listed on the website.

    What they have said in every quote I have read is that:

    The school said that it offered separate curriculum by age, and the child was sometimes mixed in with children of other ages, although how often this happened is unclear.

    The curriculum was not what the mother deemed advanced enough--although she has never claimed that it was not what the school promised, only that it wasn't what she considered advanced enough for a four-year-old.

    Have they actually claimed anything else?
  6. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    You've read more than I, but aren't the reports comprised of quotes taking from the lawsuit filed? I wonder if it's a matter of a reporter taking select quotes instead of the mother not speaking to it.
  7. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I don't know. They appear to quote the mother; they definitely quote her lawyer, who is talking to the press

    The school has, to date, refused comment, except for that one comment somewhere that says the girl was in school the entire year.
  8. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Yes and who knows what is not getting reported. May be they didn't give the promised French lessons, may be they did. May be the kid was stuck with the 2 year olds for a day, may be for the whole school year. :confused:
    Actually, neither mother nor lawyer have ever been reported to have claimed that the child didn't get French, etc.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  9. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Quite true. But since that would be fairly explicit evidence of fraud, I would think both they and the reporters would jump right on that.
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Yes, it would. May be the reporters decided that suing for failure to prep for Ivy Leagues is a better headline? Does the suit actually contain this language, I wonder.
  11. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, it doesn't. That Ivy League thing was supposedly taken from one of the studies cited in the lawsuit that argued the importance of pre-K/K education could show effects through college, and even have residual impacts on things as remote as Ivy League admission stats. So it wasn't something the mother was accusing the school of.
  12. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I'm procrastinating, so I copied the text of the complaint. Here are the relevant fact allegations about the alleged fraud ("plaintiff" is the mother; "defendant" is the school):

    ETA: The only mention of Ivy league schools is in an introductory paragraph that provides background about how expensive and competitive nursery school admissions can be.

    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  13. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I lurve FSU, the best news source in the world. Thanks, reckless.

    My question is this: is the word "dumped" commonly used in legal documents? :eek: It's just so informal.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  14. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    Since I began practicing, the definite trend in legal writing has been to emphasize using more conventional language in documents instead of legalese. I sometimes give seminars on legal writing to our junior associates and tell them to assume that their average reader just has a high school education. I'm not saying that judges are dumb, just that you never know who will be reading your papers and how well-educated they are.

    It's also dangerous to assume that well-educated people have good vocabularies. Just the other day, I edited a brief and told two associates that the tone was too "glib." One of them later told me that they had to look up the meaning of the word. :wall:
  15. Yehudi

    Yehudi Well-Known Member

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    Has there been any studies done to show what percentage of kids at these prestigious nursery schools go on to the Ivies? I went on the website of Horace Mann to see if they had any statistics on where their graduates go. It seems that yes, their kids go to Ivies but there are also CUNY and SUNY schools as well. The prep school I went to was supposedly a feeder school for Ivies as well but we had just as many kids going to SUNY Buffalo and Binghamton as there were kids going to Harvard or Yale.
  16. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

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    A reporter wouldn't have written the headline unless it was a blog - then it is a blogger and not a reporter. Copy editors are the ones who write headlines. Usually it is after reading the story, but sometimes they just breeze over it and decide what headline they think is a good tease and what will fit in the space allowed.
    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  17. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I wonder what the suit is basing the claim that "colors and shapes" are a two-year-old's curriculum on. I don't see any reference backing that up, which is kind of funny. They cite newspaper articles as sources to back up the claim that preschool is important, but they don't have anything in there about specific curriculum standards except this:

    Defendant's website states its “curriculum is developmental and is based on the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and standards of the New York State Department of Education.

    The NAEYC recommends a play-based curriculum used with both small and large groups.

    I still think the real problem is that the child didn't do as well as expected on the ERB. She should have taken it between the fall of 2009 when she entered the school and the fall of 2010 when the mother asked for the tuition back. What else could it be?
  18. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    It could very well be that the well heeled mother is just embarrassed that her child didn't get into Miss Uppity's kindergarten despite spending $19,000. Of course, it had to be the pre-school's fault.
  19. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Yep. Both my kids went to a NAEYC pre-school and, in our case, the "curriculum" was what they call child-based, which means the teachers developed projects based on whatever the kids were interested in that week. :lol:
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Lovely. I wonder if this trend is going to spread to medical charting. :scream: The chart note is intended to be read by medical staff and not lay people.

    Thanks for the clarification, ArtisticFan.
  21. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    That was my reaction too, and I've never lived in a tiny town! Things must have changed!

    IIRC, kindergarten for me and my sister involved learning about colors. Yah, and we're total failures who never got into college...oh wait. :saint:

    This reminds me of when my mom had coworkers bugging her about what her secret was (since we both got into good private schools), so they could apply that knowledge for their kids in kindergarten. :eek: She wasn't kidding!
  22. viennese

    viennese Well-Known Member

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    All that time on the swings and monkey bars, and I still haven't broken into the top 25 rankings of World's Top 10 Burlesque Performers/Contortionists

    I'm suing.
  23. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I should clarify. There are definitely still terms of art and legal terminology in legal briefs, and the arguments require an understanding of the law. But the emphasis has been on using "plain English" in legal writing instead of the stilted legalese of the past. Briefs rarely have Latin phrases in them unless they are commonly known in the profession (per se, res ipsa loquitor, afortiorari, amicus curiae, etc.). Even more, you see a lot less of words and phrases like "heretofore" and "said agreement," and convoluted phrasing that the writer thinks makes him or her look smart, but results in an argument that is incomprehensible.

    I wish I could find one of my writing samples that I used to use for my lecture. It was a paragraph from the fact section of a real brief and started something like this: "Joe operates a business that is involved in the process of selling standard motor vehicles, not including vehicles of more than two axles or less than four wheels." I would have the associates rewrite the paragraph containing that sentence. You would be shocked at how few figured out that the sentence basically said "Joe sells cars" and could be rewritten that easily. (The rest of the document made clear that it was irrelevant that Joe did not sell large trucks and motorcycles, because the plaintiff claimed he had been defrauded when he bought a car.)
  24. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Add the Alphabet, and basic numbers to that, and you'd describe my experience in 1959!
    It was more about "social readiness" (Were we able to function as part of a group?) than academics.
  25. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Thanks, reckless. That makes sense.
    Ding ding ding ding! Bingo! IMO, first and foremost preschool prepares you socially, how to function in a group, how to take turns and respect one another, how to function in a classroom setting. And they teach letters and numbers while they are at it.
  26. DAngel

    DAngel Active Member

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    My 15-month-old nephew is learning "colors and shapes" in his baby school ;)

    Although, to me, "learning colors and shapes" is kind of vague... You can be in high school/college and be learning colors. :lol:
  27. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Or shapes.

    On another board I frequent, someone posted an off-topic question asking what a 13-sided polygon is called.

    Although she was asking on behalf of her 3-year-old.
  28. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I wrote a 10-page paper my senior year of undergrad about how polygons, polyhedra, and polychora are named. It was a serious stretch, but by moving into 4th dimension as well, I was able to make it a college-level academic paper. (This was a methods of mathematics education class, we drew topics that would be discussed in elementary school out of a hat, and were told to write an academic paper on them. It was bizarre.)
  29. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Yes, ITA. I am pretty sure the ERB includes a section on spatial awareness that uses colors and shapes to see if the kids can detect and predict patterns. I would think that colors and shapes would therefore be part of an ERB prep program.
  30. Andrushka

    Andrushka New Member

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    It's her job as a parent to ask for references,to actually drop by and observe what goes on and to talk to her own child and find out what she has learned. I had to check out various Pre-k programs last year and opted for the one my kids are in now,based on references(talked to parents who had their children in this school),on special days,I actually go a tiny bit early so i can observe and see if they really are teaching them something and not just playing,I find out from my kids what they have learned.In Feb. my youngest told me all about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln(presidents day lesson).It's also a parents job to prepare your children yourself,and not just rely 100% on a school to teach them everything.As far as suing,I pay on a monthly basis,not a yearly tuition.If she paid a yearly tuition and if there was anything in the contract she signed that stated there would be no refunds...well..sucks to be her.If there is nothing of that nature in the contract and she found out it was just one big play ground,then yes,I think she has the right to sue to refund what she paid in,nothing more.
  31. DAngel

    DAngel Active Member

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    That's one curious child :yikes::lol:
  32. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Apparently she had a coin in that shape and wanted to know the name of the shape.
  33. DAngel

    DAngel Active Member

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    That's one curious coin :lol:
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  34. nypanda

    nypanda New Member

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    Times have changed -- especially in NYC. My daughter is in kindergarten in in NYC and they are reading fluently and writing comprehension assesments in full sentences and paragraphs. She takes French, Piano, Chess, and just participated in the all-school speech tournament. Sometimes I feel like Tiger Mom, but all this counts when it comes to applying for (public) middle and high schools (like college applications in NY) which makes a BIG difference to college acceptance....another reason families flee NYC, I fear....
  35. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Speech tournaments in kindergarten? :scream: We had to do 20-minute presentations in 4th grade and that was the worst I'd heard out of all my college classmates/friends, who are all ridiculously smart, well-educated, hard-working young adults.

    These poor kids are surely in danger of burnout before they even hit high school! My cousin burned out in high school (she's since graduated from Harvard Law) and she's older than me so I'm sure they didn't go through all that stuff that early!
  36. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually surprised that different age groups were together at all. I teach pre-k in a child care center which has children ages infant to kindergarten. Every state has regulations regarding ratios depending on the child's age.

    For example, in New Jersey you have to have one adult for every 7 children at the age two level, one adult for every 10 children for the age 3 level and one adult for every 12 children for age four. And if you do put a three year old in the four year old class, the class ratio is then lowered as long as the younger child is in the class.

    I don't know how it is done in other schools, but in my school we never move a child down, a three year old will never go to a two year old class
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  37. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    ....:lol: probably because he/she was playing with a "Suffaagette's dollar", a real coing issued by US Mint couple decades ago, which is now a collector's coin that is 3+10-sided (tri-deco-gon).

    .... the kid probably asked "mommy, mommy, what kind of coin is this, it's weird...... ".
  38. victoriajh

    victoriajh Well-Known Member

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    actually a play based philospphy is quite widely used in early childhoood educaiton programs- It teaches MANY things - PLAY is a child's work.....:lol:
  39. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    It seems as though we are going "backwards" through history to the period when children were regarded; and expected to behave as, "miniature adults".
    Everything we learned about Early Childhood Education during the 20th Century is being ignored.

    If what nypanda describes is becoming the "norm", no wonder we have so many "confused" young people, and frantic parents!
  40. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

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    victoriajh and skatesindreams - THANK YOU! Play is how young children learn. Skipping helps kids learn to read (the ability to move the eyes up and down to stay balanced while skipping helps with following lines and a book,) tying shoes - as opposed to velcro - helps with small motor skills that helps with writing, and most importantly unstructured play helps kids learn to organize themselves, solve problems, and get along with other people. Slightly OT, but having your child totally immersed in hockey from tot to teen does not, contrary to popular belief, help him become a team player. He may be a team player, but he may not, and it is not related to the hockey. Having parents organize, drive, pay, and referee does not help kids develop the ability to work well with others and solve their problems. Yes, I'm ranting, but this is a pet peeve of mine. I read this book after my eldest was born http://www.amazon.com/New-First-Three-Years-Life/dp/0684804190 and it was totally freeing. I realized that just parenting my own kids and letting them be kids was okay. That my gut instincts were okay.

    Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program...