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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Kitty View Post
    If you want a better look at the process, check out Nursery University - a documentary that was aired on Showtime among other places.

    Fascinating and scary all at the same time.
    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.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I've read several articles about this now, and there seems to be a lot of conflicting info.

    For example, she and her lawyer have been quoted as saying that the child was pulled out after two months. But a school spokesperson was quoted saying that the child attended for a full year. And somewhere else I read that it was most of the the year. Then I read that the child was only sometimes mixed in with younger kids, but that was not a regular occurrence. In agalisgv's link, it says it happened ONCE: "In one instance, plaintiff's daughter, who at the time was 4 - perhaps the most important year for a pre-schooler, just shy of taking the ERB - was dumped with two-year-olds," the suit says.

    What stands out for me is that she is suing about events that took place in 2009. That would mean her daughter has already taken the ever-so-important kindergarten test. I wonder if the child did not do as well as her mother expected. No one has said so, but what else is the mother going to use as evidence that the school curriculum wasn't demanding enough?
    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?
    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Kitty View Post
    If you want a better look at the process, check out Nursery University - a documentary that was aired on Showtime among other places.

    Fascinating and scary all at the same time.
    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    But as agalisgv's link said, they've acknowledged the falsehood--shouldn't they had given the money back at that point?
    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."
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  4. #44
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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.
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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    I have no idea what really happened though. The reporting is so fragmented.
    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?
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Have they actually claimed anything else?
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    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.
    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.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    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.
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    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.
    Actually, neither mother nor lawyer have ever been reported to have claimed that the child didn't get French, etc.
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 03-17-2011 at 03:21 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Actually, neither mother nor lawyer have ever been reported to have claimed that the child didn't get French, etc.
    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.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    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.
    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    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. #52

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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):

    16. In or about the fall of 2009, plaintiff considered enrolling her daughter into defendant's preschool program.

    17. Defendant claimed to plaintiff that defendant would prepare her daughter for the ERB, an exam required for admission into nearly all the elite private elementary schools.

    18. Defendant claimed to plaintiff to be a certified ERB testing site. Gardner, Failing at Four. New York Magazine (Nov. 15, 1999) (explaining importance of ERB and being an ERB testing site).

    19. Defendant boasted to plaintiff that it had a high success rate in getting its students into high caliber Manhattan elementary schools, both public and private.

    20. 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.”

    21. The website states further its “responsibilities as educators are to prepare our children to leave the school with a love of learning. Confidence, ability to express themselves along with the knowledge of the alphabet and number correlations are all mastered in the Fours/Pre-K class.”

    22. Most importantly, the website states that its “curriculum is designed for the specific age group: Twos, Threes or Fours. Included in the curriculum are age appropriate specials.”

    23. These representations were made to plaintiff and other parents who were also considering enrolling their children with defendant,

    24. Based on these representations, plaintiff and the other parents enrolled their children into defendant's preschool program.

    25. By 2010, however, it became obvious that defendant's promises were a complete fraud.

    26. Plaintiff's daughter, as well as the sons and daughters of the other parents, were dumped amongst each other, notwithstanding their age differences.

    27. In one instance, plaintiff's daughter, who at the time was 4 - perhaps the most important year for a pre-schooler, just shy of taking the ERB - was dumped with 2 year olds.

    28. Plaintiff's daughter was not being prepared to take the ERB as promised.

    29. At age four, defendant was still teaching plaintiff's daughter about shapes and colors - a two-year old's learning environment.

    30. In other words, there was no “curriculum designed for a specific age group” also as promised.

    31. Indeed, the school proved not to be a school at all, but just one big playroom.

    32. Plaintiff, as well as others similarly situated, had paid - up front - $19000 for admission each year based on defendant's representations.

    33. Plaintiff brought her concerns to the attention of defendant's administrators.

    34. The administrators acknowledged the falsehood.

    35. In the fall of 2010, plaintiff demanded return of that year's advance payment of $19000.

    36. Defendant refused to return her money.
    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.

    “It is no secret that for many Manhattan parents, getting a child into the Ivy League starts in nursery school,” Worth, For $300 an Hour. Advice on Courting Elite Schools, NYT (Oct. 25, 2000). “[G]raduation from one of the top tier preschools will open doors to the best elementary schools, the best middle and high schools, and on to the Ivy League.” Raschka, The Real Words: Nursery School Admissions, Our Town, Upper East Side News (Apr. 8, 2009). Studies have shown entry into a good nursery school guarantees more income than entry into an average school. Goldman, The Baby Ivies, NYT (Jan. 12,2003).

  13. #53
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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? It's just so informal.
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 03-17-2011 at 06:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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? It's just so informal.
    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.

  15. #55

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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. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    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.

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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?
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    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?
    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.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    The NAEYC recommends a play-based curriculum used with both small and large groups.
    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.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    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.
    Lovely. I wonder if this trend is going to spread to medical charting. The chart note is intended to be read by medical staff and not lay people.

    Thanks for the clarification, ArtisticFan.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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