Did this article in The New York Times Magazine about a new school in New York City for the children of the intellectual elite make anyone else despair for the future of humankind?
Here is just a little taste of the self-caricaturing behavior of the high-flying parents–behavior with which, I hesitate to admit, I am not entirely unfamiliar as the parent of two children who attended private schools in Washington, D. C. and its environs:
A committee was created to manage events, like galas and book fairs and bake sales, even though, as a for-profit school, Avenues couldn’t hold any events that raised money. (Did Avenues even want book fairs, some wondered? That was debated, too.) A task force was formed to investigate the safety of the neighborhood after at least one mother fretted that her child had seen the upper outlines of a homeless man’s backside en route to a playground. The complaint became known as the butt-crack e-mail. Other debates waged over the classrooms (were there enough books?); pickup (it was mayhem); identification cards (the photos were too high-resolution); and the school uniforms (was anyone enforcing the policy?). “I think we underestimated the degree of their energy and creativity,” says Gardner P. Dunnan, the former Dalton headmaster and Avenues’ academic dean and head of the Upper School. “They would take over if they could. They are New York parents.”
Among the lessons I draw from this article: Americans are so worried about their children’s chances in our cut-throat meritocracy, that even those–maybe especially those with every conceivable advantage will still find material to feed their anxieties.