Fancy Private Schools Are Just So American

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Photo: Eric Molina

Wealthy New Yorkers are famously obsessed with getting their kids into just the right very expensive private school, where they can study, say, Zen dance. But that's not the case for the many well-to-do immigrants who've moved to the city in recent years. According to the Times, Western European families living in New York are particularly turned off by the homogeneity of top private schools. They're pushing, instead, to get their kids into (good) public schools in places like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. Take the Rengier family, for instance, recently of Germany, who toured some of the city's best institutions.

“The kids were able to choose between seven different lunches: sushi and macrobiotics and whatever,” Ms. Rengier recalled. “And I said, ‘What if I don’t want my son to choose from seven different lunches?’ And she looked at me like I was an idiot.”

For the Rengiers, the decision was clear: Their son would go to public school.

“It was not the question if we could afford it or not,” said Ms. Rengier, whose husband was transferred to the city because of his job as a lawyer and tax consultant. “It was a question of whether it was real life or not.”

So now status-obsessed parents have another thing to be anxious about: that they're displaying a kind of hick New World provincialism by sending their kid to St. Ann's.