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Rich Rants About Pre-School Applications

Here's the latest "rant" from Senior Producer Rich Fisherman, who brings you "The Call" every morning:

You think you’ve got problems in these tough economic times? Try getting your kid into pre-school in New York City.

One of my colleagues is trying to do that right now and has good-naturedly expressed her frustrations. She has a two year old son whom I happen to know is a normal, fun loving kid.

But it seems to be harder than you think to get him into pre-school. As part of the application process, one school is asking for an essay of "not more than 2500 words," and, it cautiously adds, make sure to use spell check. “Really," I asked? "They expect your 2-year-old to write an essay AND spell all the words correctly?" She said it was for her to fill out, not him. But she did add that she frantically called her husband, who is on a business trip in Dubai, to ask what pre-school he went to. Must be a legacy thing.

She showed me some brochures and applications. At one pre-school, the brochure proudly says, "At our school, children play. Tuition: $19,000." It proclaims that its children speak many languages. Gee, my kids who are full grown only speak English. But, then again, they only went to public school.

In another application, the school wanted to know what previous school experience her son had, and if her child has any special interests or abilities. I mean, the kid is two years old! According to another brochure, when an application process is received, a family meeting is determined by lottery. Talk about winning the lottery.

She’s only at the beginning of the process. With tuition around $20,000, and the economy hurtling toward a deep recession, I asked her if the competition has lessened. She waved me away with the flick of her hand. She was too busy filling out applications.

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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