A.A. Bondy
American Hearts

Leaves in the Gutter

For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Oh how I do envy the poor people of New York City. The New York Times reports today on one of the many agonies of priveleged urban living that New York's working classes never have to face as they slumber, untroubled, in their quaint little hovels smelling of ethnic foods: Shall we send little Walker to public school, or private school?
It is a question that many upper-income parents in New York City wrestle with, and one that can make a politician with young children wince: Will your children be going to public or private school?
For parents with means who live in areas where the schools are failing, the decision to send a child to private or parochial schools is rarely complicated. But in neighborhoods with decent elementary schools and a liberal mind-set, the choice becomes more complicated. Parents wonder: by choosing public schools, are they doing the best for their children? By going private, are they turning their back on a public system that needs the support of committed parents?
The occasion for this timely and moving report is New York City Council speaker and mayoral candidate Gifford Miller's refusal, at a debate earlier this week, to commit to sending his children Addison and Marshall to public schools. (Addison, Marshall, and Gifford. Jesus.)

Taken together with RedEye's recent how-to on avoiding eye contact with rude mechanicals on the El (stare intently at iPod), I'm starting to sense a summer newspaper trend. I am disappointed, however, that the Times failed to note the most serious peril facing parents--and by "parents," I mean wealthy people who have children, of course--who choose public school: The awkwardness that can ensue when the Jamaican nanny's children attend the same school. And if they become friends, you get into a whole fox and the hound deal where eventually they're torn asunder when the nanny gets fired for trying on Mommy's perfume. It's best to avoid those situations entirely.