Public School Placement Consultants – The Next Big Thing?
Many urban school systems are so confusing—and so unequal—that some parents are hiring private experts to help them figure out where to send their kids.
Upper-middle-class New York City parents appear willing to seek out consultancy services, and spend a good amount of money in the process. While the costs are substantial, they pale in comparison to the $40,000 a year that a private school might require. As one well-off Brooklyn mother who has used these services noted, “It’s cheaper than private school.”
The people who hire consultants in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other major American cities are sometimes applying to private schools, but more often than not are upper-middle-class parents, who want to put their children into the best possible public-school district. These consultants thrive in cities where anxious parents feel they have nowhere to turn for answers and guidance.
One such consultant in L.A. encourages parents to gather a “minimum of 4 or more friends” so she can “answer all your burning public-school questions (think semi-private consultation) in the comfort of your home or office … Make it fun with drinks and snacks. Westside, Eastside, The Valley, Hollywood, and spreading.”
According to George Bohrnstedt, an American Institutes for Research fellow who recently spoke to Education Week, part of the solution toward closing the gap is ensuring the neediest students have the best teachers or that teachers working with those students receive adequate, additional professional development.
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