Inside the sordid world of tutoring kids of NYC’s 1 percent

Blythe Grossberg had been working with a 14-year-old scholar named Lily on a paper about “Romeo and Juliet.” Grossberg, a writing tutor and studying specialist, was glad with the accomplished task, wherein Lily argued that 13-year-old Juliet ought to have married neither Romeo nor her dad and mom’ selection, the good-looking and rich suitor Paris.  

Lily’s mom, Lisa, a banker who spent a lot of her time crusing off Nantucket, Massachusetts, didn’t take care of the essay’s central thesis. 

“My daughter doesn’t know anything,” Lisa stated to Grossberg. “I mean, what does she know about love? For her to write that Juliet shouldn’t have married Romeo, it shows her youth, doesn’t it? Her teacher will tear this to shreds. To shreds!”

This incident, which led to Lisa badly rewriting her daughter’s paper in between finalizing multimillion-dollar enterprise offers, is only one instance of the pushy cluelessness of the dad and mom Grossberg encounters as a instructor of the kids of New York’s higher crust.

In her new guide, “I Left My Homework in the Hamptons: What I Learned Teaching the Children of the One Percent,” (Hanover Square Press, Aug. 17), Grossberg notes that for the 1 percent, their kids’s pre-college schooling has only one goal: getting them to the Ivy League at actually any price. Grossberg, a Harvard graduate with a doctorate from Rutgers, has tutored for nearly 20 years, and retains her charges set between $125 and $175 an hour. Some tutoring firms cost anyplace from $300 to $800 an hour.

Book, "I Left my Homework in the Hamptons" by Blythe Grossberg

“The college-admissions process is the drawn-out Super Bowl of high-stakes parenting. There is winning and losing and nothing in between,” she writes. “There is endless strategy and conniving. And the outcome — which college a kid gets into — is a referendum on the entire season, meaning their entire upbringing.”

The intense educational strain on these kids of the 1 percent — the common annual earnings of households at the personal faculties the place she taught is round $750,000 — usually begins once they have barely realized easy methods to stroll. 

“When I work at a tony Manhattan private school, pre-kindergartners in formal clothing show up with their extremely well-dressed parents to interview for kindergarten spots. It seems like a lot of pressure for a preschooler,” Grossberg writes. 

“I see parents yelling at their kids outside the school — I am never sure if that is pre- or post-interview. The parents, in their power suits or designer dresses and heels, look steely and determined.” 

Discussing a scholar named Sophie (Grossberg modified names and generally created composites of a number of folks), the author notes that the team-building effort to get her into an Ivy League faculty started in ninth grade.

“To [these] parents, every kid is Tom Brady. Every kid is destined for greatness, if only they can find the right team,” Grossberg writes. “If a kid isn’t heading for Yale, it’s because the team isn’t right.”

Sophie was recognized early with language-based studying difficulties. Her rich dad and mom hid them from the lady’s college for worry that her poor efficiency would result in her dropping her spot, spending massive quantities of cash to skirt the concern.

“They had gotten her into [a prestigious school] in kindergarten, and they wanted her to stay put,” Grossberg writes. “They had already spent $20,000 on a school consultant, and Sophie had been tutored as a 5-year-old to take the modified intelligence test that the school used for admission.”

Throughout Sophie’s college years, which noticed her dad and mom spend tons of of hundreds of {dollars} on personal tuition, she handed most lessons with the assist of tutors. Her dad and mom stored her status and placement intact by unfairly blaming any difficulties on her academics, creating “smoke and mirrors around her daughter’s academic performance and the real reasons behind it,” writes Grossberg.

Blythe Grossberg
Blythe Grossberg, a Harvard graduate with a doctorate from Rutgers, has tutored for nearly 20 years.
Ryan David Brown

Before being employed to work with the ninth-grader, Grossberg needed to be vetted by the lady’s college-consulting group, as if making use of for a high-pressure company job.

“We are trying to balance Sophie so she is stretching herself but is still successful,” a marketing consultant named Noelle informed her. “We are trying to help Sophie really reach.”

To do that, they signed Sophie up for summer season programs at Columbia — just a few STEM (science, know-how, engineering and arithmetic) programs and obscure historical past lessons, and one in playwriting “to make her seem well-rounded.”

For some of these kids, although, grades and check scores don’t actually matter so long as their dad and mom can write checks.

A scholar named Trevor suffered from dyslexia and a spotlight deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD), and acquired poor scores on his standardized exams regardless of working with tutors. But that didn’t cease him from securing a placement in the Ivy League, as his father “made a beeline to the development office,” in accordance with one of his different tutors.

“[The dad] kept writing checks,” the tutor informed Grossberg, “and the (*1*) each child is Tom Brady. Every child is destined for greatness…” 

Blythe Grossberg

“Lily has friends who don’t even know where their parents are at night,” Grossberg writes, “and there are parents who call their kids at 10 p.m. to tell them they’re in another city and won’t be back that night.”

In one case, Grossberg had by no means even met the mom of one of her tutoring college students, and was stunned to see the lady at some point at the household’s Fifth Avenue duplex. But when she tried to have interaction the mom about her daughter, Grossberg was interrupted by photographers. The mother was not there to lastly focus on her daughter’s schooling, however to star in a Christmas photograph shoot for a nationwide journal. 

Still, there’s one occasion the place Grossberg will hear from a mother or father each time — if a scholar receives any grade lower than an A.

“One mother, whose son received a B+ in a math course, called the school, bubbling over with rage,” Grossberg writes. “ ‘We have sacrificed for years to send our son to your school,’ she told the head of the school. ‘And it wasn’t to get Bs! It was to get into the Ivy League!’ ”

Grossberg describes the kids as being “like the teddy bears made by Prada — fluffy and cute yet also stylish,” but in addition notes how they will get into dearer hassle than most kids.

“Two of [one student’s friends] are in hock to a bookie for debts related to online gambling. No matter, of course,” Grossberg writes. “They fret for a bit and then sell an $800 pair of shoes for the $400 to pay off the menacing bookies.”

But whereas the progeny of the 1 percent have unbelievable benefits, there’s a pronounced draw back to having a lot using in your success as a toddler.

“For years, poverty, discrimination, and trauma have been known risk factors for adolescent mental health. For the first time in 2018, another factor joined the list: high-achieving schools,” Grossberg writes. “Children raised in high-pressure schools run the risk of psychological disorders and substance abuse . . . this means the children of the one percent are subject to risks even in the context of what looks like benign, supportive environments.” 

Grossberg sees that the reply to that is easy, however unlikely to transpire: Uber-rich dad and mom ought to simply let their kids develop lives naturally like the relaxation of us, with out having to comply with such a inflexible path to the Ivy League.

“I have never understood why the children of the affluent are not allowed to chart their own course through life,” Grossberg writes. 

“Many of them will have the freedom and money to choose, in theory, any path they want, but they are instead steered toward a limited roster of choices. In these kids’ lives, every moment is transactional.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.