The article's point, that rich kids have a huge advantage in college applications, is no surprise. The author is, however, clueless as to the cause. From the article:
The academic gap is widening because rich students are increasingly entering kindergarten much better prepared to succeed in school than middle-class students.Well, no. The academic gap goes way beyond kindergarten. I live in an affluent area, and what I see is an entire industry geared toward coaching and packaging rich kids to produce good-looking college applications. Rich kids spend hours with tutors to learn how to write exactly the kind of essay that will score well on the SAT essay section. They take exactly the kinds of extracurriculars that colleges want to see. They are coached through every step in the application process.
There's an ongoing myth that rich kids succeed because their parents read them plenty of bedtime stories, teach them a good work ethic, and demonstrate commitment through a stable marriage. Pshaw! I say. Any of those factors might be important, but it's just the beginning of how rich parents push their kids to succeed.
What really toasts my biscuits is the assertion that rich kids get ahead because they're genetically superior, as shown by their high IQs. Are you kidding me? These kids are coached for the IQ test! That's how the gifted program in New York City works.
From the comments (as usual, better than the article):
from AlexJr60 of New York, NY:
Interesting article, but the writer's research obviously didn't include face-to-face interviews with parents of kids in elite private schools in New York and environs. The kids are programmed from dawn to dusk with every conceivable extracurricular coaching that could help them develop the faintest wisp of a talent of any kind. "Quiet Time" is a non-starter. They are trained to compete from the time they are toddlers; they are exposed to bright highly competitive classmates in school and camp and arts courses and language courses and on and on and on. Most of the parents start them on SAT-prep in the tenth grade. The really top preparation coaches earn as much as the kids' shrinks. The $165,000 income level cited, doesn't even come close to what is spent -- closer to that pretax, is the annual tab for a single kid in a private NYC school who goes to summer camp and has the usual lineup of extra help.from Minerva19 of Rockland:
We have had an SAT prep program open up in our community. It was not until we enrolled our son that I realized just what an advantage the wealthy have. It didn't teach more math or critical thinking. It taught him how to game the test, when to guess, when not to, how to approach each section. He was able to raise his scores 100 points.from Lois Kuster of Lynbrook, NY:
One critical factor that increases the standardized test results of wealthy children is outside tutoring. This is not tracked in studies. Private tutoring starts in the early years of school and continues throughout high school.and a reply from Eric B. of Oxnard, CA:
Your post is much too kind. "Private tutoring", which evokes images of young people sitting at home with a tutor, studying subjects in general, very often amounts to joining prep courses offered (at high fees) by groups who have discovered what questions will be on entrance tests and asked in interviews, so the three- and four-year-old children of those who can afford these prep courses can jump ahead of other children. Those of us in the lower classes call this cheating. The rich call us resentful of our betters.from lizzie848 of nyc:
I live in Manhattan and work with students on their college application essays. I happen to have a sliding scale and work with kids at all income levels, but the affluent students I work with all have SAT tutors, even the very very brightest of them, and their parents are willing to spend upwards of $300 an hour - and sometimes - so I have heard - $1000 an hour - for this kind of tutoring. I heard of one family whose tutor came to the Southampton summer house to work with the child, and was paid $1000 an hour for all of his time there. I heard of one family that spent $250,000 on tutoring for their child over high school.from Sharon of Leawood, KS:
So if a wealthy family hires a tutor to ensure their child does well on the SAT, how is that demonstrative of a "love of learning and study"? It's demonstrative of an attitude that success must come at any cost.from dclambert in NJ:
As a teacher in an inner city school & a private SAT tutor of the wealthy, I see this phenomenon on the ground.The "meritocracy" is a scam.
Wealthy families spend a fortune on their children's education & support in ways that would probably shock the middle class.They have tutors for each subject, hw coaches, etc. They invest at least one year in SAT preparation.