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Ivy League-minded mom sues preschool for $19,000

A bicyclist walks by Langdell Hall, the Harvard Law Library, on the campus of the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, Aug. 1, 2005. Black-robed for two centuries, the Supreme Court justices could be sporting a new color next term: crimson. That would be to honor Harvard Law School, which if John Roberts is confirmed, could make an unprecedented boast: five of its graduates serving on the high court simultaneously. A sixth justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, attended Harvard Law but finished her degree at Columbia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


Is it play time or Harvard prep? A New York mom is suing her daughter's preschool, claiming that the place was no more than a "big playground' teaching mere shapes and colours and therefore damaging her kid's educational future.

In court papers, Nicole Imprescia suggests York Avenue Preschool jeopardized her daughter Lucia's chances of getting into an elite private school or, one day, the Ivy League, according to the Daily News. Mom is demanding a refund of the $19,000 (U.S.) tuition and class-action status for other toddlers who weren't properly prepped for the standardized test that fancy elementary schools use to judge children.

"This is about a theft where a business advertises as one thing and is actually another," said Mathew Paulose, a lawyer for the outraged mom.

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"They're nabbing $19,000 and making a run for it."

The case raises a number of issues. Most educators will agree that shapes, colours and playgrounds are, actually, the kind of education the under-5 set need and thrive in. And though $19,000 sounds like a lot of money, that figure's not far off what many Canadian parents of children are paying for daycare. Most alarming, then, is the promise of grooming for tests that set the trajectory of a young life. On this point, even Harvard alumni are dismayed at the news.

Under a news story on the case at The Harvard Crimson, Sandy comments: "Unbelievable. I went to Harvard. I didn't even go to preschool. Instead, I played with friends and somehow made it through kindergarten and beyond. This woman - actually, the entire culture she represents - is nuts. Finally, going to Harvard is no guarantee of anything. There are as many jackasses per capita in Harvard as out."

Is this New York mom over the top, or is she caught in a culture that needs a major correction?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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