New York City’s hyper-competitive public schools are infamous for the stress they inspire in parents, who spend thousands of dollars and lose months of sleep to ensure that their children win acceptance to the top schools. Clever entrepreneurs in New York are taking advantage of this situation by providing expanded tutoring programs geared specifically towards the state standardized tests that these schools use as admissions criteria. Even those who can scarcely afford it are finding room in their budgets for the extra classes, which can cost well more than $100 a session. The New York Times reports:
[C]ompetition for top middle schools has intensified as more families choose to remain in the city and others find themselves unable to afford private schools, and performance on fourth- and fifth-grade standardized tests is crucial to getting into one of those schools. So many parents — some wealthy, some not — are now shelling out hundreds and even thousands of dollars for tutors and for courses like the eight-week Saturday morning boot camp in TriBeCa. And that is on top of test preparation that almost all elementary schools now provide in class.
This is a relatively new phenomenon in America, but other countries have been at it already. Competition for top schools is now pushing American parents to do what parents in China, Japan, and Korea have been doing for a long time now.Like the push toward charter schools and homeschooling, the tutoring phenomenon fits into the broader U.S. trend of parents’ taking more control over their children’s education. Educators worried about job security during the decline of the big box school should take note: Parental anxieties in this increasingly competitive educational landscape represent a potential growth industry for those willing to tap into them.If you want to know how Americans will earn a living when the world’s manufacturing requires fewer and fewer hands, and routine white collar work is being automated and outsourced, look at fields like education. If the price is right, and sometimes even if it isn’t, demand for these services is going to grow.