This week, the New York Times revealed that many affluent foreign families who move to New York are choosing to send their children to public elementary schools in New York City rather than private elementary schools. Typically, affluent New York families send their children to private elementary schools. The Times reports that “a large majority of wealthy foreign-born New Yorkers are sending their children to public schools, according to an analysis of census data.” The data shows that out of the 15,500 households in the city with elementary school-age children that have an income of at least $150,000 and both parents born abroad, 68% of those families send their children only to New York City public schools.
Shockingly, households with American-born parents who have an income of at least $150,000 send their children to public schools at only half the rate of foreign-born families in the same income bracket. The foreign-born parents claim that the reason they send their children to public schools is because it imitates real life, and that diversity is lacking in the private schools. Of course, these families are living in affluent NYC neighborhoods, but still choose to send their children to public school. As a result of this influx of foreign households sending children to NYC public schools, some public elementary schools in wealthier parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn are experiencing an unexpected increase in foreign-born students, especially Western Europeans.
“In interviews, affluent foreign-born New Yorkers said that like all conscientious parents, they weighed various criteria in choosing schools, including quality, cost and location. But many said they were also swayed by the greater ethnic and economic diversity of the public schools. Some said that as immigrants, they had learned to navigate different cultures — a skill they wanted to imbue in their children.” Simply put, the parents of foreign-born children want their children to have exposure to different cultures and also exposure to develop “street-smart” skills.
Bravo to the NYC public school system!