the price of privilege (and pine crest)

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Pine Crest School. Everyone (definitely not everyone) wants to send their children to Pine Crest. Some of my dearest friends (Alexandra from Straight Up and Dirty) attended Pine Crest. Actually, I’d say at least five, bordering on six depending on how you define “dearest,” of my girlfriends attended Pine Crest. The thing about private schools like Pine Crest is that kids never go there; they attend.

I know a woman. Her son was recently accepted to Pine Crest. I’ve heard this news from other women. I’ve heard that it’s only a matter of time until I hear it from her, when she thrusts the news up to my eyelids. This is very juvenile of me, but I’m already equipping myself with a response.

“That’s great. I hear they’ll pretty much accept anyone who’s willing to throw twenty-thousand dollars at a problem. Good for them. Good for him. Good for you.”

That’s just petty, a response anchored in jealousy. Only, I’m really not jealous. Do I wish I could afford to send both my kids to private schools and pay for their college years in full, of course. Would I even if I could afford it? I don’t know.

When affronted by this woman, I need a way to back her up. To keep her out of face. Why does it bother me so much? She’s not being malicious. She’s not mean-spirited. I want her to stop trying so hard to be important. Her telling people that her child got accepted to Pine Crest makes her feel important. I want her to know that she needs to read a self-help book and work on her self-esteem. It’s a book I more often than not find that I too need to read.

Still, something isn’t sitting right with me, and I don’t like how much I… I don’t even know how to qualify it. I just know that this feeling isn’t one with which I feel comfortable. I guess it’s her boasting that just makes me want to smack her, despite knowing her motivations behind doing so, despite knowing how insecure she is. I just wish I didn’t feel this.

What I want for my children is a sense of worldliness, the kind that usually only comes with travel. And that’s how I’d like to spend my money, on travel, taking my children on an African safari to witness a (natural – circle of life) kill. To walk the streets of different cities where they speak different languages. I don’t want them in a school filled with same, where there’s a sense of entitlement. And that’s Boca. People “show.”

Pull into the parking lot of B’Nai Israel in a Bently or a Rolls Royce, “with the attitude to match” I’ve heard. In New York City, a couple “worth” more would show up to school like everyone else. Backpack’s loaded, walk-in, be safe, have fun, done. Here it’s a production, an outing, with traffic directors and notes home reminding parents to turn off their cell phones and pay attention (you almost hit a kid for crying out loud).

Phil asked me the other day, “Why is it so wrong to shelter your children?”
“Like, what’s so wrong,” he asked in earnest, “with not being exposed to homelessness and poverty and crime?”

I thought about it. It’s the kind of question we don’t ask because we take diversity as a given, a good thing, a privilege and perspectives. Still, it made me think.

When I was in Hebrew school, our teacher, Mrs. Weiner asked us what we’d do if we heard screams—violent, shrill screams—coming from just next door. We’d call the police, investigate, make it our priority to make it stop. Right whatever’s wrong. “Why is it,” she asked the class, “that when it’s not happening in our own backyards, we allow ourselves to care less?” Out of sight, out of mind. You have your problems, I have mine. The urgency and care isn’t as immediate when we’re not experiencing it ourselves. Why is it important to care about the injustices happening elsewhere, why is it crucial to expose children to other ways of life? Not to be sheltered? Look at royalty, groomed to rule a country in which they’ve never really lived. For me, the answer is compassion and appreciation. Being thankful for our blessings, knowing (and truly believing and feeling) that more doesn’t mean better.

Why then, if this were true, wouldn’t I send my children to a poverty-stricken school? They’d learn that lesson early on, for sure. We want “the best” for our children, to give them every opportunity, an education they can learn and earn with their hands and senses. Not from books and lectures but in an environment that nurtures creativity, a patient environment, all because we don’t want our children to fall behind, out of the running, for them to be limited by something we did, something in our control and within our means to change. Because our children are up against the rest of the world, it’s why we so much want to give it to them. Only, I’m not buying that. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a competitive spirit, but I don’t see their world in comparisons, in a rat race, for a gold star or trophy wife. “Because our children are up against the world” is bullshit. They do not experience enough of the world.

Giving my children the world, at least in part, means not always giving them the world. For now, it means exposing them to that world, equipping them with skills and fundamentals, exposure and access in a nurturing, cozy, safe environment. My next challenge, as they move on to kindergarten, is deciding where we’ll find that world.

Oh, and for those expecting the price of Pine Crest… per child…

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten (full day)

Grades 1-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12



  1. Clearly you are struggling so I will be gentle here…there is so much waffling in this post, you could feed breakfast to every one of your readers. You keep saying you don’t care, when it is so obvious given that you chose to write about this that you DO care. You say that this woman will “thrust(s) the news up to (your) eyelids,” yet you go on to say that “She’s not being malicious. She’s not mean-spirited.” If she thinks this school is the best thing for her child, then who are you to judge her pride in being able to send him there, any more than you would want to be judged for not thinking that this school is right for YOUR kids?

  2. Welcome to Boca…..but of course the fee does include books and lunch, too. Wow. For 20K a year, I’m thinking you keep them for me and I only have to visit them on holidays. Maybe I’m jealous too that I would never be able to spend that much on school, but I would like to think that you can still educate your child without spending what some people make in a year.

  3. I bought my baby furniture second hand from a woman in Boca who was excessively fancy. She wouldn’t even let me in her house. She had her servants bring it all outside for me to see. She was bragging to me about her kids being in Pinecrest too and then told me it was a bargain at $18,000 for kindergarten and apparently you have to get on the waiting list while you’re still pregnant. I almost fainted. I guess they’ve raised tuition since 2010. I couldn’t imagine where people got that kind of money but then I found out she was one of the heirs to the Hyatt fortune. But I have to be nice. She let me have all the custom bedding for free and it’s really pretty. I think she felt sorry for me because my BMW is only a 5 series.

  4. You can’t like or hate something about someone else unless it’s something you like or hate about yourself, and whenever we point a finger there are 3 fingers pointing back at us. When I get ‘stuck’ and angry at ready to have snarky things to say about someone else, I tend to find that I’m really just trying to work a problem through in my own head – in a sense, talking to myself, to a part of myself that I’m not comfortable with. I think a part of you really does want to be like that woman, to send your kids to Pine Crest, and be able to brag about it, even though a part of you hates the idea of that. Kind of like how at one time you’d talk about going to ‘Columbia University’ on this blog and then poke fun at yourself for doing so. Just like I’m getting the sense that a part of you would love to be able to fit in and be the one everyone looks up to in Boca, but the rest of you hates everything about what it would mean and what you’d have to do to try to get there. And sort of like how I’m motivated to write this whole long comment because I see the same tendency to do the same thing myself, living in a glass house with stones ricocheting through my head. I know my tone in this comment probably sounds accusing and judgemental but to be honest, I’m leaving it because I know how it feels, to hate that woman so much that I want to tell the world about how awful she is, and I’ve gotten stuck there, and the only way out of it is to realise how it’s myself that I’m really talking to, myself that I’m arguing with. The part that I don’t want to admit that I have.

    1. A very perceptive response. Not sure if it’s true of how Stephanie feels, but it’s definitely true of me. There is another mother at my daughter’s kindergarten that just irritates me. She is always dressed amazingly, all she talks about is fashion and shopping and clothes and her shopping trips abroad and exactly what she bought. She dressed her gorgeous little girl in designer clothing and shouts at her not to get dirty while playing. I’m the kind of person who either likes someone, or is apathetic towards them. So why does she irritate me so much? Because a part of me wishes that I was as beautiful and slim as her, as well dressed, and had as much money to spend on my appearance. I also think it irritates me because I do invest in my appearance, clothes, hair, etc., but I still don’t bloody well look like her :-) And maybe because my little girls come home exactly the way they should, covered in sand and mud and paint and her poor little thing always looks sparkly clean in her DK frilly skirt.
      Anyway, like I said, thoughtful response :-)

    2. Author

      The only part I see of myself in her is someone I used to be when I was fat, in middle school, miserable and insecure. I bragged, and I hated myself for it. I still do it, from time to time, and when I catch myself and my enormous hungry ego, I at least realize, I’m self-aware enough to KNOW that the words that slipped out were covering for my own doubts and insecurities. I work on it. This woman has no sense, at all, of how off-putting she is. This isn’t someone who casually mentions something in passing, but is someone who will drive three extra blocks, just to stop her car beside yours at a light to tell you her son got in. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever done, and I cringe at the thought of ever coming close.

  5. Ah, education is such a difficult issue and you took it (and motivations) right on.

    Will be interesting to see what people come up with in the comments about this issue.

  6. My husband and I are engaged in this same discussion. Our daughter is still a baby, but we are planning to move to a larger home soon, and need to decide whether to pay more to live in a neighborhood with better public schools, or to send her to private school and have more flexibility on the neighborhoods from which we can choose. My concern about her attending a high end private school (aside from the astronomical cost) is that I don’t think I want her peers to be the uber-entitled rich kids that also attend those schools. I don’t want to send her to a public school in a very poor neighborhood, even though that would be the best way to expose her to the diversity I so highly value, because I don’t want her education to suffer. So, she will likely attend a public school in a “good” neighborhood. I think it’s the best compromise for our family.

    1. I don’t know where you live, but in my city sending your kid to a public school in a “good” neighborhood is the same as sending your kid to private school. Those property taxes keep the diversity you so highly value at a minimum. Or, the “diverse” kids’ parents don’t want to live in those neighborhoods, because there’s no one that looks like them. So, in the end, you have a bunch of entitled homogeneous kids hanging out.

      Having gone to (“attended”) one of those high end private schools, it was more diverse than a lot of public schools in the city or suburbs. But, again, I don’t know where you live.

      1. I live in Chicago. You are definitely right that my daughter won’t see a whole lot of diversity in the public schools she would attend, because the city’s neighborhoods are surprisingly segregated. But, at the private schools, she would be one of the poor kids by comparison (not spending her summers in Europe and winters in Aspen) and I don’t want that for her, either. The truly racially and economically diverse public schools in the city perform terribly, so they aren’t an option. There is really no ideal solution, hence the struggle.

      2. I went to Pine Crest myself. I don’t know the stats now, but when I went, it was definitely NOT diverse. I think there were 3 black kids in my class. I hope times have changed.

        1. Hola Muchacha,

          I believe there is a saying in my home town that accurately represent our situation:
          “tu trasero, azada, Leslie, lo que tienes que odias en mi escuela, parece un gringo harapiento.”
          This roughly translates to “the way you expressed your point is honest and amazing.” I, too, am a Pine Crest panther: I BLEED GREEN AND WHITE. I am currently getting offers from Princeton, Harvard, Stanford..etc. So please Leslie, continue your grammatically inferior point.

          Ben Dover

  7. I can’t relate to the mentality of your friend because I don’t live in an area where anyone is ultra wealthy (in fact, my friends do more ‘I’m so poor’ talk and getting something for a good deal is more brag worthy than being able to buy an expensive item). However, I do understand your frustration in dealing with that person. If it was ME, and it was a GOOD friend who did this, I would show enough interest to be polite….maybe asking a few questions and show some excitement for her. But, all the while, I would be fairly neutral about it as if it isn’t THAT big of a deal, except that she got what she wanted in getting into the school. If it was NOT a GOOD friend, I would listen politely and then either tell about your happiness of YOUR school choice (showing that you aren’t THAT impressed with hers) OR I’d just listen and then move on to another subject, which would show her that you aren’t into the bragging, one upmanship she likes.


  8. I have been teaching for almost ten years and I firmly believe that parents’ obsessive attempt to shelter their children is ruining the next generation. I can understand that a parent would want their child to live in a world with no pain or rejection but that is simply not reality. I have parents who want their children to never have to receive a bad grade, never come in second place, never experience constructive criticism and never suffer consequences for their actions. I try to tell them that it is a GOOD thing for their children to have these experiences when they are in a protective environment, like school, rather than when they are young adults in the less- forgiving working world. The fact of the matter is, even the most wealthy and privileged child will one day face the cold, cruel world, and the harder we work to shield them from it, the less-equipped we are making them to deal with it.

  9. I grew up middle class, attended working class schools where families struggled to provide food, clothes and healthcare for their children. This is where I met the most upstanding, hard working people of my life, and developed lifelong friendships. Went to college, rubbed elbows with the privileged wealthy. Much less of a life experience or relationship building. Now I am raising a toddler in a big city, where naturally we have a lot of crime, gangs, homelessness, etc. Every time we leave the house we encounter many homeless people asking for help, and mentally ill folks screaming the F word as we walk by. There is litter everywhere and drunks hogging the sidewalks. I finally told my husband, this is too much of the real world. The girl will be talking soon and asking why 75% of our neighbors are swearing and begging for money. I am afraid she will either become desensitized to their plight, or develop an “us vs. them” mentality and resent them. I’ve weighed the risks and benefits and decided that most likely she won’t be better off for being raised in this environment. We are hoping to move to a smaller city, with a better balance of socio-economics.

    I am fascinated with people and understanding the sociology of race, class, religion, etc. My observation is that the most dysfunctional, insecure, and ultimately unhappy people, are the privileged kids. My opinion is that, if your kid is still living in a bubble by college age, you have failed as a parent. These kids simply cannot handle the unfairness and unpleasantness of the real world. And as adults, they try to manufacture feelings of gratitude and humility, and get depressed because they don’t feel it genuinely.

    The most confident, secure, and accomplished adults I know have working- and middle-class backgrounds. Because there’s no better food for the soul than knowing that you absolutely earned your life’s accomplishments, and no one can take that away from you.

    Stephanie, you are teaching your beans exceptional kindness and empathy, and that will take them far in life, no matter what school they go to.

    1. I find this representation of wealthy and privileged verses hardworking and middle class reductive. I grew up lower middle class in a neighborhood where people often struggled to make ends meet and then later earned a scholarship to attend a college which was almost exclusively comprised of students from privileged backgrounds. This experience didn’t lead me to the same conclusions drawn here. Maybe you can see the strengths of people who share your background and appreciate their accomplishments more because you can relate to them. On balance, I have not found the successful middle class people I know to be more competent or secure than those accomplished people of other socio-economic classes, wealthy or otherwise. There are fine people in every socio-economic strata. The school of hard knocks is not the only means to develop one’s character.

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  11. I find this article pretty sad… It does nothing but disparage those who chose to spend their money on their most prized possession, their children and their education, as opposed to traveling, a bigger house, a new car every three years, etc.. Maybe teaching should begin at home, and a great message to start with is… Live and Let Live.. Without judgement, a message apparently lost on the author of this article… Sounds like a bitter gal to me!

  12. Gosh, you have smart readers. Loved reading all of the comments. I’ll try to keep mine short and sweet. My darlings started life in private school in the most ‘white bread’ neighborhood ever. They wore uniforms, had sandwiches with no crusts hand-packed with love, were dropped off and picked up every day in perfect comfort, happiness and oblivion. I loved it. Loved driving them there in my beautiful black benz…loved it all.

    Then life changed and private school wasn’t an option so we were faced with homogeneous public school in the upper middle class neighborhood that would keep them ensconced in white bread or the gifted program for the smart kids at the scariest, poorest school in the city.

    Long story short..two of the three darlings thrived in the IB program in the poor school. They are the two who are the most driven, compulsive, worldly and focused on world issues. They will be the world leaders, and we can be grateful they’re there. The other darling did NOT thrive there, and so we put her in the small private school where she not only kicked butt, but took names. She’s a quieter soul, a gentler one…the one who sat with mom, dad and me in the hospital a week ago tonight waiting for the awful to pass. The one whose sweet spirit will change the world.

    Every kid is different. Doesn’t matter where they go to school, necessarily. It’s much more about home. YOU decide their patterns. Happy mornings, good breakfast, school. Pick them up, snack, homework and then play. Dinner, bath time, bedtime. It is a formula that worked for me. Mama is happy…if dad’s around, make sure dad’s happy. Keep home the safe haven – a place of calm, peace, studiousness.

    $20,000K plus a year is just stupid for kindergarten, in my book. Think of the charities you could help. Think of the savings you could have. Think of the trips you could take. Think of all of the college that will fund! Stephanie – you’re providing the richness that most kids in this world will never have. I vote for poor public school and rich home life.

  13. For Phil: If you shelter your children too much, they can’t develop compassion. People are afraid of anything different. I live in SF and have watched tourists see homeless people who have cracked and bleeding feet for the first time. Their jaws drop. They can’t make eye contact. They can’t do anything to help make this miserable person in pain feel recognized as a human being. No, looking a homeless person in the eyes won’t stop them from being homeless. But I’ve seen homeless people cursing up a storm stifle their urge while waiting for a child to pass out of earshot. If a kid can’t feel bad for someone, then they won’t, without prompting, decide to offer them an extra orange, or stand up to offer their seat on a bus to a pregnant woman.

  14. Try this:

    “How wonderful! I know how much you were hoping for this!”

    Always err on the side of kindness.

    1. I LOVE the “how wonderful!” response idea, Sallie. I think that’s a great way to look at it, instead of making the woman wrong for it. That little brag might not be how we’d do things, but really, as someone else commented, no one’s hurt by it and Stephanie, you aren’t affected, so why wrap yourself around the axle over it?

      I think it’s admirable to want to give kids the gift of travel. I’m writing this (and blogging) from Morocco, which is turning out to be the trip of a lifetime. I wish my parents had taken us to foreign lands, but it was way out of their comfort level. I guess my question to Stephanie is, suppose you did take your kids to–let’s use Morocco. Wouldn’t you want to tell other parents “we just took our kids to Morocco and it was such a great experience!” Not really bragging. Or is it? It’s really all in your specific set of values and how you look at things.

      Which reminds me, and I’ve commented about this a few times over the years: Stephanie, I wonder why you and Phil don’t take an exotic trip or two? And model that for your kids even if they’re too young to go right now? I know you like the master planned community/country club life and to visit family, but it’s nice to step out and do some of this stuff while you’re young, and seems like you have the means. Just saying’. Have some of those experiences yourself…then take the kids when you are able. Nice to see a provocative blog post again. ;-z0

  15. Both our children went to private school. The older of the two was a “lifer”…K-12. The younger went to a public high school after K-8 in a private school. Sure, you’re going to meet braggarts like that woman (to be honest though, I never did here in the east coast private school belt because that kind of thing is gauche & we have so many schools from which to choose) but the bottom line is the education they’ll receive. Having had the experience of both, i have to conclude that private school is vastly superior in the rigid academic standards employed & expected of students. Tuition at that time wasn’t quite as high as today, but it wasn’t exactly chicken feed then either. If you lived “up north,” could afford the tuition, and were away from the realm of such women, would you do it?

    1. Author

      If I were “up north,” there’s no way I’d send them to private school, no matter how much money I had. Perhaps it’s where I grew up, but the public schools were exceptional. I never heard of anyone going to public school unless it was a Catholic school or a Jewish school (for children of orthodox parents, who kept kosher homes, etc.). It was never for the education because the public schools in the North (or at least the North Shore of Long Island) sent most graduates to top colleges. If you weren’t as much of an academic, the schools in the North could give you the extra help and attention needed. If you were smart or at least willing to work really hard (I fall into this camp), you thrived with the level of academic opportunities. There’s no question, I’d send them to public school up North. P.S. Both Phil (Stuyvesant) and I (Wheatley) went to public school. In another state up North, I might answer differently, as I’m not as familiar with the schooling (or the types of parents administration has to put up with). That is, if parents in Long Island aren’t happy, everyone’s going to hear about it.

      1. I like your post. However, I just wanted to mention something in response to this comment – not all schools in New York are good. For example, read “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” or “Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America”. That’s not to say the schools where you were were not good, they probably were but they are not created equal.

        1. I also wanted to reiterate what J said-the quality of public schools in New York vary drastically with location. Also, if I am correct, there is a test that is required for students to be admitted to Stuyvesant as well as other ‘elite’ public schools like LaGuardia in NYC so I don’t think it is considered a run-of-the-mill public school that accepts all students within the zones. Personally, I live in Brooklyn and I went to private school my entire life. Thankfully my parents could afford the tuition and the quality of education was much better than the public school I was zoned for. I actually think I was exposed to a lot of different cultures/economic classes through my school. Where I went to school, the neighborhood was mostly Brownstones and where I live is mostly single family attached and detached houses. When I would have friends over when I was younger, they used to be in awe of how large my house was even though theirs was probably worth twice as much as mine. I remember friends asking me if I was rich (which was never comfortable) and I would ask my mom and she would tell me that being rich is relative and that compared to Donald Trump we were poor.

  16. I’m not a parent, and I am not familiar with the ups and downs of Florida education.


    I believe in creative and imaginative parenting. With the right tools, you have the ability to give so much more to your kids than what the confines of “best” education have to offer.

    It’s no fun having the “best” dangled in front of your face. You can smell it, but you can’t have it. That’s when you remember that children are sponges, and as long as you are a loving parent who provides a supportive home where curiosities are fed and talents are nurtured, you’re doing it right.

    Good luck, Stephanie. I’ve been reading since 2005, and it’s crazy to be this far down the road with you.

  17. Jesus, who are these people who speak of money/brag about it? Really ‘rich’ people know better. Maybe the ones I met (as an upper middle class schlub, lol) were different. I second the people in the east who would balk at bragging (comment made above) as it’s so gauche.

    Anyway, interesting post. You do sometimes ‘brag’ on here, yes. And get called out for it. But you know what it is when you do it (now it seems?). This woman might have the most miserable, emotionally barren marriage and all she has is the bragging rights to show people her precious is in an elite school. So…let her do it. I say this as someone who also gets annoyed hearing braggarts. Then I realized if it’s insecurity (or borne of a lonely life/sadness somewhere) then I can let them have at it. I can smile, nod and listen and the ‘braggart’ will never be the wiser. Being the compassionate one willing to look past the temporary annoyance and realize it’s someone reaching out to connect (yes! even in a clumsy way such as bragging)and gain approval/be liked by peers is not that hard to do. it still grating to indulge these people sometimes? Hell yes. But consider it money in the karmic bank to let such things slide since no body is getting hurt in the end.. and a great teachable moment for the kids when they are older, too!

    Great post btw. Excellent. And Phil posed a great question too.

  18. OK, I will try to be nice. It really does sound like you are jealous. If you could easily afford to send your kids to a great private school and to college – you would. You just would. You might not drive three extra blocks to brag, but you’d do it and you’d excitedly tell your friends too.

    Also, all your talk of travel is annoying. I have traveled all over Asia, Central America and Europe. I made it a priority early in life and continued with kids in tow. Seeing entitled Americans in Asia is always…embarrasing. You have not traveled much ( I think?), so if you really want to travel with your kids – do it already.

    And be nice to that woman – if you wrote a post about it, it clearly has gotten to you. Don’t let your bitterness extend to her.

    1. Anon, I like the way you summarized Stephanie. Jealous, a braggart and not well traveled. I totally agree with your post.

  19. 25k is what a non-fancy, non-Montessori, just regular licensed full day pre-school costs in the outer boroughs of NYC. that’s not so Boca…

  20. To say that you don’t have a competitive streak but to be bothered by the woman’s bragging is contradictory, to me.

    If she were to come up to you and talk, at length, about her Precious Moments figurines, her homemade bras made out of burlap, or anything else you don’t care about… you’d just chalk it up to her being a crazy person and it would be out of your mind as soon as she was out of your sight.

    The fact that it resonates with you is indicative of something. We all have insecurities, but we can’t blame them on anyone other than ourselves.

    1. Author

      I disagree on this one. I would be just as wound up about her psycho stunts and obsessions about Precious Moments figurines. There is just something about HER that really gets me wound up, so it isn’t tied specifically to the topic of money or schools or prestige. A few people have discussed their own really strong anti- feelings about this woman, and we all have a hard time discerning what it is about her, exactly, that we can’t stand. I’m trying so hard. I think in part it’s that she’s AGGRESSIVELY OPINIONATED when no one asked her. She is pushy, very pushy, and she makes you confront your own feelings of “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” It’s an assault. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m trying. I have a hard time feeling pity because she is just always in your face. And she doesn’t let up. Ever.

  21. I have to agree with Anne. Here in SF that would be a bargain for private school. You would be lucky to find a good daycare for that. People everywhere go nuts about schools this time of year. I hope you find a school that is perfect for your family. Don’t begrudge someone else being excited about getting their child into the school of their choice.

    1. Author

      I just want to be clear on this. I have a lot of other friends whose children were accepted to Pine Crest, and I am happy that they are happy, truly. So “don’t begrudge someone else being excited about getting their child into the school of their choice” isn’t exactly a fair comment. Because it’s not someone else, anyone else… it’s her, this specific woman.

      1. I don’t really know where to start. Don’t you feel childish putting this out there where the woman could read it? For someone who claims to be so worldly and classy compared to the purportedly horrible people of Boca – this habit you have of calling real-life people out on your blog is incredibly tacky. In your shoes, I’d probably worry more about what exposure to your toxic marriage is teaching your children than about the local braggart who, at the end of the day, is probably just doing what she feels is best for her child. Where’s the sympathy or empathy in your planned rude response? Or in your Pottery Barn catalogue life do you only reserve those feelings for the homeless? And is the gated community/country club pool Disneyworld life you provide your own children really so worldly?

        It’s always great when someone claims their education was top-notch in a post with a glaring spelling error in the title.

        1. Author

          Do you really think I’m not smart enough to cover my own ass? Don’t you think I change enough details to spare feelings, if people were in fact reading? Come on. Give me some credit. Put it this way, for all readers know, I took a Florida school, but I’m actually writing about a friend in New York, who won’t shut up about getting her daughter into Trinity. See how that works? I get to the meat of the matter without revealing the details that are beside the point.

          1. You say you had a top-notch education but you spelled privilege completely wrong. Maybe if you had “attended” Pine Crest, this error wouldn’t have happened… Just saying.

  22. I know a couple of people like this and even though I know rationally that the aggressive behaviour is just neediness I struggle to have sympathy because they are just so draining. These vampires drain you instantly and sadly it takes positive energy to be kind and understanding, irritation comes for free.

  23. Sometimes I meet people who are obviously way above me on the income and worldly scale who pretend they are not so as not to “offend” me. I find this worse than people just speaking naturally about their lifestyles.

    I have a full and rich life without having their bank account, but I suspect they might not think I do when they tip toe around their second homes in France or fail to mention where they went on Summer break.

    The world is a big place with endless ways to live a good life. I won’t doubt my choices just because I come across people who made different ones.

  24. This discussion is a riot because the only thing I ever heard about Pine Crest is that Bethenny Frankel went there and I just assumed it was the kind of place kids whose parents didn’t want them around were sent. How funny to learn that it’s the Florida version of top NYC private schools. Take a step back and realize that you’re living in a world with screwed-up values down there and keep your own counsel.

  25. Hi Stephanie,

    I have a family member who went to Pine Crest for H.S. and I have nieces and nephews who go to equally expensive schools where we live, now. My husband and his brothers, too, went to these same (super expensive, prestigious) schools. Do you want to know something???? they didn’t turn out any differently than those of us who went to public school. We’re all about equally smart, successful, well read, and confident. I don’t think the Hops will miss out on a thing!

    Don’t sweat it. Just think about how much more financially secure you and Phil will be by saving $40K per year in POST TAX income. Listen to Sallie, who provided the best advice thus far. Be sweet and don’t think one more second about this.

    Kind regards,

    Mrs. Simon

  26. I had a feeling that Pine Crest was a front. First off, it’s not as great as it once was, and secondly, isn’t it in Ft. Lauderdale? That would be a heckuva drive for you.

    My parents provided me with world travel and a private education (I was a “lifer” as someone commented). And I am eternally grateful to them. They did what any loving parent would do and worked damn hard at the best possible life for their children. I may have to give them an extra big hug this weekend :) But I do believe that travel taught me way more than the private education. I miss and yearn for it.

    And I agree with 3 teens’ mom, every child is different. I, too, believe that its much more about home and not necessarily the school.

    I think someone else already mentioned it, but people with money never talk about money. At least that’s the culture I was surrounded by in those private schools I ‘attended.’ ;)

    1. Pine Crest may have been a front in her article, but I went there, I have multiple family members who went there, I now work there, and I have a child who “attends.” There are 2 campuses, the main on in Ft. Lauderdale and a second campus in Boca. I have lots of opinions about to the parents described in this blog, but I’m going to keep them to myself. I will say that as someone who moved from another part of the U.S. with fabulous public schools, my family was extremely let down by the public schools in Broward County. Unlike other parts of the country, private school is necessary in South Florida, and there are plenty of independent schools here that charge as much, or more than, Pine Crest…many of which are in Miami.

  27. Education is, indeed, more than money, and I think what’s great here is that you are entering into the debate. So many parents with means think private schools are the answer because they can afford it. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Either way, providing our children with those invaluable educational opportunities (travel, exploring nature, learning from history’s mistakes, socializing respectfully with diverse groups of people) is an equal part of the process. Thanks for getting this conversation started.

  28. I’ve attended both Pine Crest and a local public school in the same area.

    Honestly, I feel like both were quite enriching in their own ways. I feel children should have the experience of both private and public schooling…diversity at its finest. I’ve met all sorts of people attending both of these schools, & I’ve met great people in both.
    Education wise though, I’ve learned and retained a lot more from Pinecrest than any other high school I’ve attended. It’s expensive but I believe it’s worth the money. The have great teachers and people willing and wanting to see you excel in life…most of the teachers I had in public high school didn’t even care to know my name.

    Also, I’ve noticed that no one here talked about the scholarship program Pinecrest offers. My mother ended up paying only $8,000 of the $18,000 tuition was at the time, and we’re from a regular middle-class home.

  29. I’m a Pine Crest mom and I stumbled upon this post. I’ve got to say, my view of the PC moms was the same as yours…until I got there. Sure, just like at any Boca school, there are some flashy types, but most parents are low key, hard working and devoted to their kids – like any other group. Many parents are both working and can’t afford Europe. Many are involved in local charities – not to go to the parties but to give back. I drive a Toyota.

    I won’t speak for others, but I always tell my kids that most people don’t live like people do in Boca or even America. I don’t think PC kids are more sheltered than any other Boca kid. Many if my PC friends live in Broward where they don’t feel confident in the school system. Yes, braggarts are annoying, but this us vs them divisiveness is too prevalent in our society. Anyone could point at any of us and say we have it made for living in a house, having a reliable car, not needing food banks to feed our family. I know bc I worked with many such people professionally.

  30. I read this post and thank you for it. Here’s my experience….

    I have my children in private schools (Catholic) since pre K 3 and really loved the early years with the kids being in a small school and very sheltered. It’s a sacarfice for most of the parents to afford the school and we made many life long friends from the families that attend the school. I liked that the kids were required to perform charity, acedemically acountably, and taught morals. I have no regrets from K3-8. BTW our cars are Toyotas which we just traded after 14 years in order to afford the school.

    Now the negative part of private school, my daughter started a private high school and exposed to much more of the real world. I am having an adjustment check myself and realize that we did not equip her for what she has been exposed to. The mother in this post will soon find that by their teenage years, money simply doesn’t buy shelter for kids at private schools . Their will be kids that will negatively influence your child in any school. Having said this, for every one bad apple their are ten good ones. It’s tough knowing how far to shelter your child versus the freedom you give to your kids. I am now playing catch up teaching her the knocks that the real world will present her.

    In closing, don’t judge those who choose private versus public schools for their kids. Sure, some do it for bragging rights but most do it with the belief that it affords their kids a better education.
    Having said this we all know families with kids that are raised in the same house using the same parenting skills and one kid is super successful and the other is a disaster. I also know totally screwed up parents who produce outstanding children and i also know amazing people who produce the most screwed up kids. Be the best parent you can and don’t judge others choices. I like the “how wonderful” statement.

  31. Been there for 5 years … it was all good and well until you realize it’s a facade . We donated 10 grande and they said we were helping other children… listen for 40 grand a year ( nicole and dime on everything ) we expect them to listen to our opinion and expectations but we learned we wasted a good penny on a school that has an administration made of clowns… to each their own.. we are happier where we are now with kids.

  32. You paid the 8,000 thanks to people like us who donated but got nothing in return just saying… I hope it really goes well. My issue is administration is a joke.. hopefully that changes.

  33. Late to the party, but NEVER late for a good time! My daughter went to Pine Crest for 4 years of her highschool education. Stellar school! Although being from a middle class family, it was a bit much for us. Her father was a basketball coach and substitute teacher there for the 4 years she attended. Although this is an excellent private school for education, we experienced a lot of racial undertones at this school. So many I felt very uncomfortable there, even sitting beside certain African American celebrities, including NBA players and NFL players at several school functions for our children. Even tho all money is green, and Pine Crest prides themselves on “Diversity and Inclusion” this is all smoke and mirrors when it comes to the benefactors of this school. It’s a shame that people “Pay to Play” and families who have the money to donate should not have such an impact on how policies and rules are made for this institution. The mere fact that parents feel they can make the rules because of the donations they make tells you that this school is ran by the parents. Not by the faculty and staff.

    My ex husband was subjected to this behavior on many occasions because of students who wanted to start in basketball but were not good enough to start. He was even threatened by one parent who told him she would get him fired if her son didn’t start on the team. Although I’m glad my daughter got the experience she did, along with the education to match, she tested into the school. She scored high enough and was accepted. In both the State standard testing and Pine Crest’s testing. She played sports all 4 years of high school, and her father’s pay went towards her tuition costs. The donations given are a wonderful charity and incentive for students of all races and financial backgrounds to have the experience of a private institution. However, the money should not dictate how policies and treatment of staff and other students affect the overall experience. When you know better, you do better. People need to Stop with the racial undertones and threats because of the financial privileges they were either born into or inherited. All money is green. And spends the same. It’s all a matter of the will and intent behind it.

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