"The heartache, disappointment and frustration is so hard on parents who feel that they don't have a choice," said Luana Castellano, director of admissions at Polytechnic School in Pasadena. "But it's sad when parents put a child in a judgmental situation. Not one parent in the world should ever let an institution validate their child. The children are all wonderful."
This fall, Myra Kriwanek set out for an informational meeting on private school admissions for her sixth-grade son. But when the Westchester mother reached the meeting site, she discovered a mob scene.
"This meeting was the only opportunity for people to get information, but the numbers were so overwhelming and I could feel the competition," Kriwanek said. "There's a sale mentality, and I didn't want to get caught up in the frenzy."
Having survived the process with her daughter, now a ninth-grader in private school, Kriwanek is aware of the risks of throwing children into such a competitive arena.