The 10 Most Expensive Preschools
Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. Imagine a day at school spent speaking Spanish, playing the violin, cooking, learning mathematics and getting plenty the 10 Most Expensive Preschools exercise.
That’s a peek into the routine at some of the most exclusive preschools in the country. And if you want an exclusive, fancy education for your toddler it’s going to cost you. In general, Pre-K and nursery programs serve the same age group, but may be classified differently depending on the school. Perk: Among other art activities, students get to do sculpture construction with wood and paper.
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Tuition listed is for nursery or Pre-K program for the 2011-2012 school year. Perk: Students work with a “music specialist” whp helps them learn rhythm and beat. Perk: Students learn to graph and chart in math class. Perk: The school offers theater, music, and visual arts programs.
Perk: The school is the only nursery through 8th grade reform Jewish day school in New York City. Perk: Past class projects have included building robots. Perk: The school offers a variety of special programs for children, including a leadership class. Perk: Handwriting skills is a major subject for preschoolers.
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Perk: The school boasts an athletic center, a performing arts center and an eco-friendly Green Roof Learning Center. Perk: Students begin studying French at the age of three. Latin, Spanish, and German are also available to older students. Perk: The school boasts three libraries, seven art studios, and six music studios, among other facilities. Perk: Children will learn to play chess and operate computers. Perk: The school library offers more than 24,000 titles.
Fieldston Lower School and Ethical Culture School are separate divisions of Ethical Culture Fieldston School. We’ve considered them separately as they have separate admissions processes. Perk: The library offers more than 18,000 titles. Perk: The school plans early exposure to foreign language to put children on track so by the fifth grade they have an in-depth understanding of the language. You can change the location at any time. Gallery: Louisiana Incarcerated: state is No.
Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana’s incarceration rate is nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.
The hidden engine behind the state’s well-oiled prison machine is cold, hard cash. 182 million industry will go bankrupt. Several homegrown private prison companies command a slice of the market. But in a uniquely Louisiana twist, most prison entrepreneurs are rural sheriffs, who hold tremendous sway in remote parishes like Madison, Avoyelles, East Carroll and Concordia. A good portion of Louisiana law enforcement is financed with dollars legally skimmed off the top of prison operations. If the inmate count dips, sheriffs bleed money. The prison lobby ensures this does not happen by thwarting nearly every reform that could result in fewer people behind bars.
Meanwhile, inmates subsist in bare-bones conditions with few programs to give them a better shot at becoming productive citizens. 39 a day in state money, and sheriffs trade them like horses, unloading a few extras on a colleague who has openings. A prison system that leased its convicts as plantation labor in the 1800s has come full circle and is again a nexus for profit. In the past two decades, Louisiana’s prison population has doubled, costing taxpayers billions while New Orleans continues to lead the nation in homicides. One in 86 adult Louisianians is doing time, nearly double the national average.
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Crime rates in Louisiana are relatively high, but that does not begin to explain the state’s No. 1 ranking, year after year, in the percentage of residents it locks up. In Louisiana, a two-time car burglar can get 24 years without parole. A trio of drug convictions can be enough to land you at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for the rest of your life. Almost every state lets judges decide when to mete out the severest punishment and when a sympathetic defendant should have a chance at freedom down the road. In Louisiana, murderers automatically receive life without parole on the guilty votes of as few as 10 of 12 jurors.
The lobbying muscle of the sheriffs, buttressed by a tough-on-crime electorate, keeps these harsh sentencing schemes firmly in place. Something has to be done — it just has to be done — about the long sentences,” said Angola Warden Burl Cain. Some people you can let out of here that won’t hurt you and can be productive citizens, and we know the ones who can’t. Every dollar spent on prisons is a dollar not spent on schools, hospitals and highways. Other states are strategically reducing their prison populations — using tactics known in policy circles as “smart on crime. Compared with the national average, Louisiana has a much lower percentage of people incarcerated for violent offenses and a much higher percentage behind bars for drug offenses — perhaps a signal that some nonviolent criminals could be dealt with differently.
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Do all of Louisiana’s 40,000 inmates need to be incarcerated for the interests of punishment and public safety to be served? Bobby Jindal, a conservative Republican with presidential ambitions, says the answer is no. Despite locking up more people for longer periods than any other state, Louisiana has one of the highest rates of both violent and property crimes. Yet the state shows no signs of weaning itself off its prison dependence. You have people who are so invested in maintaining the present system — not just the sheriffs, but judges, prosecutors, other people who have links to it,” said Burk Foster, a former professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and an expert on Louisiana prisons. In the early 1990s, when the incarceration rate was half what it is now, Louisiana was at a crossroads. Under a federal court order to reduce overcrowding, the state had two choices: Lock up fewer people or build more prisons.
It achieved the latter, not with new state prisons — there was no money for that — but by encouraging sheriffs to foot the construction bills in return for future profits. The financial incentives were so sweet, and the corrections jobs so sought after, that new prisons sprouted up all over rural Louisiana. The national prison population was expanding at a rapid clip. There was no need to rein in the growth by keeping sentencing laws in line with those of other states or by putting minor offenders in alternative programs. The new sheriffs’ beds were ready and waiting. Overcrowding became a thing of the past, even as the inmate population multiplied rapidly.
If the sheriffs hadn’t built those extra spaces, we’d either have to go to the Legislature and say, ‘Give us more money,’ or we’d have to reduce the sentences, make it easier to get parole and commutation — and get rid of people who shouldn’t be here,” said Richard Crane, former general counsel for the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Today, wardens make daily rounds of calls to other sheriffs’ prisons in search of convicts to fill their beds. Urban areas such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge have an excess of sentenced criminals, while prisons in remote parishes must import inmates to survive. The more empty beds, the more an operation sinks into the red.
With maximum occupancy and a thrifty touch with expenses, a sheriff can divert the profits to his law enforcement arm, outfitting his deputies with new squad cars, guns and laptops. Fred Schoonover, deputy warden of the 522-bed Tensas Parish Detention Center in northeast Louisiana, says he does not view inmates as a “commodity. But he acknowledges that the prison’s business model is built on head counts. Like other wardens in this part of the state, he wheels and deals to maintain his tally of human beings.
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His boss, Tensas Parish Sheriff Rickey Jones, relies on him to keep the numbers up. I stay on the phone a lot, calling all over the state, trying to hustle a few,” Schoonover said. Some sheriffs, and even a few small towns, lease their prison rights to private companies. LCS Corrections Services, another homegrown company, runs three Louisiana prisons and is a major donor to political campaigns, including those of urban sheriffs who supply rural prisons with inmates. Ask anyone who has done time in Louisiana whether he or she would rather be in a state-run prison or a local sheriff-run prison. The answer is invariably state prison. Inmates in local prisons are typically serving sentences of 10 years or less on nonviolent charges such as drug possession, burglary or writing bad checks.
Emotional involvement: A little goes a long way
State prisons are reserved for the worst of the worst. Yet it is the murderers, rapists and other long-termers who learn trades like welding, auto mechanics, air-conditioning repair and plumbing. Angola’s Bible college offers the only chance for Louisiana inmates to earn an undergraduate degree. Such opportunities are not available to the 53 percent serving their time in local prisons. In a cruel irony, those who could benefit most are unable to better themselves, while men who will die in prison proudly show off fistfuls of educational certificates. Louisiana specializes in incarceration on the cheap, allocating by far the least money per inmate of any state.
39 per diem is several times lower than what Angola and other state-run prisons spend — even before the sheriff takes his share. All local wardens can offer is GED classes and perhaps an inmate-led support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. With a criminal record, finding work is tough. In five years, about half of the state’s ex-convicts end up behind bars again. Gregory Barber has seen the contrast between state and local prisons firsthand.
He began a four-year sentence for burglary at the state-run Phelps Correctional Center — a stroke of luck for someone with a relatively short sentence on a nonviolent charge who might easily have ended up in a sheriff’s custody. He had hoped to end his time in a work-release program to up his chances of getting a good job. But the 11th-hour transfer rendered him ineligible. At Phelps, he took a welding class. Now, he whiles away the hours lying in his bunk for lack of anything better to do. The only relief from the monotony is an occasional substance-abuse rehab meeting.
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In DOC camps, you’d go to the yard every day, go to work,” said Barber, 50, of state-run prisons. Here, you just lay down, or go to meetings. It makes time pass a little slower. While Louisiana tops the prison rankings, it consistently vies with Mississippi — the state with the second-highest incarceration rate — for the worst schools, the most poverty, the highest infant mortality. One in three Louisiana prisoners reads below a fifth-grade level. The vast majority did not complete high school.
The easy fix of selling drugs or stealing is all too tempting when the alternative is a low-wage, dead-end job. More money spent on locking up an ever-growing number of prisoners means less money for the very institutions that could help young people stay out of trouble, giving rise to a vicious cycle. 663 million a year to feed, house, secure and provide medical care to 40,000 inmates. 182 million — goes to for-profit prisons, whether run by sheriffs or private companies. Clearly, the more that Louisiana invests in large-scale incarceration, the less money is available for everything from preschools to community policing that could help to reduce the prison population,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, a national criminal justice reform group. You almost institutionalize the high rate of incarceration, and it’s even harder to get out of that situation. Louisiana’s prison epidemic disproportionately affects neighborhoods already devastated by crime and poverty.
In some parts of New Orleans, a stint behind bars is a rite of passage for young men. About 5,000 black men from New Orleans are doing state prison time, compared with 400 white men from the city. Because police concentrate resources on high-crime areas, minor lawbreakers there are more likely to be stopped and frisked or caught up in a drug sweep than, say, an Uptown college student with a sideline marijuana business. With so many people lost to either prison or violence, fraying neighborhoods enter a downward spiral. As the incarceration rate climbs, more children grow up with fathers, brothers, grandfathers and uncles in prison, putting them at increased risk of repeating the cycle themselves.
Angola is home to scores of old men who cannot get out of bed, let alone commit a crime. Someone who made a terrible mistake in his youth and has transformed himself after decades in prison has little to no chance at freedom. Louisiana has a higher percentage of inmates serving life without parole than any other state. Its justice system is unstintingly tough on petty offenders as well as violent criminals. In more than four years in office, Jindal has only pardoned one inmate. I feel like everybody deserves a second chance,” said Preston Russell, a Lower 9th Ward native who received life without parole for a string of burglaries and a crack charge.