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theschoolboards
05-05-2014, 10:33 PM
From WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303939404579530321938835280) by Sophia Hollander:

Jackie Straus never bought into the extreme Brooklyn- mommy ethos, enduring glares from other parents as she bottle-fed and vaccinated her children. But when she hired a schools consultant for her daughter, she said, the parental peanut gallery barely blinked.

Her friends "might have thought it was weird, but they were certainly happy to hear whatever I had to tell them," said Ms. Straus, who moved to Prospect Heights from Manhattan in 2001.

Schools consultants have long been fixtures in Manhattan, guiding parents through the complex, often high-stakes process of finding spots for their children in the city's top schools, from pre-K through high school. Now, a handful of new consultants is sprouting in Brooklyn, joining the borough's long-established doyenne of the business, Joyce Szuflita.

The newcomers, who span neighborhoods from Williamsburg to Bedford-Stuyvesant, offer everything from in-depth information on public and private schools to hands-on advice on applications.

The competition has yet to siphon away business, said Ms. Szuflita, who founded her own firm about school choices in 2008 and noted that her consultant work has nearly doubled in the past two years. She offers group workshops (up to $30 a person) and private consultations ($200 an hour).

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Brooklyn families with children enrolled in school rose by more than 88,000, a 13.8% change, according to U.S. census data. During that time, the number of children in nursery school, pre-K and kindergarten more than doubled, to 86,054.

But the number of elite Brooklyn private schools has remained limited, consultants said. And only 122 Brooklyn public schools out of 490 graded by the city received A's on their report cards last year.

"The need in Brooklyn for top school seats has not kept pace with the number of Brooklynites," said Emily Glickman, a Manhattan-based consultant who also works with Brooklyn families.

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