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May 17, 2010


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mistah charley, ph.d.

Speaking of public school, I have a concern regarding a young relative of mine, who lives in Bethesda, MD. This thirteen year old girl lives in a 50-year old million dollar home. She has her own horse, (boarded elsewhere, of course) and competes in riding events.

On the other hand, she goes to public school (next year she will enter Walt Whitman High School). She has a seven year old brother, and her parents are a lobbyist and a high-level civil servant. I believe that it would not be financially possible for them to keep the horse AND send her (and her brother) to private school.

There are clearly mixed class signals here. Among her riding friends she is a townie, whose parents are dependent on their salaries, whereas at school she fits in with the elite. Are they making the right choice, in terms of life chances for their children?


Mistah Charley - I feel her pain. But Whitman isn't a public school. Oh, yeah, that's right. It is, but the people who go there don't think it is.

The horse is a must. This is snoburbia.

Myles SG

The horse is absolutely indispensable. It's a class signifier. You can go to public school, whatever, no big difference (is your average private school really any better than, if as good as, say Greenwich High or New Canaan High?). But the horse is what marks her apart.


But the horse is what marks her apart.

Actually, I think it is the horse plus the house in Bethesda. We could board all of the horses we want, but our redzone address would give it all away. There's a reason why the nicest houses on Dale Drive are in "high sevens" while the cheapest houses in Bethesda proper run more than that these days, and it is basically all signaling.

CF Oxtrot

mistah charley's Q reminds me of the Q&A at the end of Fussell's "Class".

the blog entry itself reminds me of my blue-collar-origins naivete felt fully after I finished my merit-based grad schooling (law) and servitude (judicial clerkship). I returned from Gnu Joizee to DC and set about trying to get a job aiming toward enviro advocacy. everywhere I went, I got looks of dismissal when I mentioned my sub-standard college and grad school, and was reminded that plum jobs in enviro advocacy go to those with plum resumes featuring top-drawer academies and top-tier grades received at those exalted places.

my simian tail went quickly between my troglodytic legs and I dragged my knuckles home, realizing that The Capital Swamp is as caste-oriented as India.

pass the naan, please.

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