Parents are stunned to find that their children can’t read after enrolling them in the “progressive” Blue School of Manhattan, founded by Blue Man Group performers and their wives.
Costing close to $32,000 a year, the exclusive school– which has been featured by CNN and the New York Times– describes its mission as being “to cultivate creative, joyful and passionate inquirers who use courageous and innovative thinking to build a harmonious and sustainable world.”
The New York Times described institution: “From the beginning, the founders wanted to incorporate scientific research about childhood development into the classroom. Having rapidly grown to more than 200 students in preschool through third grade, the school has become a kind of national laboratory for integrating cognitive neuroscience and cutting-edge educational theory into curriculum, professional development and school design.”
But after some concern over the loose structure of the school, where there are is no set curriculum and no start time, parents started requesting formal examinations– and they were stunned by the results.
“It’s all fun and games until you realize your second-grader can’t read,” a parent wrote on Urbanbaby.com, while another said “it’s true” that her child was struggling.
The aforementioned New York Times article may help explain why, though not intentionally.
While explaining how innovative the school’s “no set curriculum” program is, the Times explained that at one point the students chose to study sharks and leaves.
Now, the New York Post reports, parents are withdrawing their children in droves and teachers are leaving en masse.
“A majority of my Upper East Side clients, if they took a look down there, their heads would explode,” education adviser Terri Decker of Smart City Kids explained. “Literally, their brains would be on the pavement.”
But Steve Nelson, head of the Calhoun School, advised parents to remain calm.
“Parents are understandably anxious about being patient if their child is developing at a slightly later time…” he said.
Check out TIME’s profile of the school, from 2008: