The Short of It
Rich New York City parents are outsourcing their kids' homework in an effort to help them de-stress, but still get that "A."
In a shocking New York Post story, it was revealed some privileged New York City parents are paying tutors, or so-called "helpers," to do their kids' homework for them. Why? So the students won't feel so overwhelmed by their hectic school and activity schedules.
A 27-year-old freelance writer named Ben told the paper about one of his clients: "[The mom and I operate] under the polite fiction I write a paper that is to be used as a 'guideline,' but I think we all know that's not true." The Brooklynite makes up to $350 per paper, drumming up his impressive supplemental income by advertising his services on Craigslist.
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"We all have assistants, right? I explained to my daughter it was the same thing," one dad who outsources his eighth grader's homework said, adding about the field hockey player, "She's a hard worker, but she was incredibly stressed out and stretched thin. I don't believe that homework assignments necessarily groom you for success."
But shouldn't school come before extracurriculars? And isn't a practice like this teaching kids they don't have to put in the work to get the grade? Not according to this dad, who recruited his personal trainer to assist his daughter with science-lab write-ups: "[The trainer] had her B.A. in biology, so it was a good fit. And my daughter appreciated that she had a bit more free time. She understood that this was a one-off thing for an extraordinarily stressful time in her life. She doesn't take it for granted."
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According to the tutors interviewed for the New York Post story, parents are willing to pay big bucks for their services. "I charge about $75 an hour for tutoring, but I've gotten offered $100 a page for high school work. When I say no, they just offer more money," an editorial assistant named Joelle said.
Adults posing as kids for a homework assignment can sometimes be a challenge. One New Jersey mom paid a Columbia grad an astonishing $1,500 to complete her high schooler's physics project. She explains, "My son had never seriously struggled in school until this class, so I became obsessed with fixing his GPA, which had started sliding, rather than actually getting him to understand the material."
But things didn't go as planned.
"They were supposed to use blocks of wood and rubber bands to make a car. This guy took the materials and created the equivalent of a Tesla. It was awesome, but also very obvious my son didn't do it," she admitted.
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That leads me to wonder what would happen if a teacher found out a student didn't do a paper or homework assignment on their own. And again, what are we really teaching our kids by outsourcing their homework? That's not how things work in the real world, and I worry parents are just setting their children up for failure at a job; that is, if they can handle the stress of being a real adult after being coddled so ridiculously!