My middle son is wrapping up his middle school academic career in a couple of weeks. There are a few events to commemorate the occasion, including a day trip to NYC, later this month. When I was in 8th grade, we also went to the city. I remember it vividly because I saw my first Broadway musical, Grease, and wore the brown sweater coat (the height of fashion in 1980!) my mother knit for me. It was a special day.
On Friday, he brought home the permission slip which detailed the itinerary for their day. Basically, they depart from Albany at 6:30 in the morning, returning at approximately 9:30 p.m. Their first stop is midtown where they have 2.5 hours scheduled at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. From there they head to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. I understand that not every kid has parents who believe in authentic experiences which reflect their locale, but doesn’t this sound incredibly generic? Is there anything about this that screams “greatest city in the world” to you?
But, wait, it gets better. The kids then head down to the South Street Seaport – and this is the part that really rankles me, where they have 3 hours to wander around, using the “buddy system.” Now, I’m sure (right?) there will be adequate supervision of the kids, but this segment of the trip, the lengthiest one, is completely unstructured. In the description provided on the permission slip, this cool, but small area, was heralded for its “mall and 15 places to eat.” Really?!? I’m sending my kid to New York to go to a mall and eat at some chain restaurant?
I’m pretty familiar with the downtown area where the kids are going to be. The Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center are right there. Why aren’t they bringing the kids to either of these free, yet, significant places? Maybe a ferry ride to Staten Island? There’s so much history in that area! How about Chinatown, Little Italy or the Tenement Museum, all of which are included in the 8th grade social studies curriculum?
Is it just me, or is this a true example of missed opportunity and lack of effort in planning? What do you think?