Guest Blogger Barry: LA’s Private Elementary School "Royalty"

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Royalty in LA private elementary schools? You bet. Surely you do (or soon will) recognize these archetypes from your private school:
  • The scrawny kid with the voice so shrill it curdles your spinal fluid who lands the lead solo in the holiday concert
  • The overweight, slow-witted, petulant non-athlete who starts on the 5th grade basketball team
  • The obnoxious bully who pummels half the class yet it’s always the victim’s fault
  • The classroom cut-up whose “experiment” proving that a lead weight sinks in water beats out the invention of nuclear fusion for first place in the science fair

What do they all have in common?

How did these wunderkinds reach such exalted heights?  Innate talent?  Hard work?  Upbeat attitude?


No, they are PRIVATE SCHOOL ROYALTY.  Yes, like Lucky Chucky (aka Prince Charles), Balding Billy (aka Prince William) and the red-headed step-child (aka Prince Harry) that so captivate the British tabloids, these private school children get the plum spots on sports teams, choruses, plays, and classroom roles of various types solely by nature of their pedigree – who their grandparents and parents are and how much they contribute, or in many cases, how much they COULD contribute.  You see, the really savvy private school royalty give a taste of what could be, and then watch the school do somersaults to make their blessed offspring worthy of the family name in the hope that even more of the royal coffers – might we even say the crown jewels – spill into the school’s annual fund, capital fund, and, the holy of holy: endowment.     


In the old world, endowment was by birth.  In 1776, these words changed all that:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”   Two-plus centuries later, in the private schools of Los Angeles, it seems the old world has returned.  Thomas Jefferson had no idea what he was up against.

Barry Perlstein is Christina Simon’s husband. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He works in private equity. Barry’s claim to fame? When he was at law school, he was on Law Review with Barack Obama, who was the president of the Harvard Law Review. The day of the Law Review photo, Barry decided to study sleep in and watch re-runs of Hawaii Five-O. So, we have a photo of President Obama and the entire Law Review, except my husband, who of course, could care less. So much for photo memories!