by David Safier
High-income families now spend, on average, seven times as much each year on education as lower-income families, up from four times as much in the 1970s, according to one study. From 2007 through 2011, while the broader economy was weak, enrollment at private schools with tuition averaging $28,340 jumped 36 percent, according to federal data.Polo wasn't part of the original curriculum. It began as an attempt to serve the needs of one student who was a competitive polo player. The school started the program so he wouldn't have to miss so much school. Really, isn't that what a good education is all about, meeting the needs of your students?
And contrary to the image of polo as the rarefied pastime of global playboys, with Champagne-soaked matches on the lawns of the Hamptons or Saint-Tropez, and $100,000 ponies, school officials say Oxbridge’s polo team will serve as a great democratizer, bringing children of different economic backgrounds together in an effort to expand the sport.According to the school, the sport isn't especially expensive, especially compared to the 1,500 seat, $1.2 million dollar football stadium on campus which has "the same synthetic turf used in the Buffalo Bills’ stadium." (Meanwhile, the local school district had to postpone buying school equipment and fixing the roofs because of budget problems.) Polo helmets may cost $500 each, and boots $500 a pair, but the school uses off campus facilities for the training. The place where the students learn "basic riding, hunting, jumping and dressage," is called Wall Street farm.
“The perception is that polo is only for the elite,” said Oxbridge’s president and chief executive, Robert C. Parsons. “It’s not that way at all. It’s really about helping kids discover passions they never knew they could have.”