Here is a CNN story about the Preschool Admissions Diary, the NYT Motherlode blog series about Judy Batalion's account of applying for preschools in Manhattan. Amazingly, there's not even a link to the Times itself.
The numbers don't lie: expensive, private preschools are expensive and small. Large populations of applicants are trying to get into tiny classes.
People also have no idea what they're supposed to do, and the process is fraught with anxiety, anxiety which is fed by articles about articles like this one. [I guess technically, this is now a blog post about an article about a blog post, so mea culpa.]
There are admissions consultants who prey on this population, and while I'm sure there is much advice that is actually useful, exactly none of it appears in this CNN story. Instead, we have a consultant talk about having ten clients hitting up Bill Clinton for a letter of recommendation, and one asking the Pope. Without knowing how old such anecdotes are, we can't determine how effective such letters might actually be. For example, far from helping, I'd think a letter from Pope Benedict would probably hurt your kid's chances of getting into the 92nd St Y.
The message, I think, is that if all you have to throw at the problem is money, you're doing it wrong. And then if you don't have money to throw at the problem--by which they mean your kid and her entire future, which is now on the line--you're expected to feel even worse.
Anyway, this is not even the season for preschool admissions, so at this point, six months after Batalion's weekly saga began, this is all basicaly angst gossip, preschool admissions snuff porn. You don't need to pay it any mind until the fall.