These days it's just not enough to cough up $40K to ensure that little Sebastian Higgenbottom IV goes to all of his classes at Riverdale Country School or Dalton, or one of the city's other prestigious high schools. Now you need an equal amount of cash to make sure he actually learns things there. The Times reports that "prepping," which sounds awfully close to "studying really hard with a tutor," is costing parents of overachieving students up to $795 per 50 minutes, and as much as $35K for the entire year. Kids: just talk your parents into giving you $40K a year by dropping out. For those of you that don't have tutors, that's a savings of almost 50 percent!

Sandy Bass, the head of the not-depressing-at-all sounding newsletter "Private School Insider," said "There's no family that gets through private school without an SAT tutor. Increasingly, it's impossible to get through private school without at least one subject tutor." Impossible! That puts this "no tutor" scenario right up there with a type of Captain Crunch that doesn't cut the roof of your mouth, and getting a ride into Brooklyn at 3 a.m.

The founder of Advantage Testing, "perhaps the city's premier tutoring company," said that the rise of subject tutors was because "more and more you have ambitious and intellectually curious students signing up for difficult classes," such as Riverdale's Integrated Liberal Studies, a class that eschews textbooks for primary resources. Private schools don't appreciate that there's a whole class of students who can afford to do better than others, but since it raises their college acceptance numbers and prestige, they too have an interest in perpetuating the system.

Our solution? Insert information into standardized tests that kids working with tutors all afternoon would never know. How many beers will a $7 bribe at the Amaco station buy you? How long do you have to flee the scene once a flaming turd bag is lit? What does sunshine feel like? Or perhaps a moratorium should be placed on these "tutoring is crazy" stories. As Daily Intel points out, the Times has beaten this issue to death. Maybe the Gray Lady is in the pocket of Big Tutor?