By Chris Kramer
September 14, 2007 - A talented, third-grade student in New York is caught in the middle of her parent's ongoing divorce battle, with her education now serving as the focal point of the discord.
After scoring in the 92nd percentile in elite private school tests, eight-year-old Grace Yang Carter has secured a spot at Manhattan's accomplished Public School 6. While her mother Esther Yang wants her to attend the school, the problem lies with Grace's father, Edward.
More specifically, Edward Carter was granted the final say on his daughter's education during his New York divorce to Yang in 2004. With Grace living with him in Staten Island for half the week and then with her mom in Manhattan the rest of the week, Edward Carter has said that the commute is too long for his girl to attend PS 6.
Edward Carter elaborated in a Daily News story that he does not want his young daughter spending as much as an hour-and-a-half going to and coming home from school each day. Carter added that he does not want his daughter "to be a commuter at the age of 8" who will not have time to play with her friends after school because she will be on a bus.
Carter has said that his daughter needs stability and has thus decided to keep Grace in PS 16, a less-accomplished school in which only half the students score at their grade levels. 90 percent of the students at PS 6 test at or above their grade levels.
Esther Yang has said that she would be more than willing to travel from Manhattan and pick up Grace each day at Carter's home in Staten Island and then bring her daughter to the PS 6 school. She even told a five-judge Appelate Division panel this earlier this month with a hope that it would overturn Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis' decision to refuse the transfer.
Yang, a Chinese-American yoga instructor, wondered in the story how Grace's father could deny his child such a great educational opportunity. She even went on to say that Grace's friends at PS 16 have transferred to other schools for better educational opportunities and how her daughter has allegedly been "pushed down the stairs" by other students at her current school.
Yang has also said that she could not afford to live in the district of PS 6, but feels that this should not prevent her daughter from attending the school.
Carter has reenrolled Grace at PS 16 but indicated that he is working with the Education Department to transfer his daughter to one of his school choices. Carter has charged Yang with sabotaging his efforts to enroll Grace at three accomplished schools that are 10 minutes from his house by getting her in at PS 6.
Ultimately, this story depicts how children can unfortunately continue to be affected by a divorce, even after it is has been finalized. Furthermore, this story reveals the importance for divorcees to put their differences aside and act with the best interests of their children in mind when making such decisions.
While acting in the best interests of the child may be much easier said than done and not necessarily clear in this New York divorce case, this goal for children should be shared by both parents during life after divorce.