I've been hearing about how the new generation of parents is different from the types of families that schools have worked with in the past. Some note the "Generation X" instant gratification sense of entitlement that leads families to demand financial aid so they don't have to give up their luxury cars and vacations in order to afford private school.
I see another, more worrisome, Gen X divergence that follows the helicopter parent trend. Children of the late 70s and 80s were the first latch-key generation. Many moms were at work and these kids missed the level of direct parental guidance and contact of previous generations.
Now parents themselves, Many Gen Xers are extremely hands-on and are leading a new expansion in the home school movement. Home schoolers are less likely to be the religious conservatives of the past and are increasingly highly educated Gen X parents who think they can do a better job than any school in teaching their children. They marshall an impressive mix of online curriculum, club team sports, and social network-based learning groups to create a DIY school, especially in the elementary grades.
This hyper-interest in controlling a child's education is kind of the opposite of the self-focused "Me Generation" stereotype, but the obsessed home-schooler probably represents a bigger threat to traditional independent school enrollment. We have always attracted the subset of parents who highly valued education. The rise in Gen X home-schoolers is a threat to private school enrollment if they think they've found a less expensive path to an individualized education, which also lets them have the quality time with their children that they missed with their own parents.