Education in the United States

Education in the United States

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Education in the United States of America
National education budget (2007)
Budget $16 billion (public and private, all levels)[1]
General details
Primary languages English
System type Federal, state, private
Literacy
Male 70%[2]
Female 45%[2]
Enrollment
Total 81.5 million
Primary 37.9 million1
Secondary 26.1 million (2006–2007)
Post secondary 17.5 million 2
Attainment
Secondary diploma 85%
Post-secondary diploma 30%[3]

Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: local, state, and federal, in that order. Child education is compulsory, and there are also a large number and wide variety of higher education institutions throughout the country that one can choose to attend, both publicly and privately administered.

Public education is universally available. School curricula, funding, teaching, employment, and other policies are set through locally elected school boards with jurisdiction over school districts with many directives from state legislatures. School districts are usually separate from other local jurisdictions, with independent officials and budgets. Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are usually made by state governments.

The ages for compulsory education vary by state. It begins from ages five to eight and ends from ages fourteen to eighteen.[4] Compulsory education requirements can generally be satisfied by educating children in public schools, state-certified private schools, or an approved home school program. In most public and private schools, education is divided into three levels: elementary school, middle school (sometimes called junior high school), and high school (sometimes referred to as secondary education).

In almost all schools at these levels, children are divided by age groups into grades, ranging from kindergarten (followed by first grade) for the youngest children in elementary school, up to twelfth grade, the final year of high school. The exact age range of students in these grade levels varies slightly from area to area.

Post-secondary education, better known as "college" in the United States, is generally governed separately from the elementary and high school system, and is described in a separate section below.

Government supported, free public schools for all started being established after the revolution, and expanded in the 19th century, as the results of efforts of men like Horace Mann and Booker T. Washington. By 1870, all states had free elementary schools,[5] albeit only in urban centers. As the 20th century drew nearer, states started passing laws to make schooling compulsory, and by 1910, 72 percent of children attended school. Private schools continued to spread during this time, as well as colleges and—in the rural centers—land grant colleges. The year of 1910 also saw the first true high schools.

During the rest of the 20th century, educational efforts centered on reducing the inequality of the schooling system. The landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education made the desegregation of elementary and high schools a national priority, while the Pell Grant program helped poor minorities gain access to college. Special education was made into federal law in 1975.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 made standardized testing a requirement, and in 1983, a commission was established to evaluate their results and propose a course of action. The resulting No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was controversial and its goals proved to be unrealistic. A commission established in 2006 evaluated higher education, but its recommendations have yet to be fully implemented.

Contents

Statistics

In the year 2000, there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. Of these, 72 percent aged 12 to 17 were judged academically "on track" for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). Of those enrolled in compulsory education, 5.2 million (10.4 percent) were attending private schools.[citation needed]

Among the country's adult population, over 85 percent have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor's degree or higher. The average salary for college or university graduates is greater than $51,000, exceeding the national average of those without a high school diploma by more than $23,000, according to a 2005 study by the U.S. Census Bureau.[6] The 2010 unemployment rate for high school graduates was 10.8%; the rate for college graduates was 4.9%.[7]

The country has a reading literacy rate at 99% of the population over age 15,[8] while ranking below average in science and mathematics understanding compared to other developed countries.[9] In 2008, there was a 77% graduation rate from high school, below that of most developed countries.[10]

The poor performance has pushed public and private efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the ratio of college-educated adults entering the workforce to general population (33%) is slightly below the mean of other developed countries (35%)[11] and rate of participation of the labor force in continuing education is high.[12] A 2000s (decade) study by Jon Miller of Michigan State University concluded that "A slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate than European or Japanese adults".[13]

School grades

Most children enter the public education system around ages five or six. The American school year traditionally begins at the end of August or the day after Labor Day in September, after the traditional summer recess. Children are assigned into year groups known as grades, beginning with preschool, followed by kindergarten and culminating in twelfth grade. Children customarily advance together from one grade to the next as a single cohort or "class" upon reaching the end of each school year in late May or early June.

The American educational system comprises 12 grades of study over 12 calendar years of primary and secondary education before graduating, and often becoming eligible for admission to higher education.[14] After pre-kindergarten 1, pre-kindergarten 2, and kindergarten, there are five years in primary school (normally known as elementary school). After completing five grades, the student will enter middle school and then high school to get the high school diploma.[14]

The U.S. uses ordinal numbers (e.g., first grade) for identifying grades. Typical ages and grade groupings in public and private schools may be found through the U.S. Department of Education. Generally, elementary school (K-5), middle school (6-8), and high school (9-12).[15][dead link] Many different variations exist across the country.

Education in the United States
Preschool
Pre-kindergarten 1 3-4
Pre-kindergarten 2 4-5
Elementary school
Kindergarden 5-6
1st Grade 6-7
2nd Grade 7-8
3rd Grade 8-9
4th Grade 9-10
5th Grade 10-11
Middle school
6th Grade 11-12
7th Grade 12-13
8th Grade 13-14
High school
9th Grade (Freshman) 14-15
10th Grade (Sophomore) 15-16
11th Grade (Junior) 16-17
12th Grade (Senior) 17-18
Post-secondary education
Tertiary education (College or University) Ages vary, but often 18–22
(Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years)
Vocational education Ages vary
Graduate education Ages vary
Adult education Ages vary

Students completing high school may choose to attend a college or university. Undergraduate degrees may be either associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees (baccalaureate)

Community college typically offer two-year associate's degrees, although some community colleges offer a limited number of bachelor's degrees. Some community college students choose to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor's degree. Community colleges are generally publicly funded and offer career certifications and part-time programs.

Four-year institutions may be public or private colleges or universities.

Most public institutions are state universities, which are sponsored by state governments and typically receive funding through some combination of taxpayer funds, tuition, private donations, federal grants, and proceeds from endowments. State universities are organized in a wide variety of ways, and many are part of a state university system. However, not all public institutions are state universities. The five service academies, one for each branch of the armed forces, are completely funded by the federal government; the academies train students (cadets or midshipmen) to be commissioned officers in exchange for a mandatory term of military service. Additionally, some local governments (counties and cities) have four-year institutions of their own - one example is the City University of New York.

Private institutions are privately funded and there is wide variety in size, focus, and operation. Some private institutions are large research universities, while others are small liberal arts colleges that concentrate on undergraduate education. Some private universities are nonsectarian while others are religiously affiliated. While most private institutions are non-profit, a number are for profit.

Curriculum varies widely depending on the institution. Typically, an undergraduate student will be able to select an academic major or concentration, which comprises the main or special subjects, and students may change their major one or more times.

Some students, typically those with a bachelor's degree, may chose to continue on to graduate or professional school. Graduate degrees may be either master's degrees (e.g., M.S., M.B.A., M.S.W.) or doctorates (e.g., Ph.D., J.D., M.D.). Academia-focused graduate school typically includes some combination of coursework and research (often requiring a thesis or dissertation), while professional school (e.g., medical, law, business) grants a first professional degree and aims to prepare students to enter a learned profession.

Preschool

In large cities, sometimes there are private preschools catering to the children of the wealthy. Because some wealthy families see these schools as the first step toward an elite college education, there are even counselors who specialize in assisting parents and their toddlers through the preschool admissions process.[16] Increasingly, a growing body of preschools are adopting international standards such as the International Preschool Curriculum[17]

Student health

According to the National Association of School Nurses, 17% of students are considered obese and 32% are overweight.[18]

Elementary and secondary education

Schooling is compulsory for all children in the United States, but the age range for which school attendance is required varies from state to state. Most children begin elementary education with kindergarten (usually five to six years old) and finish secondary education with twelfth grade (usually eighteen years old). In some cases, pupils may be promoted beyond the next regular grade. Some states allow students to leave school between 14–17 with parental permission, before finishing high school; other states require students to stay in school until age 18[19]

Educational attainment in the United States, Age 25 and Over (2009) [20]
Education Percentage
High school graduate 86.68%
Some college 55.60%
Associates and/or Bachelor's degree 38.54%
Bachelor's degree 29.0%
Master's degree 7.62%
Doctorate or professional degree 2.94%

Most parents send their children to either a public or private institution. According to government data, one-tenth of students are enrolled in private schools. Approximately 85% of students enter the public schools,[21] largely because they are tax-subsidized (tax burdens by school districts vary from area to area).

There are more than 14,000 school districts in the country.[22]

More than $500 billion is spent each year on public primary and secondary education.[22]

Most states require that their school districts within the state teach for 180 days a year.[23]

Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner.[21]

Nearly 6.2 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2007 dropped out of high school, including nearly three of 10 Hispanics.[24]

The issue of high-school drop-outs is considered important to address as the incarceration rate for African-American male high school dropouts is about 50 (fifty) times the national average.[25]

In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that forced busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation.[26] This ruling resulted in a white flight from the inner cities which largely diluted the intent of the order. This flight had other, non-educational ramifications as well. Integration took place in most schools though de facto segregation often determined the composition of the student body. By the 1990s, most areas of the country have been released from mandatory busing.

In 2010, there were 3,823,142 teachers in public, charter, private, and Catholic elementary and secondary schools. They taught a total of 55,203,000 students, who attended one of 132,656 schools.[27]

States do not require proper reporting from their school districts to allow analysis of efficiency of return on investment. The Center for American Progress, called a "left-leaning think tank", commends Florida and Texas as the only two states that provide annual school-level productivity evaluations which report to the public how well school funds are being spent at the local level. This allows for comparison of school districts within a state.[28][29]

In 2010, American students rank 17th in the world. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says that this is due to focusing on the low end of performers. All of the recent gains have been made, deliberately, at the low end of the socioeconomic scale and among the lowest achievers. The country has been outrun, the study says, by other nations because the US has not done enough to encourage the highest achievers.[30]

About half of the states encourage schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.[31]

Teachers worked from about 35 to 46 hours a week, in a survey taken in 1993.[32] In 2011, American teachers worked 1,097 hours in the classroom, the most for any industrialized nation measured by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They spend 1,913 hours a year on their work, just below the national average of 1,932 hours for all workers.[33] In 2011, the average annual salary of a preK-12 teacher was $55,040.[34]

Transporting students to and from school is a major concern for most school districts. School buses provide the largest mass transit program in the country, 8.8 billion trips per year. Non-school transit buses give 5.2 billion trips annually. 440,000 yellow school buses carry over 24 million students to and from schools.[35]

School start times are computed with busing in mind. There are often three start times: for elementary, for middle/junior high, and for high school. One school district computed its cost per bus (without the driver) at $20,575 annually. It assumed a model where the average driver drove 80 miles per day. A driver was presumed to cost $.62 per mile (1.6 km). Elementary schools started at 7:30, middle schools/junior high school started at 8:15 and senior high schools at 9:00. While elementary school started earlier, they also finish earlier, at 2:25, middle schools at 3:10 and senior high schools at 3:55.[36] All school districts establish their own times and means of transportation within guidelines set by their own state.

Elementary school

A teacher and her students in an elementary school classroom

Historically, in the United States, local public control (and private alternatives) have allowed for some variation in the organization of schools. Elementary school includes kindergarten through fifth grade (or sometimes, to fourth grade, sixth grade or eighth grade). Basic subjects are taught in elementary school, and students often remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for physical education, library, music, and art classes. There are (as of 2001) about 3.6 million children in each grade in the United States.[37]

Typically, the curriculum in public elementary education is determined by individual school districts. The school district selects curriculum guides and textbooks that reflect a state's learning standards and benchmarks for a given grade level.[38] Learning Standards are the goals by which states and school districts must meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) as mandated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This description of school governance is simplistic at best, however, and school systems vary widely not only in the way curricular decisions are made but also in how teaching and learning take place. Some states and/or school districts impose more top-down mandates than others. In others, teachers play a significant role in curriculum design and there are few top-down mandates. Curricular decisions within private schools are made differently than they are in public schools, and in most cases without consideration of NCLB.

Public Elementary School teachers typically instruct between twenty and thirty students of diverse learning needs. A typical classroom will include children with a range of learning needs or abilities, from those identified as having special needs of the kinds listed in the Individuals with Disabilities Act IDEA to those that are cognitively, athletically or artistically gifted. At times, an individual school district identifies areas of need within the curriculum. Teachers and advisory administrators form committees to develop supplemental materials to support learning for diverse learners and to identify enrichment for textbooks. Many school districts post information about the curriculum and supplemental materials on websites for public access.[39]

In general, a student learns basic arithmetic and sometimes rudimentary algebra in mathematics, English proficiency (such as basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary), and fundamentals of other subjects. Learning standards are identified for all areas of a curriculum by individual States, including those for mathematics, social studies, science, physical development, the fine arts, and reading.[38] While the concept of State Learning standards has been around for some time, No Child Left Behind has mandated that standards exist at the State level.

Elementary School teachers are trained with emphases on human cognitive and psychological development and the principles of curriculum development and instruction. Teachers typically earn either a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. The teaching of social studies and science are often underdeveloped in elementary school programs. Some attribute this to the fact that elementary school teachers are trained as generalists; however, teachers attribute this to the priority placed on developing reading, writing and math proficiency in the elementary grades and to the large amount of time needed to do so. Reading, writing and math proficiency greatly affect performance in social studies, science and other content areas. Certification standards for teachers are determined by individual states, with individual colleges and universities determining the rigor of the college education provided for future teachers. Some states require content area tests, as well as instructional skills tests for teacher certification in that state.[40]

The broad topic of Social Studies may include key events, documents, understandings, and concepts in American history, and geography, and in some programs, state or local history and geography. Topics included under the broader term "science" vary from the physical sciences such as physics and chemistry, through the biological sciences such as biology, ecology, and physiology. Most States have predetermined the number of minutes that will be taught within a given content area. Because No Child Left Behind focuses on reading and math as primary targets for improvement, other instructional areas have received less attention.[41] There is much discussion within educational circles about the justification and impact of having curricula that place greater emphasis on those topics (reading, writing and math) that are specifically tested for improvement.[42]

Secondary education

As part of education in the United States, secondary education usually covers grades 6 through 9 or 10 through 12.

Junior and senior high school

A high school classroom in Georgia

Middle school and Junior high school include the grade levels intermediate between elementary school and senior high school. "Middle school" usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade; "Junior high" typically includes seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.[43] At this time, students are given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives). Usually, starting in ninth grade, grades become part of a student's official transcript.

Senior high school is a school attended after junior high school. High school is often used instead of senior high school and distinguished from junior high school. High school usually runs either from 9th through 12th, or 10th through 12th grade. The students in these grades are commonly referred to as freshmen (grade 9), sophomores (grade 10), juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12).

Basic curricular structure

Generally, at the high school level, students take a broad variety of classes without special emphasis in any particular subject. Students are required to take a certain minimum number of mandatory subjects, but may choose additional subjects ("electives") to fill out their required hours of learning.

The following minimum courses of study in mandatory subjects are required in nearly all U.S. high schools:

  • Science (usually three years minimum, normally biology, chemistry and physics)
  • Mathematics (usually four years minimum, normally including algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics, and even calculus)
  • English (usually four years minimum, including literature, humanities, composition, oral languages, etc.)
  • Social sciences (usually three years minimum, including various history, government/economics courses)[44]
  • Physical education (at least two years)

Many states require a "health" course in which students learn about anatomy, nutrition, first aid, sexuality, drug awareness and birth control. Anti-drug use programs are also usually part of health courses. In many cases, however, options are provided for students to "test out" of this requirement or complete independent study to meet it. Foreign language and some form of art education are also a mandatory part of the curriculum in some schools.

Electives

Common types of electives include:

Advanced courses

Many high schools provide Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These are special forms of honors classes where the curriculum is more challenging and lessons more aggressively paced than standard courses. AP or IB courses are usually taken during the 11th or 12th grade of high school, but may be taken as early as 9th grade.

Most post-secondary institutions take AP or IB exam results into consideration in the admissions process. Because AP and IB courses are intended to be the equivalent of the first year of college courses, post-secondary institutions may grant unit credit, which enables students to graduate earlier. Other institutions use examinations for placement purposes only: students are exempted from introductory course work but may not receive credit towards a concentration, degree, or core requirement. Institutions vary in the selection of examinations they accept and the scores they require to grant credit or placement, with more elite institutions tending to accept fewer examinations and requiring higher scoring. The lack of AP, IB, and other advanced courses in impoverished inner-city high schools is often seen as a major cause of the greatly differing levels of post-secondary education these graduates go on to receive, compared with both public and private schools in wealthier neighborhoods.

Also, in states with well-developed community college systems, there are often mechanisms by which gifted students may seek permission from their school district to attend community college courses full-time during the summer, and part-time during the school year. The units earned this way can often be transferred to one's university, and can facilitate early graduation. Early college entrance programs are a step further, with students enrolling as freshmen at a younger-than-traditional age.

Home schooling

In 2007, approximately 1.5 million children were homeschooled, up 74% from 1999 when the U.S. Department of Education first started keeping statistics. This was 2.9% of all children.[46]

Many select moral or religious reasons for homeschooling their children. The second main category is "unschooling," those who prefer a non-standard approach to education.[46]

Most homeschooling advocates are wary of the established educational institutions for various reasons. Some are religious conservatives who see nonreligious education as contrary to their moral or religious systems, or who wish to add religious instruction to the educational curriculum (and who may be unable to afford a church-operated private school or where the only available school may teach views contrary to those of the parents). Others feel that they can more effectively tailor a curriculum to suit an individual student's academic strengths and weaknesses, especially those with singular needs or disabilities. Still others feel that the negative social pressures of schools (such as bullying, drugs, crime, sex, and other school-related problems) are detrimental to a child's proper development. Parents often form groups to help each other in the homeschooling process, and may even assign classes to different parents, similar to public and private schools.

Opposition to homeschooling comes from varied sources, including teachers' organizations and school districts. The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the United States, has been particularly vocal in the past.[47] Opponents' stated concerns fall into several broad categories, including fears of poor academic quality, and lack of socialization with others. At this time, over half of states have oversight into monitoring or measuring the academic progress of home schooled students, with all but ten requiring some form of notification to the state.[48]

Grading scale

In schools in the United States children are constantly assessed throughout the school year by their teachers, and report cards are issued to parents at varying intervals. Generally the scores for individual assignments and tests are recorded for each student in a grade book, along with the maximum number of points for each assignment. At any time, the total number of points for a student when divided by the total number of possible points produces a percent grade, which can be translated to a letter grade.

Letter grades are often but not always used on report cards at the end of a marking period, although the current grade may be available at other times (particularly when an electronic grade book connected to an online service is in use). Although grading scales usually differ from school to school, the most common grade scale is letter grades—"A" through "F"—derived from a scale of 0–100 or a percentile. In some areas, Texas or Virginia for example, the "D" grade (or that between 70–60) is considered a failing grade. In other jurisdictions, such as Hawaii, a "D" grade is considered passing in certain classes, and failing in others.[citation needed]

Example Grading Scale
A B C D F or E
+ + + +
100–97 96–93 92–90 89–87 86–83 82–80 79–77 76–73 72–70 69–67 66–63 62–60 Below 60 Percent

Standardized testing

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, all American states must test students in public schools statewide to ensure that they are achieving the desired level of minimum education,[49] such as on the Regents Examinations in New York, or the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS); students being educated at home or in private schools are not included. The act also requires that students and schools show "adequate yearly progress." This means they must show some improvement each year. When a student fails to make adequate yearly progress, No Child Left Behind mandates that remediation through summer school and/or tutoring be made available to a student in need of extra help.

Academic performance impacts the perception of a school's educational program. Rural schools fare better than their urban counterparts in two key areas: test scores and drop-out rate. First, students in small schools performed equal to or better than their larger school counterparts.[50] In addition, on the 2005 National Assessment of Education Progress, 4th and 8th grade students scored as well or better in reading, science, and mathematics.[51]

During high school, students (usually in 11th grade) may take one or more standardized tests depending on their post-secondary education preferences and their local graduation requirements. In theory, these tests evaluate the overall level of knowledge and learning aptitude of the students. The SAT and ACT are the most common standardized tests that students take when applying to college. A student may take the SAT, ACT, or both depending upon the post-secondary institutions the student plans to apply to for admission. Most competitive schools also require two or three SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT IIs), which are shorter exams that focus strictly on a particular subject matter. However, all these tests serve little to no purpose for students who do not move on to post-secondary education, so they can usually be skipped without affecting one's ability to graduate.[citation needed]

Extracurricular activities

A major characteristic of American schools is the high priority given to sports, clubs and activities by the community, the parents, the schools and the students themselves. Extracurricular activities are educational activities not falling within the scope of the regular curriculum but under the supervision of the school. These activities can extend to large amounts of time outside the normal school day; home-schooled students, however, are not normally allowed to participate. Student participation in sports programs, drill teams, bands, and spirit groups can amount to hours of practices and performances. Most states have organizations that develop rules for competition between groups. These organizations are usually forced to implement time limits on hours practiced as a prerequisite for participation. Many schools also have non-varsity sports teams; however, these are usually afforded less resources and attention.

Sports programs and their related games, especially football and/or basketball, are major events for American students and for larger schools can be a major source of funds for school districts.

High school athletic competitions often generate intense interest in the community.

In addition to sports, numerous non-athletic extracurricular activities are available in American schools, both public and private. Activities include Quizbowl, musical groups, marching bands, student government, school newspapers, science fairs, debate teams, and clubs focused on an academic area (such as the Spanish Club) or community service interests (such as Key Club).[citation needed]

Education of students with special needs

Commonly known as special classes, are taught by teachers with training in adapting curricula to meet the needs of students with special needs.

According to the National Association of School Nurses, 5% of students in 2009 have a seizure disorder, another 5% have ADHD and 10% have mental or emotional problems.[18]

On January 25, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education issued guidance, clarifying school districts' existing legal obligations to give disabled students an equal chance to compete in extracurricular sports alongside their able-bodied classmates.[52]

Educating children with disabilities

The federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to ensure that all government-run schools provide services to meet the individual needs of students with special needs, as defined by the law.[53] All students with special needs are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

Schools meet with the parents or guardians to develop an Individualized Education Program that determines best placement for the child. Students must be placed in the least restrictive environment (LRE) that is appropriate for the student's needs. Public schools that fail to provide an appropriate placement for students with special needs can be taken to due process wherein parents may formally submit their grievances and demand appropriate services for the child.[citation needed]

Criticism

At-risk students (those with educational needs that aren't associated with a disability) are often placed in classes with students with minor emotional and social disabilities.[54] Critics assert that placing at-risk students in the same classes as these disabled students may impede the educational progress of both the at-risk and the disabled students.[citation needed] Some research has refuted this claim, and has suggested this approach increases the academic and behavioral skills of the entire student population.[55]

Public and private schools

In the United States, state and local government have primary responsibility for education. The Federal Department of Education plays a role in standards setting and education finance, and some primary and secondary schools, for the children of military employees, are run by the Department of Defense.[56]

K-12 students in most areas have a choice between free tax-funded public schools, or privately funded private schools.[citation needed]

Public school systems are supported by a combination of local, state, and federal government funding. Because a large portion of school revenues come from local property taxes, public schools vary widely in the resources they have available per student. Class size also varies from one district to another. Curriculum decisions in public schools are made largely at the local and state levels; the federal government has limited influence. In most districts, a locally elected school board runs schools. The school board appoints an official called the superintendent of schools to manage the schools in the district.

The largest public school system in the United States is in New York City, where more than one million students are taught in 1,200 separate public schools. Because of its immense size – there are more students in the system than residents in the eight smallest US states – the New York City public school system is nationally influential in determining standards and materials, such as textbooks.[citation needed]

Admission to individual public schools is usually based on residency. To compensate for differences in school quality based on geography, school systems serving large cities and portions of large cities often have "magnet schools" that provide enrollment to a specified number of non-resident students in addition to serving all resident students. This special enrollment is usually decided by lottery with equal numbers of males and females chosen. Some magnet schools cater to gifted students or to students with special interests, such as the sciences or performing arts.[57]

Private schools in the United States include parochial schools (affiliated with religious denominations), non-profit independent schools, and for-profit private schools. Private schools charge varying rates depending on geographic location, the school's expenses, and the availability of funding from sources, other than tuition. For example, some churches partially subsidize private schools for their members. Some people have argued that when their child attends a private school, they should be able to take the funds that the public school no longer needs and apply that money towards private school tuition in the form of vouchers. This is the basis of the school choice movement.[citation needed]

5,072,451 students attended 33,740 private elementary and secondary schools in 2007. 74.5% of these were Caucasian, non-Hispanic, 9.8% were African American, 9.6% were Hispanic. 5.4% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and .6% were American Indian. Average school size was 150.3 students. There were 456,266 teachers. The number of students per teacher was about 11. 65% of seniors in private schools in 2006-7 went on to attend a 4-year college.[58]

Private schools have various missions: some cater to college-bound students seeking a competitive edge in the college admissions process; others are for gifted students, students with learning disabilities or other special needs, or students with specific religious affiliations. Some cater to families seeking a small school, with a nurturing, supportive environment. Unlike public school systems, private schools have no legal obligation to accept any interested student. Admission to some private schools is often highly selective. Private schools also have the ability to permanently expel persistently unruly students, a disciplinary option not legally available to public school systems.

Private schools offer the advantages of smaller classes, under twenty students in a typical elementary classroom, for example; a higher teacher/student ratio across the school day, greater individualized attention and in the more competitive schools, expert college placement services. Unless specifically designed to do so, private schools usually cannot offer the services required by students with serious or multiple learning, emotional, or behavioral issues. Although reputed to pay lower salaries than public school systems, private schools often attract teachers by offering high-quality professional development opportunities, including tuition grants for advanced degrees. According to elite private schools themselves, this investment in faculty development helps maintain the high quality program that they offer.[citation needed]

An August 17, 2000 article by the Chicago Sun-Times refers to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools as the largest private school system in the United States.[59]

College and university

Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College

Post-secondary education in the United States is known as college or university and commonly consists of four years of study at an institution of higher learning. There are 4,495 colleges, universities, and junior colleges in the country.[60] In 2008, 36% of enrolled students graduated from college in four years. 57% completed their undergraduate requirements in six years, at the same college they first enrolled in.[61] The U.S. ranks 10th among industrial countries for percentage of adults with college degrees.[7]

Like high school, the four undergraduate grades are commonly called freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years (alternatively called first year, second year, etc.). Students traditionally apply for admission into colleges. Schools differ in their competitiveness and reputation; generally, the most prestigious schools are private, rather than public. Admissions criteria involve the rigor and grades earned in high school courses taken, the students' GPA, class ranking, and standardized test scores (Such as the SAT or the ACT tests). Most colleges also consider more subjective factors such as a commitment to extracurricular activities, a personal essay, and an interview. While colleges will rarely list that they require a certain standardized test score, class ranking, or GPA for admission, each college usually has a rough threshold below which admission is unlikely.[citation needed]

Engineering Hall at The University of Illinois

Once admitted, students engage in undergraduate study, which consists of satisfying university and class requirements to achieve a bachelor's degree in a field of concentration known as a major. (Some students enroll in double majors or "minor" in another field of study.) The most common method consists of four years of study leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), or sometimes another bachelor's degree such as Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.,) or Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) Five-Year Professional Architecture programs offer the Bachelor of Architecture Degree (B.Arch.)

Professional degrees such as law, medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry, are offered as graduate study after earning at least three years of undergraduate schooling or after earning a bachelor's degree depending on the program. These professional fields do not require a specific undergraduate major, though medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment.[citation needed]

Alexander Hall at Princeton University

Some students choose to attend a community college for two years prior to further study at another college or university. In most states, community colleges are operated either by a division of the state university or by local special districts subject to guidance from a state agency. Community colleges may award Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree after two years. Those seeking to continue their education may transfer to a four-year college or university (after applying through a similar admissions process as those applying directly to the four-year institution, see articulation). Some community colleges have automatic enrollment agreements with a local four-year college, where the community college provides the first two years of study and the university provides the remaining years of study, sometimes all on one campus. The community college awards the associate's degree, and the university awards the bachelor's and master's degrees.[citation needed]

Graduate study, conducted after obtaining an initial degree and sometimes after several years of professional work, leads to a more advanced degree such as a master's degree, which could be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), or other less common master's degrees such as Master of Education (MEd), and Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Some students pursue a graduate degree that is in between a master's degree and a doctoral degree called a Specialist in Education (Ed.S.).

After additional years of study and sometimes in conjunction with the completion of a master's degree and/or Ed.S. degree, students may earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or other doctoral degree, such as Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Theology, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Podiatry Medicine, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Psychology, or Juris Doctor. Some programs, such as medicine and psychology, have formal apprenticeship procedures post-graduation, such as residencies and internships, which must be completed after graduation and before one is considered fully trained. Other professional programs like law and business have no formal apprenticeship requirements after graduation (although law school graduates must take the bar exam to legally practice law in nearly all states).

Entrance into graduate programs usually depends upon a student's undergraduate academic performance or professional experience as well as their score on a standardized entrance exam like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE-graduate schools in general), the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Many graduate and law schools do not require experience after earning a bachelor's degree to enter their programs; however, business school candidates are usually required to gain a few years of professional work experience before applying. 8.9 percent of students receive postgraduate degrees. Most, after obtaining their bachelor's degree, proceed directly into the workforce.[62]

Cost

Study comparing college revenue per student by tuition and state funding in 2008 dollars. [63]

A few charity institutions cover all of the students' tuition, although scholarships (both merit-based and need-based) are widely available. Generally, private universities charge much higher tuition than their public counterparts, which rely on state funds to make up the difference. Because each state supports its own university system with state taxes, most public universities charge much higher rates for out-of-state students.[citation needed]

Annual undergraduate tuition varies widely from state to state, and many additional fees apply. In 2009, average annual tuition at a public university (for residents of the state) was $7,020.[61] Tuition for public school students from outside the state is generally comparable to private school prices, although students can often qualify for state residency after their first year. Private schools are typically much higher, although prices vary widely from "no-frills" private schools to highly specialized technical institutes. Depending upon the type of school and program, annual graduate program tuition can vary from $15,000 to as high as $50,000. Note that these prices do not include living expenses (rent, room/board, etc.) or additional fees that schools add on such as "activities fees" or health insurance. These fees, especially room and board, can range from $6,000 to $12,000 per academic year (assuming a single student without children).[64]

The mean annual Total Cost (including all costs associated with a full-time post-secondary schooling, such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board), as reported by collegeboard.com for 2010:[64]

  • Public University (4 years): $27,967 (per year)
  • Private University (4 years): $40,476 (per year)

Total, four-year schooling:

  • Public University: $111,868
  • Private University: $161,904

College costs are rising at the same time that state appropriations for aid are shrinking. This has led to debate over funding at both the state and local levels. From 2002 to 2004 alone, tuition rates at public schools increased over 14 percent, largely due to dwindling state funding. An increase of 6 percent occurred over the same period for private schools.[64] Between 1982 and 2007, college tuition and fees rose three times as fast as median family income, in constant dollars.[65]

Cost of US college education relative to the consumer price index (inflation).

From the US Census Bureau, the median salary of an individual who has only a high school diploma is $27,967; The median salary of an individual who has a bachelor's degree is $47,345.[66] Certain degrees, such as in engineering, typically result in salaries far exceeding high school graduates, whereas degrees in teaching and social work fall below.[citation needed]

The debt of the average college graduate for student loans in 2010 was $23,200.[67]

A 2010 study indicates that the "return on investment" for graduating from the top 1000 colleges exceeds 4% over a high school degree.[68]

According to Uni in the USA, "One of the reasons American universities have thrived is due to their remarkable management of financial resources."[69] To combat costs colleges have hired adjunct professors to teach. In 2008 these teachers cost about $1,800 per 3-credit class as opposed to $8,000 per class for a tenured professor. Two-thirds of college instructors were adjuncts. There are differences of opinion whether these adjuncts teach better or worse than regular professors. There is a suspicion that student evaluation of adjuncts, along with their subsequent continued employment, can lead to grade inflation.[70]

The status ladder

American college and university faculty, staff, alumni, students, and applicants monitor rankings produced by magazines such as U.S. News and World Report, Academic Ranking of World Universities, test preparation services such as The Princeton Review or another university itself such as the Top American Research Universities by the University of Florida's The Center.[71] These rankings are based on factors like brand recognition, selectivity in admissions, generosity of alumni donors, and volume of faculty research. In global university rankings, the US dominates more than half the top 50 places (27) and has a total of 72 institutions in the top 200 table under the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[72]

It has more than twice as many universities represented in the top 200 as its nearest rival, the United Kingdom, which has 29. A small percentage of students who apply to these schools gain admission.[73] Included among the top 20 institutions identified by ARWU in 2009 are six of the eight schools in the Ivy League; 4 of the 10 schools in the University of California system; the private Universities of Stanford, Chicago, and Johns Hopkins; the public Universities of Washington and Wisconsin; and the Massachusetts and California Institutes of Technology.[74]

Also renowned within the United States are the so-called "Little Ivies" and a number of prestigious liberal arts colleges. Certain public universities (sometimes referred to as "Public Ivies") are also recognized for their outstanding record in scholarship. Some of these institutions currently place among the elite in certain measurements of graduate education and research, especially among engineering and medical schools.[75][76]

Each state in the United States maintains its own public university system, which is always non-profit. The State University of New York and the California State University are the largest public higher education systems in the United States; SUNY is the largest system that includes community colleges, while CSU is the largest without. Most areas also have private institutions, which may be for-profit or non-profit. Unlike many other nations, there are no public universities at the national level outside of the military service academies.

Prospective students applying to attend four of the five military academies require, with limited exceptions, nomination by a member of Congress. Like acceptance to "top tier" universities, competition for these limited nominations is intense and must be accompanied by superior scholastic achievement and evidence of "leadership potential."

Aside from these aforementioned schools, academic reputations vary widely among the 'middle-tier' of American schools, (and even among academic departments within each of these schools.) Most public and private institutions fall into this 'middle' range. Some institutions feature honors colleges or other rigorous programs that challenge academically exceptional students, who might otherwise attend a 'top-tier' college.[77][78] Aware of the status attached to the perception of the college that they attend, students often apply to a range of schools. Some apply to a relatively prestigious school with a low acceptance rate, gambling on the chance of acceptance, and also apply to a "safety school",[79] to which they will (almost) certainly gain admission.

Lower status institutions include community colleges. These are primarily two-year public institutions, which individual states usually require to accept all local residents who seek admission, and offer associate's degrees or vocational certificate programs. Many community colleges have relationships with four-year state universities and colleges or even private universities that enable their students to transfer to these universities for a four-year degree after completing a two-year program at the community college.[citation needed]

Regardless of perceived prestige, many institutions feature at least one distinguished academic department, and most post-secondary American students attend one of the 2,400 four-year colleges and universities or 1,700 two-year colleges not included among the twenty-five or so 'top-tier' institutions.[80]

Criticism

A college economics professor has blamed "credential inflation" for the admission of so many unqualified students into college. He reports that the number of new jobs requiring college degrees is less than the number of college graduates.[7] The same professor reports that the more money that a state spends on higher education, the slower the economy grows, the opposite of long held notions.[7]

Funding

Funding for K–12 schools

According to a 2005 report from the OECD, the United States is tied for first place with Switzerland when it comes to annual spending per student on its public schools, with each of those two countries spending more than $11,000.[81] However, the United States is ranked 37th in the world in education spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. All but seven of the leading countries are in developing countries; ranked high because of a low GDP.[82] U.S. public schools lag behind the schools of other developed countries in the areas of reading, math, and science.[83]

The federal government contributes money to certain individual school districts as part of Federal Impact Aid. The original idea was that the federal government paid no local real estate taxes on their property to support local schools. Children of government employees might move in and impact an area which required expenditure for education at the local level. This aid was a way of equalizing the unexpected impact.

According to a 2006 study by the conservative Goldwater Institute, Arizona's public schools spend 50% more per student than Arizona's private schools. The study also says that while teachers constitute 72% of the employees at private schools, they make up less than half of the staff at public schools.[84]

According to a 1999 article by William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, increased levels of spending on public education have not made the schools better. Among many other things, the article cites the following statistics:[85]

  • Between 1960 and 1995, U.S. public school spending per student, adjusted for inflation, increased by 212%.
  • In 1994, less than half of all U.S. public school employees were teachers.
  • Out of 21 industrialized countries, U.S. 12th graders ranked 19th in math, 16th in science, and last in advanced physics.[clarification needed]

Funding for schools in the United States is complex. One current controversy stems much from the No Child Left Behind Act. The Act gives the Department of Education the right to withhold funding if it believes a school, district, or even a state is not complying with federal plans and is making no effort to comply. However, federal funding accounts for little of the overall funding schools receive. The vast majority comes from the state government and in some cases from local property taxes.[citation needed]

Property taxes as a primary source of funding for public education have become highly controversial, for a number of reasons. First, if a state's population and land values escalate rapidly, many longtime residents may find themselves paying property taxes much higher than anticipated. In response to this phenomenon, California's citizens passed Proposition 13 in 1978, which severely restricted the ability of the Legislature to expand the state's educational system to keep up with growth. Some states, such as Michigan, have investigated or implemented alternate schemes for funding education that may sidestep the problems of funding based mainly on property taxes by providing funding based on sales or income tax. These schemes also have failings, negatively impacting funding in a slow economy.[86]

One of the biggest debates in funding public schools is funding by local taxes or state taxes. The federal government supplies around 8.5% of the public school system funds, according to a 2005 report by the National Center for Education Statistics.[citation needed] The remaining split between state and local governments averages 48.7 percent from states and 42.8 percent from local sources.[citation needed] However, the division varies widely. In Hawaii local funds make up 1.7 percent, while state sources account for nearly 90.1 percent.[87]

Rural schools struggle with funding concerns. State funding sources often favor wealthier districts. The state establishes a minimum flat amount deemed "adequate" to educate a child based on equalized assessed value of property taxes. This favors wealthier districts with a much larger tax base. This, combined with the history of slow payment in the state, leaves rural districts searching for funds. Lack of funding leads to limited resources for teachers. Resources that directly relate to funding include access to high-speed internet, online learning programs and advanced course offerings.[51] These resources can enhance a student's learning opportunities, but may not be available to everyone if a district cannot afford to offer specific programs.

Judicial intervention

The reliance on local funding sources has led to a long history of court challenges about how states fund their schools. These challenges have relied on interpretations of state constitutions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that school funding was not a matter of the U.S. Constitution (San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973)). The state court cases, beginning with the California case of Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal.3d 584 (1971), were initially concerned with equity in funding, which was defined in terms of variations in spending across local school districts. More recently, state court cases have begun to consider what has been called 'adequacy.' These cases have questioned whether the total amount of spending was sufficient to meet state constitutional requirements. Perhaps the most famous adequacy case is Abbott v. Burke, 100 N.J. 269, 495 A.2d 376 (1985), which has involved state court supervision over several decades and has led to some of the highest spending of any U.S. districts in the so-called Abbott districts. The background and results of these cases are analyzed in a book by Eric Hanushek and Alfred Lindseth.[88] That analysis concludes that funding differences are not closely related to student outcomes and thus that the outcomes of the court cases have not led to improved policies.

Funding for college

At the college and university level student loan funding is split in half; half is managed by the Department of Education directly, called the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP). The other half is managed by commercial entities such as banks, credit unions, and financial services firms such as Sallie Mae, under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Some schools accept only FFELP loans; others accept only FDSLP. Still others accept both, and a few schools will not accept either, in which case students must seek out private alternatives for student loans.[89]

Grant funding is provided by the federal Pell Grant program.

Reading and writing habits

Libraries have been considered important to educational goals.[90] Library books are more readily available to Americans than to people in Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Austria and all the Mediterranean nations. The average American borrowed more library books in 2001 than his or her peers in Germany, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Luxembourg, France and throughout the Mediterranean.[91] Americans buy more books than people in Europe.[91]

Education issues

[clarification needed]

Major educational issues in the United States center on curriculum and control. Of critical importance, because of its enormous implications on education and funding, is the No Child Left Behind Act.[49]

Tracking

Tracking is the practice of dividing students at the primary or secondary school level into separate classes, depending if the student is high, average, or low achievers. It also offers different curriculum paths for students headed for college and for those who are bound directly for the workplace or technical schools.[citation needed]

Curriculum issues

Curricula in the United States vary widely from district to district. Not only do schools offer a range of topics and quality, but private schools may include religious classes as mandatory for attendance. This raises the question of government funding vouchers in states with anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments in their constitution. This has produced camps of argument over the standardization of curricula and to what degree. These same groups often are advocates of standardized testing, which is mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.

There is debate over which subjects should receive the most focus, with astronomy and geography among those cited as not being taught enough in schools.[92][93][94]

English in the classroom

An issue facing curricula today is the use of the English language in teaching. English is spoken by over 95% of the nation, and there is a strong national tradition of upholding English as the de facto official language.[citation needed] Some 9.7 million children aged 5 to 17 primarily speak a language other than English at home. Of those, about 1.3 million children do not speak English well or at all.[95]

Attainment

Forty-four percent of college faculty believe that incoming students aren't ready for writing at the college level. Ninety percent of high school teachers believe exiting students are well-prepared.[96][97][98][99]

Boys have underperformed girls for a number of years. On average, girls stand higher in their classes and perform well in all subjects. This is a turnaround from the early 20th century when boys usually outperformed girls. Parents and educators are concerned about how to motivate boys to become better students.[100]

Drop out rates are a concern in American four-year colleges. In New York, 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later — and even fewer Hispanics and blacks did.[101] 33 percent of the freshmen who enter the University of Massachusetts Boston graduate within six years. Less than 41 percent graduate from the University of Montana, and 44 percent from the University of New Mexico.[102]

Since the 1980s the number of educated Americans has continued to grow, but at a slower rate. Some have attributed this to an increase in the foreign born portion of the workforce. However, the decreasing growth of the educational workforce has instead been primarily due to slowing down in educational attainment of people schooled in the United States.[103]

Racial achievement gap

The Racial achievement gap in the United States refers to the educational disparities between minority students and Asian and Caucasian students.[104] This disparity manifests itself in a variety of ways: African-American and Hispanic students are more likely to receive lower grades, score lower on standardized tests, drop out of high school, and are less likely to enter and complete college.[105] The racial achievement gap remains because not all groups of students are advancing at the same rates.[citation needed]

Controversial professor Lino Graglia has suggested that blacks and Hispanics are falling behind in education because they are increasingly raised in single-parent families.[106][107] On the other hand, the late UC Berkeley professor Arthur Jensen, in a controversial paper published in 1969, argued that the achievement gap was the result of IQ differences between blacks and whites.

Nationally, one in every six black students is suspended compared to one in 20 white students. A 2011 study found that students who were expelled were three times as likely to become involved with the juvenile justice system the following school year.[108]

Evolution in Kansas

In 1999 the School Board of the state of Kansas caused controversy when it decided to eliminate teaching of evolution in its state assessment tests.[109] Scientists from around the country demurred.[110] Many religious and family values groups, on the other hand, claimed that evolution is simply a theory in the colloquial sense,[111] and as such creationist ideas should therefore be taught alongside it as an alternative viewpoint.[112] A majority supported teaching intelligent design and/or creationism in public schools.[113]

Violence and drug use

Violence is a problem in high schools, depending on the size and level of the school. Between 1996 and September 2003, at least 46 students and teachers were killed in 27 incidents involving the use of firearms. Information from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that, in 2001, students between the ages of 12 and 18 were the victims of 2 million crimes in US schools. 62% of the crimes were thefts. Between July 1999 and June 2000, 24 murders and 8 suicides took place in American schools.

Also in 2001, 47% of American high school students drank alcohol at least once; 5% drank right on school territory. 24% of high school students smoked marijuana, 5% smoking right at school. 29% of students who smoke marijuana obtain the drug at school.[114]

Sex education

Almost all students in the U.S. receive some form of sex education at least once between grades 7 and 12; many schools begin addressing some topics as early as grades 4 or 5.[115] However, what students learn varies widely, because curriculum decisions are so decentralized. Many states have laws governing what is taught in sex education classes or allowing parents to opt out. Some state laws leave curriculum decisions to individual school districts.[116] For example, a 1999 study by the Guttmacher Institute found that most U.S. sex education courses in grades 7 through 12 cover puberty, HIV, STDs, abstinence, implications of teenage pregnancy, and how to resist peer pressure. Other studied topics, such as methods of birth control and infection prevention, sexual orientation, sexual abuse, and factual and ethical information about abortion, varied more widely.[117]

However, according to a 2004 survey, a majority of the 1001 parent groups polled wants complete sex education in the schools. The American people are heavily divided over the issue. Over 80% of polled parents agreed with the statement "Sex education in school makes it easier for me to talk to my child about sexual issues," while under 17% agreed with the statement that their children were being exposed to "subjects I don't think my child should be discussing." 10 percent believed that their children's sexual education class forced them to discuss sexual issues "too early." On the other hand, 49 percent of the respondents (the largest group) were "somewhat confident" that the values taught in their children's sex ed classes were similar to those taught at home, and 23 percent were less confident still. (The margin of error was plus or minus 4.7 percent.)[118]

Textbook review and adoption

In many localities in the United States, the curriculum taught in public schools is influenced by the textbooks used by the teachers. In some states, textbooks are selected for all students at the state level. Since states such as California and Texas represent a considerable market for textbook publishers, these states can exert influence over the content of the books.[119]

In 2010, the Texas Board of Education adopted new Social Studies standards that could potentially impact the content of textbooks purchased in other parts of the country. The deliberations that resulted in the new standards were partisan in nature and are said to reflect a conservative leaning in the view of United States history.[120]

As of January 2009, the four largest college textbook publishers in the United States were:

Other US textbook publishers include:

Cheating

From 50% to 95% of American students admit to have cheated in high school or college at one time or another. These poll results cast some doubt on measured academic attainment tests.[121]

Charter schools

The charter-school movement was born in 1990. Charter schools have spread rapidly in the United States, members, parents, teachers, and students" to allow for the "expression of diverse teaching philosophies and cultural and social life styles." [122]

Affirmative action

In 2003 a Supreme Court decision concerning affirmative action in universities allowed educational institutions to consider race as a factor in admitting students, but ruled that strict point systems are unconstitutional.[123] Opponents of racial affirmative action argue that the program actually benefits middle- and upper-class people of color at the expense of lower class European Americans and Asian Americans.[124] Prominent African American academics Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, while favoring affirmative action, have argued that in practice, it has led to recent black immigrants and their children being greatly overrepresented at elite institutions, at the expense of the historic African American community made up of descendants of slaves.[125] In 2006, Jian Li, a Chinese undergraduate at Yale University, filed a civil rights complaint with the Office for Civil Rights against Princeton University, claiming that his race played a role in their decision to reject his application for admission.[126]

Control

There is some debate about where control for education actually lies. Education is not mentioned in the constitution of the United States. In the current situation, the state and national governments have a power-sharing arrangement, with the states exercising most of the control. Like other arrangements between the two, the federal government uses the threat of decreased funding to enforce laws pertaining to education.[56] Furthermore, within each state there are different types of control. Some states have a statewide school system, while others delegate power to county, city or township-level school boards. However, under the Bush administration, initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind Act have attempted to assert more central control in a heavily decentralized system.

Many cities have their own school boards everywhere in the United States. With the exception of cities, outside the northeast U.S. school boards are generally constituted at the county level.

The U.S. federal government exercises its control through the U.S. Department of Education. Educational accreditation decisions are made by voluntary regional associations. Schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, teach in English, while schools in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico teach in Spanish. Nonprofit private schools are widespread, are largely independent of the government, and include secular as well as parochial schools.

International comparison

In the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment 2003, which emphasizes problem solving, American 15 year olds ranked 24th of 38 in mathematics, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving.[127] In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science. Reading scores could not be reported due to printing errors in the instructions of the U.S. test booklets. U.S. scores were behind those of most other developed nations.[128]

However, the picture changes when low achievers, Blacks and Hispanics, in the U.S. are broken out by race. White and Asian students in the United States are generally among the best-performing pupils in the world; black and Hispanic students in the U.S. have very high rates of low achievement. Black and Hispanic students in the US do out perform their counterparts in all African and Hispanic countries.[129][130]

US fourth and eighth graders tested above average on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests, which emphasizes traditional learning.[131]

Educational attainment

Educational attainment since 1940. [132]

The rise of the high school movement in the beginning of the 20th century was unique in the United States, such that, high schools were implemented with property-tax funded tuition, openness, non-exclusivity, and were decentralized.

The academic curriculum was designed to provide the students with a terminal degree. The students obtained general knowledge (such as mathematics, chemistry, English composition, etc.) applicable to the high geographic and social mobility in the United States. The provision of the high schools accelerated with the rise of the second industrial revolution. The increase in white collar and skilled blue-collar work in manufacturing was reflected in the demand for high school education.

In the 21st century, the educational attainment of the US population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the United States is becoming increasingly more educated.[132] Post-secondary education is valued very highly by American society and is one of the main determinants of class and status.[citation needed] As with income, however, there are significant discrepancies in terms of race, age, household configuration and geography.[133] Current education trends in the United States represent multiple achievement gaps across ethnicities, income levels, and geographies. As McKinsey and Company reported in a 2009 analysis, “These educational gaps impose on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession.”[clarification needed][134] Overall the households and demographics featuring the highest educational attainment in the United States are also among those with the highest household income and wealth. Thus, while the population of the US is becoming increasingly educated on all levels, a direct link between income and educational attainment remains.[133]

ACT Inc. reports that 25% of US graduating high school seniors meet college-readiness benchmarks in English, reading, mathematics, and science.[135] Including the 22% of students who do not graduate on time, fewer than 20% of the American youth, who should graduate high school each year, do so prepared for college.[136] The United States has fallen behind the rest of the developed world in education, creating a global achievement gap that alone costs the nation 9-to-16% of potential GDP each year.[137]

In 2007, Americans stood second only to Canada in the percentage of 35 to 64 year olds holding at least two-year degrees. Among 25 to 34 year olds, the country stands tenth. The nation stands 15 out of 29 rated nations for college completion rates, slightly above Mexico and Turkey.[65]

The U.S. Department of Education's 2003 statistics suggest that 14% of the population – or 32 million adults – have very low literacy skills.[138]

A five-year, $14 million study of U.S. adult literacy involving lengthy interviews of U.S. adults, the most comprehensive study of literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government,[139] was released in September 1993. It involved lengthy interviews of over 26,700 adults statistically balanced for age, gender, ethnicity, education level, and location (urban, suburban, or rural) in 12 states across the U.S. and was designed to represent the U.S. population as a whole. This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information."[139]

According to a 2003 study by the US government, around 23% of Americans in California lack basic prose literacy skills.[140]

Health and safety

Many schools have nurses either full-time or part-time to administer to students and to ensure that medication is taken as directed by their physician.[141]

For some high school grades and many elementary schools as well, a police officer, titled a "resource officer", or SRO (Security Resource Officer), is on site to screen students for firearms and to help avoid disruptions.[142][143][citation needed]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b cia.gov
  3. ^ U.S. Bachelor Degree Rate Passes Milestone NY Times
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  5. ^ Paul Monroe, A cyclopedia of education (4 vol. 1911) covers each state
  6. ^ United States Census (2000) Retrieved June 17, 2005
  7. ^ a b c d Zagier, Alan Scher (6 June 2010). "Rethinking the four-year degree". Washington Post: Washington Post. pp. A2. 
  8. ^ A First Look at the Literacy of America's Adults in the 21st Century, U.S. Department of Education, 2003. Accessed May 13, 2006. Two percent of the population do not have minimal literacy and 14% have Below Basic prose literacy.
  9. ^ Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), OECD, reading literacy, science literacy and mathematics literacy all rank near the bottom of OECD-countries,
  10. ^ Ripley, Amanda (December 8, 2008). Can She Save our Schools. Time Magazine. 
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  12. ^ Education at Glance 2005 by OECD: Participation in continuing education and training
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Further reading

Bibliography

  • Berliner, David C.
  • Woodring, Paul. A Fourth of a Nation. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1957. 255 p. N.B.: Philosophical and practical reflections on education, teaching, educational psychology, and the training of teachers.

History

for more detailed bibliography see History of Education in the United States: Bibliography

  • James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935 (University of North Carolina Press, 1988).
  • Axtell, J. The school upon a hill: Education and society in colonial New England. Yale University Press. (1974).
  • Maurice R. Berube; American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883–1993. 1994. online version
  • Brint, S., & Karabel, J. The Diverted Dream: Community colleges and the promise of educational opportunity in America, 1900–1985. Oxford University Press. (1989).
  • Button, H. Warren and Provenzo, Eugene F., Jr. History of Education and Culture in America. Prentice-Hall, 1983. 379 pp.
  • Cremin, Lawrence A. The transformation of the school: Progressivism in American education, 1876–1957. (1961).
  • Cremin, Lawrence A. American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607–1783. (1970); American Education: The National Experience, 1783–1876. (1980); American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876–1980 (1990); standard 3 vol detailed scholarly history
  • Curti, M. E. The social ideas of American educators, with new chapter on the last twenty-five years. (1959).
  • Dorn, Sherman. Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History of School Failure. Praeger, 1996. 167 pp.
  • Gatto, John Taylor. The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation into the Prison of Modern Schooling. Oxford Village Press, 2001, 412 pp. online version
  • Herbst, Juergen. The once and future school: Three hundred and fifty years of American secondary education. (1996).
  • Herbst, Juergen. School Choice and School Governance: A Historical Study of the United States and Germany 2006. ISBN 1-4039-7302-4.
  • Kemp, Roger L. "Town & Gown Relations: A Handbook of Best Practices," McFarland and Company, Inc., Publisher, Jefferson, North Carolina, USA, and London, England (UK)(2013). (ISBN 978-0-7864-6388-2 ).
  • Krug, Edward A. The shaping of the American high school, 1880–1920. (1964); The American high school, 1920–1940. (1972). standard 2 vol scholarly history
  • Lucas, C. J. American higher education: A history. (1994). pp.; reprinted essays from History of Education Quarterly
  • Parkerson, Donald H. and Parkerson, Jo Ann. Transitions in American Education: A Social History of Teaching. Routledge, 2001. 242 pp.
  • Parkerson, Donald H. and Parkerson, Jo Ann. The Emergence of the Common School in the U.S. Countryside. Edwin Mellen, 1998. 192 pp.
  • Peterson, Paul E. The politics of school reform, 1870–1940. (1985).
  • Ravitch, Diane. Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms. Simon & Schuster, 2000. 555 pp.
  • John L. Rury; Education and Social Change: Themes in the History of American Schooling.'; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002. online version
  • Sanders, James W The education of an urban minority: Catholics in Chicago, 1833–1965. (1977).
  • Solomon, Barbara M. In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. (1985).
  • Theobald, Paul. Call School: Rural Education in the Midwest to 1918. Southern Illinois U. Pr., 1995. 246 pp.
  • David B. Tyack. The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (1974),
  • Tyack, David and Cuban, Larry. Tinkering toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform. Harvard U. Pr., 1995. 184 pp.
  • Tyack, David B., & Hansot, E. Managers of virtue: Public school leadership in America, 1820–1980. (1982).
  • Veysey Lawrence R. The emergence of the American university. (1965).

External links

Education in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Education in the United States of America
National education budget (2007)
Budget $16 billion (public and private, all levels)[1]
General details
Primary languages English
System type Federal, state, private
Literacy
Male 70%[2]
Female 45%[2]
Enrollment
Total 81.5 million
Primary 37.9 million1
Secondary 26.1 million (2006–2007)
Post secondary 17.5 million 2
Attainment
Secondary diploma 85%
Post-secondary diploma 30%[3]

Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: local, state, and federal, in that order. Child education is compulsory, and there are also a large number and wide variety of higher education institutions throughout the country that one can choose to attend, both publicly and privately administered.

Public education is universally available. School curricula, funding, teaching, employment, and other policies are set through locally elected school boards with jurisdiction over school districts with many directives from state legislatures. School districts are usually separate from other local jurisdictions, with independent officials and budgets. Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are usually made by state governments.

The ages for compulsory education vary by state. It begins from ages five to eight and ends from ages fourteen to eighteen.[4] Compulsory education requirements can generally be satisfied by educating children in public schools, state-certified private schools, or an approved home school program. In most public and private schools, education is divided into three levels: elementary school, middle school (sometimes called junior high school), and high school (sometimes referred to as secondary education).

In almost all schools at these levels, children are divided by age groups into grades, ranging from kindergarten (followed by first grade) for the youngest children in elementary school, up to twelfth grade, the final year of high school. The exact age range of students in these grade levels varies slightly from area to area.

Post-secondary education, better known as "college" in the United States, is generally governed separately from the elementary and high school system, and is described in a separate section below.

Government supported, free public schools for all started being established after the revolution, and expanded in the 19th century, as the results of efforts of men like Horace Mann and Booker T. Washington. By 1870, all states had free elementary schools,[5] albeit only in urban centers. As the 20th century drew nearer, states started passing laws to make schooling compulsory, and by 1910, 72 percent of children attended school. Private schools continued to spread during this time, as well as colleges and—in the rural centers—land grant colleges. The year of 1910 also saw the first true high schools.

During the rest of the 20th century, educational efforts centered on reducing the inequality of the schooling system. The landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education made the desegregation of elementary and high schools a national priority, while the Pell Grant program helped poor minorities gain access to college. Special education was made into federal law in 1975.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 made standardized testing a requirement, and in 1983, a commission was established to evaluate their results and propose a course of action. The resulting No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was controversial and its goals proved to be unrealistic. A commission established in 2006 evaluated higher education, but its recommendations have yet to be fully implemented.

Contents

Statistics

In the year 2000, there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. Of these, 72 percent aged 12 to 17 were judged academically "on track" for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). Of those enrolled in compulsory education, 5.2 million (10.4 percent) were attending private schools.[citation needed]

Among the country's adult population, over 85 percent have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor's degree or higher. The average salary for college or university graduates is greater than $51,000, exceeding the national average of those without a high school diploma by more than $23,000, according to a 2005 study by the U.S. Census Bureau.[6] The 2010 unemployment rate for high school graduates was 10.8%; the rate for college graduates was 4.9%.[7]

The country has a reading literacy rate at 99% of the population over age 15,[8] while ranking below average in science and mathematics understanding compared to other developed countries.[9] In 2008, there was a 77% graduation rate from high school, below that of most developed countries.[10]

The poor performance has pushed public and private efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the ratio of college-educated adults entering the workforce to general population (33%) is slightly below the mean of other developed countries (35%)[11] and rate of participation of the labor force in continuing education is high.[12] A 2000s (decade) study by Jon Miller of Michigan State University concluded that "A slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate than European or Japanese adults".[13]

School grades

Most children enter the public education system around ages five or six. The American school year traditionally begins at the end of August or the day after Labor Day in September, after the traditional summer recess. Children are assigned into year groups known as grades, beginning with preschool, followed by kindergarten and culminating in twelfth grade. Children customarily advance together from one grade to the next as a single cohort or "class" upon reaching the end of each school year in late May or early June.

The American educational system comprises 12 grades of study over 12 calendar years of primary and secondary education before graduating, and often becoming eligible for admission to higher education.[14] After pre-kindergarten 1, pre-kindergarten 2, and kindergarten, there are five years in primary school (normally known as elementary school). After completing five grades, the student will enter middle school and then high school to get the high school diploma.[14]

The U.S. uses ordinal numbers (e.g., first grade) for identifying grades. Typical ages and grade groupings in public and private schools may be found through the U.S. Department of Education. Generally, elementary school (K-5), middle school (6-8), and high school (9-12).[15][dead link] Many different variations exist across the country.

Education in the United States
Preschool
Pre-kindergarten 1 3-4
Pre-kindergarten 2 4-5
Elementary school
Kindergarden 5-6
1st Grade 6-7
2nd Grade 7-8
3rd Grade 8-9
4th Grade 9-10
5th Grade 10-11
Middle school
6th Grade 11-12
7th Grade 12-13
8th Grade 13-14
High school
9th Grade (Freshman) 14-15
10th Grade (Sophomore) 15-16
11th Grade (Junior) 16-17
12th Grade (Senior) 17-18
Post-secondary education
Tertiary education (College or University) Ages vary, but often 18–22
(Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years)
Vocational education Ages vary
Graduate education Ages vary
Adult education Ages vary

Students completing high school may choose to attend a college or university. Undergraduate degrees may be either associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees (baccalaureate)

Community college typically offer two-year associate's degrees, although some community colleges offer a limited number of bachelor's degrees. Some community college students choose to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor's degree. Community colleges are generally publicly funded and offer career certifications and part-time programs.

Four-year institutions may be public or private colleges or universities.

Most public institutions are state universities, which are sponsored by state governments and typically receive funding through some combination of taxpayer funds, tuition, private donations, federal grants, and proceeds from endowments. State universities are organized in a wide variety of ways, and many are part of a state university system. However, not all public institutions are state universities. The five service academies, one for each branch of the armed forces, are completely funded by the federal government; the academies train students (cadets or midshipmen) to be commissioned officers in exchange for a mandatory term of military service. Additionally, some local governments (counties and cities) have four-year institutions of their own - one example is the City University of New York.

Private institutions are privately funded and there is wide variety in size, focus, and operation. Some private institutions are large research universities, while others are small liberal arts colleges that concentrate on undergraduate education. Some private universities are nonsectarian while others are religiously affiliated. While most private institutions are non-profit, a number are for profit.

Curriculum varies widely depending on the institution. Typically, an undergraduate student will be able to select an academic major or concentration, which comprises the main or special subjects, and students may change their major one or more times.

Some students, typically those with a bachelor's degree, may chose to continue on to graduate or professional school. Graduate degrees may be either master's degrees (e.g., M.S., M.B.A., M.S.W.) or doctorates (e.g., Ph.D., J.D., M.D.). Academia-focused graduate school typically includes some combination of coursework and research (often requiring a thesis or dissertation), while professional school (e.g., medical, law, business) grants a first professional degree and aims to prepare students to enter a learned profession.

Preschool

In large cities, sometimes there are private preschools catering to the children of the wealthy. Because some wealthy families see these schools as the first step toward an elite college education, there are even counselors who specialize in assisting parents and their toddlers through the preschool admissions process.[16] Increasingly, a growing body of preschools are adopting international standards such as the International Preschool Curriculum[17]

Student health

According to the National Association of School Nurses, 17% of students are considered obese and 32% are overweight.[18]

Elementary and secondary education

Schooling is compulsory for all children in the United States, but the age range for which school attendance is required varies from state to state. Most children begin elementary education with kindergarten (usually five to six years old) and finish secondary education with twelfth grade (usually eighteen years old). In some cases, pupils may be promoted beyond the next regular grade. Some states allow students to leave school between 14–17 with parental permission, before finishing high school; other states require students to stay in school until age 18[19]

Educational attainment in the United States, Age 25 and Over (2009) [20]
Education Percentage
High school graduate 86.68%
Some college 55.60%
Associates and/or Bachelor's degree 38.54%
Bachelor's degree 29.0%
Master's degree 7.62%
Doctorate or professional degree 2.94%

Most parents send their children to either a public or private institution. According to government data, one-tenth of students are enrolled in private schools. Approximately 85% of students enter the public schools,[21] largely because they are tax-subsidized (tax burdens by school districts vary from area to area).

There are more than 14,000 school districts in the country.[22]

More than $500 billion is spent each year on public primary and secondary education.[22]

Most states require that their school districts within the state teach for 180 days a year.[23]

Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner.[21]

Nearly 6.2 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2007 dropped out of high school, including nearly three of 10 Hispanics.[24]

The issue of high-school drop-outs is considered important to address as the incarceration rate for African-American male high school dropouts is about 50 (fifty) times the national average.[25]

In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that forced busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation.[26] This ruling resulted in a white flight from the inner cities which largely diluted the intent of the order. This flight had other, non-educational ramifications as well. Integration took place in most schools though de facto segregation often determined the composition of the student body. By the 1990s, most areas of the country have been released from mandatory busing.

In 2010, there were 3,823,142 teachers in public, charter, private, and Catholic elementary and secondary schools. They taught a total of 55,203,000 students, who attended one of 132,656 schools.[27]

States do not require proper reporting from their school districts to allow analysis of efficiency of return on investment. The Center for American Progress, called a "left-leaning think tank", commends Florida and Texas as the only two states that provide annual school-level productivity evaluations which report to the public how well school funds are being spent at the local level. This allows for comparison of school districts within a state.[28][29]

In 2010, American students rank 17th in the world. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says that this is due to focusing on the low end of performers. All of the recent gains have been made, deliberately, at the low end of the socioeconomic scale and among the lowest achievers. The country has been outrun, the study says, by other nations because the US has not done enough to encourage the highest achievers.[30]

About half of the states encourage schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.[31]

Teachers worked from about 35 to 46 hours a week, in a survey taken in 1993.[32] In 2011, American teachers worked 1,097 hours in the classroom, the most for any industrialized nation measured by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They spend 1,913 hours a year on their work, just below the national average of 1,932 hours for all workers.[33] In 2011, the average annual salary of a preK-12 teacher was $55,040.[34]

Transporting students to and from school is a major concern for most school districts. School buses provide the largest mass transit program in the country, 8.8 billion trips per year. Non-school transit buses give 5.2 billion trips annually. 440,000 yellow school buses carry over 24 million students to and from schools.[35]

School start times are computed with busing in mind. There are often three start times: for elementary, for middle/junior high, and for high school. One school district computed its cost per bus (without the driver) at $20,575 annually. It assumed a model where the average driver drove 80 miles per day. A driver was presumed to cost $.62 per mile (1.6 km). Elementary schools started at 7:30, middle schools/junior high school started at 8:15 and senior high schools at 9:00. While elementary school started earlier, they also finish earlier, at 2:25, middle schools at 3:10 and senior high schools at 3:55.[36] All school districts establish their own times and means of transportation within guidelines set by their own state.

Elementary school

A teacher and her students in an elementary school classroom

Historically, in the United States, local public control (and private alternatives) have allowed for some variation in the organization of schools. Elementary school includes kindergarten through fifth grade (or sometimes, to fourth grade, sixth grade or eighth grade). Basic subjects are taught in elementary school, and students often remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for physical education, library, music, and art classes. There are (as of 2001) about 3.6 million children in each grade in the United States.[37]

Typically, the curriculum in public elementary education is determined by individual school districts. The school district selects curriculum guides and textbooks that reflect a state's learning standards and benchmarks for a given grade level.[38] Learning Standards are the goals by which states and school districts must meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) as mandated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This description of school governance is simplistic at best, however, and school systems vary widely not only in the way curricular decisions are made but also in how teaching and learning take place. Some states and/or school districts impose more top-down mandates than others. In others, teachers play a significant role in curriculum design and there are few top-down mandates. Curricular decisions within private schools are made differently than they are in public schools, and in most cases without consideration of NCLB.

Public Elementary School teachers typically instruct between twenty and thirty students of diverse learning needs. A typical classroom will include children with a range of learning needs or abilities, from those identified as having special needs of the kinds listed in the Individuals with Disabilities Act IDEA to those that are cognitively, athletically or artistically gifted. At times, an individual school district identifies areas of need within the curriculum. Teachers and advisory administrators form committees to develop supplemental materials to support learning for diverse learners and to identify enrichment for textbooks. Many school districts post information about the curriculum and supplemental materials on websites for public access.[39]

In general, a student learns basic arithmetic and sometimes rudimentary algebra in mathematics, English proficiency (such as basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary), and fundamentals of other subjects. Learning standards are identified for all areas of a curriculum by individual States, including those for mathematics, social studies, science, physical development, the fine arts, and reading.[38] While the concept of State Learning standards has been around for some time, No Child Left Behind has mandated that standards exist at the State level.

Elementary School teachers are trained with emphases on human cognitive and psychological development and the principles of curriculum development and instruction. Teachers typically earn either a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. The teaching of social studies and science are often underdeveloped in elementary school programs. Some attribute this to the fact that elementary school teachers are trained as generalists; however, teachers attribute this to the priority placed on developing reading, writing and math proficiency in the elementary grades and to the large amount of time needed to do so. Reading, writing and math proficiency greatly affect performance in social studies, science and other content areas. Certification standards for teachers are determined by individual states, with individual colleges and universities determining the rigor of the college education provided for future teachers. Some states require content area tests, as well as instructional skills tests for teacher certification in that state.[40]

The broad topic of Social Studies may include key events, documents, understandings, and concepts in American history, and geography, and in some programs, state or local history and geography. Topics included under the broader term "science" vary from the physical sciences such as physics and chemistry, through the biological sciences such as biology, ecology, and physiology. Most States have predetermined the number of minutes that will be taught within a given content area. Because No Child Left Behind focuses on reading and math as primary targets for improvement, other instructional areas have received less attention.[41] There is much discussion within educational circles about the justification and impact of having curricula that place greater emphasis on those topics (reading, writing and math) that are specifically tested for improvement.[42]

Secondary education

As part of education in the United States, secondary education usually covers grades 6 through 9 or 10 through 12.

Junior and senior high school

A high school classroom in Georgia

Middle school and Junior high school include the grade levels intermediate between elementary school and senior high school. "Middle school" usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade; "Junior high" typically includes seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.[43] At this time, students are given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives). Usually, starting in ninth grade, grades become part of a student's official transcript.

Senior high school is a school attended after junior high school. High school is often used instead of senior high school and distinguished from junior high school. High school usually runs either from 9th through 12th, or 10th through 12th grade. The students in these grades are commonly referred to as freshmen (grade 9), sophomores (grade 10), juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12).

Basic curricular structure

Generally, at the high school level, students take a broad variety of classes without special emphasis in any particular subject. Students are required to take a certain minimum number of mandatory subjects, but may choose additional subjects ("electives") to fill out their required hours of learning.

The following minimum courses of study in mandatory subjects are required in nearly all U.S. high schools:

  • Science (usually three years minimum, normally biology, chemistry and physics)
  • Mathematics (usually four years minimum, normally including algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics, and even calculus)
  • English (usually four years minimum, including literature, humanities, composition, oral languages, etc.)
  • Social sciences (usually three years minimum, including various history, government/economics courses)[44]
  • Physical education (at least two years)

Many states require a "health" course in which students learn about anatomy, nutrition, first aid, sexuality, drug awareness and birth control. Anti-drug use programs are also usually part of health courses. In many cases, however, options are provided for students to "test out" of this requirement or complete independent study to meet it. Foreign language and some form of art education are also a mandatory part of the curriculum in some schools.

Electives

Common types of electives include:

Advanced courses

Many high schools provide Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These are special forms of honors classes where the curriculum is more challenging and lessons more aggressively paced than standard courses. AP or IB courses are usually taken during the 11th or 12th grade of high school, but may be taken as early as 9th grade.

Most post-secondary institutions take AP or IB exam results into consideration in the admissions process. Because AP and IB courses are intended to be the equivalent of the first year of college courses, post-secondary institutions may grant unit credit, which enables students to graduate earlier. Other institutions use examinations for placement purposes only: students are exempted from introductory course work but may not receive credit towards a concentration, degree, or core requirement. Institutions vary in the selection of examinations they accept and the scores they require to grant credit or placement, with more elite institutions tending to accept fewer examinations and requiring higher scoring. The lack of AP, IB, and other advanced courses in impoverished inner-city high schools is often seen as a major cause of the greatly differing levels of post-secondary education these graduates go on to receive, compared with both public and private schools in wealthier neighborhoods.

Also, in states with well-developed community college systems, there are often mechanisms by which gifted students may seek permission from their school district to attend community college courses full-time during the summer, and part-time during the school year. The units earned this way can often be transferred to one's university, and can facilitate early graduation. Early college entrance programs are a step further, with students enrolling as freshmen at a younger-than-traditional age.

Home schooling

In 2007, approximately 1.5 million children were homeschooled, up 74% from 1999 when the U.S. Department of Education first started keeping statistics. This was 2.9% of all children.[46]

Many select moral or religious reasons for homeschooling their children. The second main category is "unschooling," those who prefer a non-standard approach to education.[46]

Most homeschooling advocates are wary of the established educational institutions for various reasons. Some are religious conservatives who see nonreligious education as contrary to their moral or religious systems, or who wish to add religious instruction to the educational curriculum (and who may be unable to afford a church-operated private school or where the only available school may teach views contrary to those of the parents). Others feel that they can more effectively tailor a curriculum to suit an individual student's academic strengths and weaknesses, especially those with singular needs or disabilities. Still others feel that the negative social pressures of schools (such as bullying, drugs, crime, sex, and other school-related problems) are detrimental to a child's proper development. Parents often form groups to help each other in the homeschooling process, and may even assign classes to different parents, similar to public and private schools.

Opposition to homeschooling comes from varied sources, including teachers' organizations and school districts. The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the United States, has been particularly vocal in the past.[47] Opponents' stated concerns fall into several broad categories, including fears of poor academic quality, and lack of socialization with others. At this time, over half of states have oversight into monitoring or measuring the academic progress of home schooled students, with all but ten requiring some form of notification to the state.[48]

Grading scale

In schools in the United States children are constantly assessed throughout the school year by their teachers, and report cards are issued to parents at varying intervals. Generally the scores for individual assignments and tests are recorded for each student in a grade book, along with the maximum number of points for each assignment. At any time, the total number of points for a student when divided by the total number of possible points produces a percent grade, which can be translated to a letter grade.

Letter grades are often but not always used on report cards at the end of a marking period, although the current grade may be available at other times (particularly when an electronic grade book connected to an online service is in use). Although grading scales usually differ from school to school, the most common grade scale is letter grades—"A" through "F"—derived from a scale of 0–100 or a percentile. In some areas, Texas or Virginia for example, the "D" grade (or that between 70–60) is considered a failing grade. In other jurisdictions, such as Hawaii, a "D" grade is considered passing in certain classes, and failing in others.[citation needed]

Example Grading Scale
A B C D F or E
+ + + +
100–97 96–93 92–90 89–87 86–83 82–80 79–77 76–73 72–70 69–67 66–63 62–60 Below 60 Percent

Standardized testing

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, all American states must test students in public schools statewide to ensure that they are achieving the desired level of minimum education,[49] such as on the Regents Examinations in New York, or the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS); students being educated at home or in private schools are not included. The act also requires that students and schools show "adequate yearly progress." This means they must show some improvement each year. When a student fails to make adequate yearly progress, No Child Left Behind mandates that remediation through summer school and/or tutoring be made available to a student in need of extra help.

Academic performance impacts the perception of a school's educational program. Rural schools fare better than their urban counterparts in two key areas: test scores and drop-out rate. First, students in small schools performed equal to or better than their larger school counterparts.[50] In addition, on the 2005 National Assessment of Education Progress, 4th and 8th grade students scored as well or better in reading, science, and mathematics.[51]

During high school, students (usually in 11th grade) may take one or more standardized tests depending on their post-secondary education preferences and their local graduation requirements. In theory, these tests evaluate the overall level of knowledge and learning aptitude of the students. The SAT and ACT are the most common standardized tests that students take when applying to college. A student may take the SAT, ACT, or both depending upon the post-secondary institutions the student plans to apply to for admission. Most competitive schools also require two or three SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT IIs), which are shorter exams that focus strictly on a particular subject matter. However, all these tests serve little to no purpose for students who do not move on to post-secondary education, so they can usually be skipped without affecting one's ability to graduate.[citation needed]

Extracurricular activities

A major characteristic of American schools is the high priority given to sports, clubs and activities by the community, the parents, the schools and the students themselves. Extracurricular activities are educational activities not falling within the scope of the regular curriculum but under the supervision of the school. These activities can extend to large amounts of time outside the normal school day; home-schooled students, however, are not normally allowed to participate. Student participation in sports programs, drill teams, bands, and spirit groups can amount to hours of practices and performances. Most states have organizations that develop rules for competition between groups. These organizations are usually forced to implement time limits on hours practiced as a prerequisite for participation. Many schools also have non-varsity sports teams; however, these are usually afforded less resources and attention.

Sports programs and their related games, especially football and/or basketball, are major events for American students and for larger schools can be a major source of funds for school districts.

High school athletic competitions often generate intense interest in the community.

In addition to sports, numerous non-athletic extracurricular activities are available in American schools, both public and private. Activities include Quizbowl, musical groups, marching bands, student government, school newspapers, science fairs, debate teams, and clubs focused on an academic area (such as the Spanish Club) or community service interests (such as Key Club).[citation needed]

Education of students with special needs

Commonly known as special classes, are taught by teachers with training in adapting curricula to meet the needs of students with special needs.

According to the National Association of School Nurses, 5% of students in 2009 have a seizure disorder, another 5% have ADHD and 10% have mental or emotional problems.[18]

On January 25, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education issued guidance, clarifying school districts' existing legal obligations to give disabled students an equal chance to compete in extracurricular sports alongside their able-bodied classmates.[52]

Educating children with disabilities

The federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to ensure that all government-run schools provide services to meet the individual needs of students with special needs, as defined by the law.[53] All students with special needs are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

Schools meet with the parents or guardians to develop an Individualized Education Program that determines best placement for the child. Students must be placed in the least restrictive environment (LRE) that is appropriate for the student's needs. Public schools that fail to provide an appropriate placement for students with special needs can be taken to due process wherein parents may formally submit their grievances and demand appropriate services for the child.[citation needed]

Criticism

At-risk students (those with educational needs that aren't associated with a disability) are often placed in classes with students with minor emotional and social disabilities.[54] Critics assert that placing at-risk students in the same classes as these disabled students may impede the educational progress of both the at-risk and the disabled students.[citation needed] Some research has refuted this claim, and has suggested this approach increases the academic and behavioral skills of the entire student population.[55]

Public and private schools

In the United States, state and local government have primary responsibility for education. The Federal Department of Education plays a role in standards setting and education finance, and some primary and secondary schools, for the children of military employees, are run by the Department of Defense.[56]

K-12 students in most areas have a choice between free tax-funded public schools, or privately funded private schools.[citation needed]

Public school systems are supported by a combination of local, state, and federal government funding. Because a large portion of school revenues come from local property taxes, public schools vary widely in the resources they have available per student. Class size also varies from one district to another. Curriculum decisions in public schools are made largely at the local and state levels; the federal government has limited influence. In most districts, a locally elected school board runs schools. The school board appoints an official called the superintendent of schools to manage the schools in the district.

The largest public school system in the United States is in New York City, where more than one million students are taught in 1,200 separate public schools. Because of its immense size – there are more students in the system than residents in the eight smallest US states – the New York City public school system is nationally influential in determining standards and materials, such as textbooks.[citation needed]

Admission to individual public schools is usually based on residency. To compensate for differences in school quality based on geography, school systems serving large cities and portions of large cities often have "magnet schools" that provide enrollment to a specified number of non-resident students in addition to serving all resident students. This special enrollment is usually decided by lottery with equal numbers of males and females chosen. Some magnet schools cater to gifted students or to students with special interests, such as the sciences or performing arts.[57]

Private schools in the United States include parochial schools (affiliated with religious denominations), non-profit independent schools, and for-profit private schools. Private schools charge varying rates depending on geographic location, the school's expenses, and the availability of funding from sources, other than tuition. For example, some churches partially subsidize private schools for their members. Some people have argued that when their child attends a private school, they should be able to take the funds that the public school no longer needs and apply that money towards private school tuition in the form of vouchers. This is the basis of the school choice movement.[citation needed]

5,072,451 students attended 33,740 private elementary and secondary schools in 2007. 74.5% of these were Caucasian, non-Hispanic, 9.8% were African American, 9.6% were Hispanic. 5.4% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and .6% were American Indian. Average school size was 150.3 students. There were 456,266 teachers. The number of students per teacher was about 11. 65% of seniors in private schools in 2006-7 went on to attend a 4-year college.[58]

Private schools have various missions: some cater to college-bound students seeking a competitive edge in the college admissions process; others are for gifted students, students with learning disabilities or other special needs, or students with specific religious affiliations. Some cater to families seeking a small school, with a nurturing, supportive environment. Unlike public school systems, private schools have no legal obligation to accept any interested student. Admission to some private schools is often highly selective. Private schools also have the ability to permanently expel persistently unruly students, a disciplinary option not legally available to public school systems.

Private schools offer the advantages of smaller classes, under twenty students in a typical elementary classroom, for example; a higher teacher/student ratio across the school day, greater individualized attention and in the more competitive schools, expert college placement services. Unless specifically designed to do so, private schools usually cannot offer the services required by students with serious or multiple learning, emotional, or behavioral issues. Although reputed to pay lower salaries than public school systems, private schools often attract teachers by offering high-quality professional development opportunities, including tuition grants for advanced degrees. According to elite private schools themselves, this investment in faculty development helps maintain the high quality program that they offer.[citation needed]

An August 17, 2000 article by the Chicago Sun-Times refers to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools as the largest private school system in the United States.[59]

College and university

Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College

Post-secondary education in the United States is known as college or university and commonly consists of four years of study at an institution of higher learning. There are 4,495 colleges, universities, and junior colleges in the country.[60] In 2008, 36% of enrolled students graduated from college in four years. 57% completed their undergraduate requirements in six years, at the same college they first enrolled in.[61] The U.S. ranks 10th among industrial countries for percentage of adults with college degrees.[7]

Like high school, the four undergraduate grades are commonly called freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years (alternatively called first year, second year, etc.). Students traditionally apply for admission into colleges. Schools differ in their competitiveness and reputation; generally, the most prestigious schools are private, rather than public. Admissions criteria involve the rigor and grades earned in high school courses taken, the students' GPA, class ranking, and standardized test scores (Such as the SAT or the ACT tests). Most colleges also consider more subjective factors such as a commitment to extracurricular activities, a personal essay, and an interview. While colleges will rarely list that they require a certain standardized test score, class ranking, or GPA for admission, each college usually has a rough threshold below which admission is unlikely.[citation needed]

Engineering Hall at The University of Illinois

Once admitted, students engage in undergraduate study, which consists of satisfying university and class requirements to achieve a bachelor's degree in a field of concentration known as a major. (Some students enroll in double majors or "minor" in another field of study.) The most common method consists of four years of study leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), or sometimes another bachelor's degree such as Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.,) or Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) Five-Year Professional Architecture programs offer the Bachelor of Architecture Degree (B.Arch.)

Professional degrees such as law, medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry, are offered as graduate study after earning at least three years of undergraduate schooling or after earning a bachelor's degree depending on the program. These professional fields do not require a specific undergraduate major, though medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment.[citation needed]

Alexander Hall at Princeton University

Some students choose to attend a community college for two years prior to further study at another college or university. In most states, community colleges are operated either by a division of the state university or by local special districts subject to guidance from a state agency. Community colleges may award Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree after two years. Those seeking to continue their education may transfer to a four-year college or university (after applying through a similar admissions process as those applying directly to the four-year institution, see articulation). Some community colleges have automatic enrollment agreements with a local four-year college, where the community college provides the first two years of study and the university provides the remaining years of study, sometimes all on one campus. The community college awards the associate's degree, and the university awards the bachelor's and master's degrees.[citation needed]

Graduate study, conducted after obtaining an initial degree and sometimes after several years of professional work, leads to a more advanced degree such as a master's degree, which could be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), or other less common master's degrees such as Master of Education (MEd), and Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Some students pursue a graduate degree that is in between a master's degree and a doctoral degree called a Specialist in Education (Ed.S.).

After additional years of study and sometimes in conjunction with the completion of a master's degree and/or Ed.S. degree, students may earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or other doctoral degree, such as Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Theology, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Podiatry Medicine, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Psychology, or Juris Doctor. Some programs, such as medicine and psychology, have formal apprenticeship procedures post-graduation, such as residencies and internships, which must be completed after graduation and before one is considered fully trained. Other professional programs like law and business have no formal apprenticeship requirements after graduation (although law school graduates must take the bar exam to legally practice law in nearly all states).

Entrance into graduate programs usually depends upon a student's undergraduate academic performance or professional experience as well as their score on a standardized entrance exam like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE-graduate schools in general), the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Many graduate and law schools do not require experience after earning a bachelor's degree to enter their programs; however, business school candidates are usually required to gain a few years of professional work experience before applying. 8.9 percent of students receive postgraduate degrees. Most, after obtaining their bachelor's degree, proceed directly into the workforce.[62]

Cost

Study comparing college revenue per student by tuition and state funding in 2008 dollars. [63]

A few charity institutions cover all of the students' tuition, although scholarships (both merit-based and need-based) are widely available. Generally, private universities charge much higher tuition than their public counterparts, which rely on state funds to make up the difference. Because each state supports its own university system with state taxes, most public universities charge much higher rates for out-of-state students.[citation needed]

Annual undergraduate tuition varies widely from state to state, and many additional fees apply. In 2009, average annual tuition at a public university (for residents of the state) was $7,020.[61] Tuition for public school students from outside the state is generally comparable to private school prices, although students can often qualify for state residency after their first year. Private schools are typically much higher, although prices vary widely from "no-frills" private schools to highly specialized technical institutes. Depending upon the type of school and program, annual graduate program tuition can vary from $15,000 to as high as $50,000. Note that these prices do not include living expenses (rent, room/board, etc.) or additional fees that schools add on such as "activities fees" or health insurance. These fees, especially room and board, can range from $6,000 to $12,000 per academic year (assuming a single student without children).[64]

The mean annual Total Cost (including all costs associated with a full-time post-secondary schooling, such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board), as reported by collegeboard.com for 2010:[64]

  • Public University (4 years): $27,967 (per year)
  • Private University (4 years): $40,476 (per year)

Total, four-year schooling:

  • Public University: $111,868
  • Private University: $161,904

College costs are rising at the same time that state appropriations for aid are shrinking. This has led to debate over funding at both the state and local levels. From 2002 to 2004 alone, tuition rates at public schools increased over 14 percent, largely due to dwindling state funding. An increase of 6 percent occurred over the same period for private schools.[64] Between 1982 and 2007, college tuition and fees rose three times as fast as median family income, in constant dollars.[65]

Cost of US college education relative to the consumer price index (inflation).

From the US Census Bureau, the median salary of an individual who has only a high school diploma is $27,967; The median salary of an individual who has a bachelor's degree is $47,345.[66] Certain degrees, such as in engineering, typically result in salaries far exceeding high school graduates, whereas degrees in teaching and social work fall below.[citation needed]

The debt of the average college graduate for student loans in 2010 was $23,200.[67]

A 2010 study indicates that the "return on investment" for graduating from the top 1000 colleges exceeds 4% over a high school degree.[68]

According to Uni in the USA, "One of the reasons American universities have thrived is due to their remarkable management of financial resources."[69] To combat costs colleges have hired adjunct professors to teach. In 2008 these teachers cost about $1,800 per 3-credit class as opposed to $8,000 per class for a tenured professor. Two-thirds of college instructors were adjuncts. There are differences of opinion whether these adjuncts teach better or worse than regular professors. There is a suspicion that student evaluation of adjuncts, along with their subsequent continued employment, can lead to grade inflation.[70]

The status ladder

American college and university faculty, staff, alumni, students, and applicants monitor rankings produced by magazines such as U.S. News and World Report, Academic Ranking of World Universities, test preparation services such as The Princeton Review or another university itself such as the Top American Research Universities by the University of Florida's The Center.[71] These rankings are based on factors like brand recognition, selectivity in admissions, generosity of alumni donors, and volume of faculty research. In global university rankings, the US dominates more than half the top 50 places (27) and has a total of 72 institutions in the top 200 table under the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[72]

It has more than twice as many universities represented in the top 200 as its nearest rival, the United Kingdom, which has 29. A small percentage of students who apply to these schools gain admission.[73] Included among the top 20 institutions identified by ARWU in 2009 are six of the eight schools in the Ivy League; 4 of the 10 schools in the University of California system; the private Universities of Stanford, Chicago, and Johns Hopkins; the public Universities of Washington and Wisconsin; and the Massachusetts and California Institutes of Technology.[74]

Also renowned within the United States are the so-called "Little Ivies" and a number of prestigious liberal arts colleges. Certain public universities (sometimes referred to as "Public Ivies") are also recognized for their outstanding record in scholarship. Some of these institutions currently place among the elite in certain measurements of graduate education and research, especially among engineering and medical schools.[75][76]

Each state in the United States maintains its own public university system, which is always non-profit. The State University of New York and the California State University are the largest public higher education systems in the United States; SUNY is the largest system that includes community colleges, while CSU is the largest without. Most areas also have private institutions, which may be for-profit or non-profit. Unlike many other nations, there are no public universities at the national level outside of the military service academies.

Prospective students applying to attend four of the five military academies require, with limited exceptions, nomination by a member of Congress. Like acceptance to "top tier" universities, competition for these limited nominations is intense and must be accompanied by superior scholastic achievement and evidence of "leadership potential."

Aside from these aforementioned schools, academic reputations vary widely among the 'middle-tier' of American schools, (and even among academic departments within each of these schools.) Most public and private institutions fall into this 'middle' range. Some institutions feature honors colleges or other rigorous programs that challenge academically exceptional students, who might otherwise attend a 'top-tier' college.[77][78] Aware of the status attached to the perception of the college that they attend, students often apply to a range of schools. Some apply to a relatively prestigious school with a low acceptance rate, gambling on the chance of acceptance, and also apply to a "safety school",[79] to which they will (almost) certainly gain admission.

Lower status institutions include community colleges. These are primarily two-year public institutions, which individual states usually require to accept all local residents who seek admission, and offer associate's degrees or vocational certificate programs. Many community colleges have relationships with four-year state universities and colleges or even private universities that enable their students to transfer to these universities for a four-year degree after completing a two-year program at the community college.[citation needed]

Regardless of perceived prestige, many institutions feature at least one distinguished academic department, and most post-secondary American students attend one of the 2,400 four-year colleges and universities or 1,700 two-year colleges not included among the twenty-five or so 'top-tier' institutions.[80]

Criticism

A college economics professor has blamed "credential inflation" for the admission of so many unqualified students into college. He reports that the number of new jobs requiring college degrees is less than the number of college graduates.[7] The same professor reports that the more money that a state spends on higher education, the slower the economy grows, the opposite of long held notions.[7]

Funding

Funding for K–12 schools

According to a 2005 report from the OECD, the United States is tied for first place with Switzerland when it comes to annual spending per student on its public schools, with each of those two countries spending more than $11,000.[81] However, the United States is ranked 37th in the world in education spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. All but seven of the leading countries are in developing countries; ranked high because of a low GDP.[82] U.S. public schools lag behind the schools of other developed countries in the areas of reading, math, and science.[83]

The federal government contributes money to certain individual school districts as part of Federal Impact Aid. The original idea was that the federal government paid no local real estate taxes on their property to support local schools. Children of government employees might move in and impact an area which required expenditure for education at the local level. This aid was a way of equalizing the unexpected impact.

According to a 2006 study by the conservative Goldwater Institute, Arizona's public schools spend 50% more per student than Arizona's private schools. The study also says that while teachers constitute 72% of the employees at private schools, they make up less than half of the staff at public schools.[84]

According to a 1999 article by William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, increased levels of spending on public education have not made the schools better. Among many other things, the article cites the following statistics:[85]

  • Between 1960 and 1995, U.S. public school spending per student, adjusted for inflation, increased by 212%.
  • In 1994, less than half of all U.S. public school employees were teachers.
  • Out of 21 industrialized countries, U.S. 12th graders ranked 19th in math, 16th in science, and last in advanced physics.[clarification needed]

Funding for schools in the United States is complex. One current controversy stems much from the No Child Left Behind Act. The Act gives the Department of Education the right to withhold funding if it believes a school, district, or even a state is not complying with federal plans and is making no effort to comply. However, federal funding accounts for little of the overall funding schools receive. The vast majority comes from the state government and in some cases from local property taxes.[citation needed]

Property taxes as a primary source of funding for public education have become highly controversial, for a number of reasons. First, if a state's population and land values escalate rapidly, many longtime residents may find themselves paying property taxes much higher than anticipated. In response to this phenomenon, California's citizens passed Proposition 13 in 1978, which severely restricted the ability of the Legislature to expand the state's educational system to keep up with growth. Some states, such as Michigan, have investigated or implemented alternate schemes for funding education that may sidestep the problems of funding based mainly on property taxes by providing funding based on sales or income tax. These schemes also have failings, negatively impacting funding in a slow economy.[86]

One of the biggest debates in funding public schools is funding by local taxes or state taxes. The federal government supplies around 8.5% of the public school system funds, according to a 2005 report by the National Center for Education Statistics.[citation needed] The remaining split between state and local governments averages 48.7 percent from states and 42.8 percent from local sources.[citation needed] However, the division varies widely. In Hawaii local funds make up 1.7 percent, while state sources account for nearly 90.1 percent.[87]

Rural schools struggle with funding concerns. State funding sources often favor wealthier districts. The state establishes a minimum flat amount deemed "adequate" to educate a child based on equalized assessed value of property taxes. This favors wealthier districts with a much larger tax base. This, combined with the history of slow payment in the state, leaves rural districts searching for funds. Lack of funding leads to limited resources for teachers. Resources that directly relate to funding include access to high-speed internet, online learning programs and advanced course offerings.[51] These resources can enhance a student's learning opportunities, but may not be available to everyone if a district cannot afford to offer specific programs.

Judicial intervention

The reliance on local funding sources has led to a long history of court challenges about how states fund their schools. These challenges have relied on interpretations of state constitutions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that school funding was not a matter of the U.S. Constitution (San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973)). The state court cases, beginning with the California case of Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal.3d 584 (1971), were initially concerned with equity in funding, which was defined in terms of variations in spending across local school districts. More recently, state court cases have begun to consider what has been called 'adequacy.' These cases have questioned whether the total amount of spending was sufficient to meet state constitutional requirements. Perhaps the most famous adequacy case is Abbott v. Burke, 100 N.J. 269, 495 A.2d 376 (1985), which has involved state court supervision over several decades and has led to some of the highest spending of any U.S. districts in the so-called Abbott districts. The background and results of these cases are analyzed in a book by Eric Hanushek and Alfred Lindseth.[88] That analysis concludes that funding differences are not closely related to student outcomes and thus that the outcomes of the court cases have not led to improved policies.

Funding for college

At the college and university level student loan funding is split in half; half is managed by the Department of Education directly, called the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP). The other half is managed by commercial entities such as banks, credit unions, and financial services firms such as Sallie Mae, under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Some schools accept only FFELP loans; others accept only FDSLP. Still others accept both, and a few schools will not accept either, in which case students must seek out private alternatives for student loans.[89]

Grant funding is provided by the federal Pell Grant program.

Reading and writing habits

Libraries have been considered important to educational goals.[90] Library books are more readily available to Americans than to people in Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Austria and all the Mediterranean nations. The average American borrowed more library books in 2001 than his or her peers in Germany, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Luxembourg, France and throughout the Mediterranean.[91] Americans buy more books than people in Europe.[91]

Education issues

[clarification needed]

Major educational issues in the United States center on curriculum and control. Of critical importance, because of its enormous implications on education and funding, is the No Child Left Behind Act.[49]

Tracking

Tracking is the practice of dividing students at the primary or secondary school level into separate classes, depending if the student is high, average, or low achievers. It also offers different curriculum paths for students headed for college and for those who are bound directly for the workplace or technical schools.[citation needed]

Curriculum issues

Curricula in the United States vary widely from district to district. Not only do schools offer a range of topics and quality, but private schools may include religious classes as mandatory for attendance. This raises the question of government funding vouchers in states with anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments in their constitution. This has produced camps of argument over the standardization of curricula and to what degree. These same groups often are advocates of standardized testing, which is mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.

There is debate over which subjects should receive the most focus, with astronomy and geography among those cited as not being taught enough in schools.[92][93][94]

English in the classroom

An issue facing curricula today is the use of the English language in teaching. English is spoken by over 95% of the nation, and there is a strong national tradition of upholding English as the de facto official language.[citation needed] Some 9.7 million children aged 5 to 17 primarily speak a language other than English at home. Of those, about 1.3 million children do not speak English well or at all.[95]

Attainment

Forty-four percent of college faculty believe that incoming students aren't ready for writing at the college level. Ninety percent of high school teachers believe exiting students are well-prepared.[96][97][98][99]

Boys have underperformed girls for a number of years. On average, girls stand higher in their classes and perform well in all subjects. This is a turnaround from the early 20th century when boys usually outperformed girls. Parents and educators are concerned about how to motivate boys to become better students.[100]

Drop out rates are a concern in American four-year colleges. In New York, 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later — and even fewer Hispanics and blacks did.[101] 33 percent of the freshmen who enter the University of Massachusetts Boston graduate within six years. Less than 41 percent graduate from the University of Montana, and 44 percent from the University of New Mexico.[102]

Since the 1980s the number of educated Americans has continued to grow, but at a slower rate. Some have attributed this to an increase in the foreign born portion of the workforce. However, the decreasing growth of the educational workforce has instead been primarily due to slowing down in educational attainment of people schooled in the United States.[103]

Racial achievement gap

The Racial achievement gap in the United States refers to the educational disparities between minority students and Asian and Caucasian students.[104] This disparity manifests itself in a variety of ways: African-American and Hispanic students are more likely to receive lower grades, score lower on standardized tests, drop out of high school, and are less likely to enter and complete college.[105] The racial achievement gap remains because not all groups of students are advancing at the same rates.[citation needed]

Controversial professor Lino Graglia has suggested that blacks and Hispanics are falling behind in education because they are increasingly raised in single-parent families.[106][107] On the other hand, the late UC Berkeley professor Arthur Jensen, in a controversial paper published in 1969, argued that the achievement gap was the result of IQ differences between blacks and whites.

Nationally, one in every six black students is suspended compared to one in 20 white students. A 2011 study found that students who were expelled were three times as likely to become involved with the juvenile justice system the following school year.[108]

Evolution in Kansas

In 1999 the School Board of the state of Kansas caused controversy when it decided to eliminate teaching of evolution in its state assessment tests.[109] Scientists from around the country demurred.[110] Many religious and family values groups, on the other hand, claimed that evolution is simply a theory in the colloquial sense,[111] and as such creationist ideas should therefore be taught alongside it as an alternative viewpoint.[112] A majority supported teaching intelligent design and/or creationism in public schools.[113]

Violence and drug use

Violence is a problem in high schools, depending on the size and level of the school. Between 1996 and September 2003, at least 46 students and teachers were killed in 27 incidents involving the use of firearms. Information from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that, in 2001, students between the ages of 12 and 18 were the victims of 2 million crimes in US schools. 62% of the crimes were thefts. Between July 1999 and June 2000, 24 murders and 8 suicides took place in American schools.

Also in 2001, 47% of American high school students drank alcohol at least once; 5% drank right on school territory. 24% of high school students smoked marijuana, 5% smoking right at school. 29% of students who smoke marijuana obtain the drug at school.[114]

Sex education

Almost all students in the U.S. receive some form of sex education at least once between grades 7 and 12; many schools begin addressing some topics as early as grades 4 or 5.[115] However, what students learn varies widely, because curriculum decisions are so decentralized. Many states have laws governing what is taught in sex education classes or allowing parents to opt out. Some state laws leave curriculum decisions to individual school districts.[116] For example, a 1999 study by the Guttmacher Institute found that most U.S. sex education courses in grades 7 through 12 cover puberty, HIV, STDs, abstinence, implications of teenage pregnancy, and how to resist peer pressure. Other studied topics, such as methods of birth control and infection prevention, sexual orientation, sexual abuse, and factual and ethical information about abortion, varied more widely.[117]

However, according to a 2004 survey, a majority of the 1001 parent groups polled wants complete sex education in the schools. The American people are heavily divided over the issue. Over 80% of polled parents agreed with the statement "Sex education in school makes it easier for me to talk to my child about sexual issues," while under 17% agreed with the statement that their children were being exposed to "subjects I don't think my child should be discussing." 10 percent believed that their children's sexual education class forced them to discuss sexual issues "too early." On the other hand, 49 percent of the respondents (the largest group) were "somewhat confident" that the values taught in their children's sex ed classes were similar to those taught at home, and 23 percent were less confident still. (The margin of error was plus or minus 4.7 percent.)[118]

Textbook review and adoption

In many localities in the United States, the curriculum taught in public schools is influenced by the textbooks used by the teachers. In some states, textbooks are selected for all students at the state level. Since states such as California and Texas represent a considerable market for textbook publishers, these states can exert influence over the content of the books.[119]

In 2010, the Texas Board of Education adopted new Social Studies standards that could potentially impact the content of textbooks purchased in other parts of the country. The deliberations that resulted in the new standards were partisan in nature and are said to reflect a conservative leaning in the view of United States history.[120]

As of January 2009, the four largest college textbook publishers in the United States were:

Other US textbook publishers include:

Cheating

From 50% to 95% of American students admit to have cheated in high school or college at one time or another. These poll results cast some doubt on measured academic attainment tests.[121]

Charter schools

The charter-school movement was born in 1990. Charter schools have spread rapidly in the United States, members, parents, teachers, and students" to allow for the "expression of diverse teaching philosophies and cultural and social life styles." [122]

Affirmative action

In 2003 a Supreme Court decision concerning affirmative action in universities allowed educational institutions to consider race as a factor in admitting students, but ruled that strict point systems are unconstitutional.[123] Opponents of racial affirmative action argue that the program actually benefits middle- and upper-class people of color at the expense of lower class European Americans and Asian Americans.[124] Prominent African American academics Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, while favoring affirmative action, have argued that in practice, it has led to recent black immigrants and their children being greatly overrepresented at elite institutions, at the expense of the historic African American community made up of descendants of slaves.[125] In 2006, Jian Li, a Chinese undergraduate at Yale University, filed a civil rights complaint with the Office for Civil Rights against Princeton University, claiming that his race played a role in their decision to reject his application for admission.[126]

Control

There is some debate about where control for education actually lies. Education is not mentioned in the constitution of the United States. In the current situation, the state and national governments have a power-sharing arrangement, with the states exercising most of the control. Like other arrangements between the two, the federal government uses the threat of decreased funding to enforce laws pertaining to education.[56] Furthermore, within each state there are different types of control. Some states have a statewide school system, while others delegate power to county, city or township-level school boards. However, under the Bush administration, initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind Act have attempted to assert more central control in a heavily decentralized system.

Many cities have their own school boards everywhere in the United States. With the exception of cities, outside the northeast U.S. school boards are generally constituted at the county level.

The U.S. federal government exercises its control through the U.S. Department of Education. Educational accreditation decisions are made by voluntary regional associations. Schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, teach in English, while schools in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico teach in Spanish. Nonprofit private schools are widespread, are largely independent of the government, and include secular as well as parochial schools.

International comparison

In the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment 2003, which emphasizes problem solving, American 15 year olds ranked 24th of 38 in mathematics, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving.[127] In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science. Reading scores could not be reported due to printing errors in the instructions of the U.S. test booklets. U.S. scores were behind those of most other developed nations.[128]

However, the picture changes when low achievers, Blacks and Hispanics, in the U.S. are broken out by race. White and Asian students in the United States are generally among the best-performing pupils in the world; black and Hispanic students in the U.S. have very high rates of low achievement. Black and Hispanic students in the US do out perform their counterparts in all African and Hispanic countries.[129][130]

US fourth and eighth graders tested above average on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests, which emphasizes traditional learning.[131]

Educational attainment

Educational attainment since 1940. [132]

The rise of the high school movement in the beginning of the 20th century was unique in the United States, such that, high schools were implemented with property-tax funded tuition, openness, non-exclusivity, and were decentralized.

The academic curriculum was designed to provide the students with a terminal degree. The students obtained general knowledge (such as mathematics, chemistry, English composition, etc.) applicable to the high geographic and social mobility in the United States. The provision of the high schools accelerated with the rise of the second industrial revolution. The increase in white collar and skilled blue-collar work in manufacturing was reflected in the demand for high school education.

In the 21st century, the educational attainment of the US population is similar to that of many other industrialized countries with the vast majority of the population having completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates that outnumber high school dropouts. As a whole, the population of the United States is becoming increasingly more educated.[132] Post-secondary education is valued very highly by American society and is one of the main determinants of class and status.[citation needed] As with income, however, there are significant discrepancies in terms of race, age, household configuration and geography.[133] Current education trends in the United States represent multiple achievement gaps across ethnicities, income levels, and geographies. As McKinsey and Company reported in a 2009 analysis, “These educational gaps impose on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession.”[clarification needed][134] Overall the households and demographics featuring the highest educational attainment in the United States are also among those with the highest household income and wealth. Thus, while the population of the US is becoming increasingly educated on all levels, a direct link between income and educational attainment remains.[133]

ACT Inc. reports that 25% of US graduating high school seniors meet college-readiness benchmarks in English, reading, mathematics, and science.[135] Including the 22% of students who do not graduate on time, fewer than 20% of the American youth, who should graduate high school each year, do so prepared for college.[136] The United States has fallen behind the rest of the developed world in education, creating a global achievement gap that alone costs the nation 9-to-16% of potential GDP each year.[137]

In 2007, Americans stood second only to Canada in the percentage of 35 to 64 year olds holding at least two-year degrees. Among 25 to 34 year olds, the country stands tenth. The nation stands 15 out of 29 rated nations for college completion rates, slightly above Mexico and Turkey.[65]

The U.S. Department of Education's 2003 statistics suggest that 14% of the population – or 32 million adults – have very low literacy skills.[138]

A five-year, $14 million study of U.S. adult literacy involving lengthy interviews of U.S. adults, the most comprehensive study of literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government,[139] was released in September 1993. It involved lengthy interviews of over 26,700 adults statistically balanced for age, gender, ethnicity, education level, and location (urban, suburban, or rural) in 12 states across the U.S. and was designed to represent the U.S. population as a whole. This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information."[139]

According to a 2003 study by the US government, around 23% of Americans in California lack basic prose literacy skills.[140]

Health and safety

Many schools have nurses either full-time or part-time to administer to students and to ensure that medication is taken as directed by their physician.[141]

For some high school grades and many elementary schools as well, a police officer, titled a "resource officer", or SRO (Security Resource Officer), is on site to screen students for firearms and to help avoid disruptions.[142][143][citation needed]

See also

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  126. ^ "Amid charge of bias, Rapelye stands firm". The Daily Princetonian. November 30, 2006.
  127. ^ International Outcomes of Learning in Mathematics Literacy and Problem Solving. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 18, 2005.
  128. ^ "PISA 2006 Science Competencies for Tomorrow's World Volume 1: Analysis." (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  129. ^ "Is the US Really a Nation of God-Fearing Darwin-Haters?". Spiegel Online. April 6, 2009. 
  130. ^ American Achievement in International Perspective, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, March 15, 2011 
  131. ^ Jay Matthews (2009-10-19). "Tests don't always offer right answers". Washington Post. pp. 3B. 
  132. ^ a b Ryan, Camille; Siebens, Julie (February 2012). "Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  133. ^ a b "US Census Bureau report on educational attainment in the United States, 2003". Retrieved 2006-07-31. 
  134. ^ McKinsey and Company, “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap on America’s Schools.” April 2009.
  135. ^ ACT, Inc, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness” December 2012. http://www.act.org/research-policy/college-career-readiness-report-2012/
  136. ^ U.S. Department of Education, “Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core Data: School Year 2009-10” (provisional data). January 2013.
  137. ^ McKinsey and Company, “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap on America’s Schools.” April 2009. Forty years ago, the US led the world in high school graduation rates; now it is 18th out of 24 industrial nations. In 1995, the US was tied for first in college graduation; it now is 14th.
  138. ^ "Literacy study: 1 in 7 U.S. adults are unable to read this story". USATODAY.com. January 8, 2009.
  139. ^ a b "Literacy in America" (PDF). National Center for Educational Statistics. April 2002. Retrieved 2007-12-11 
  140. ^ nces.ed.gov
  141. ^ "Transfer to". Aft.org. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  142. ^ schoolsecurity.org
  143. ^ "School Resource Officer". Online Police Academy. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 

Further reading

Bibliography

  • Berliner, David C.
  • Woodring, Paul. A Fourth of a Nation. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1957. 255 p. N.B.: Philosophical and practical reflections on education, teaching, educational psychology, and the training of teachers.

History

for more detailed bibliography see History of Education in the United States: Bibliography

  • James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935 (University of North Carolina Press, 1988).
  • Axtell, J. The school upon a hill: Education and society in colonial New England. Yale University Press. (1974).
  • Maurice R. Berube; American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883–1993. 1994. online version
  • Brint, S., & Karabel, J. The Diverted Dream: Community colleges and the promise of educational opportunity in America, 1900–1985. Oxford University Press. (1989).
  • Button, H. Warren and Provenzo, Eugene F., Jr. History of Education and Culture in America. Prentice-Hall, 1983. 379 pp.
  • Cremin, Lawrence A. The transformation of the school: Progressivism in American education, 1876–1957. (1961).
  • Cremin, Lawrence A. American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607–1783. (1970); American Education: The National Experience, 1783–1876. (1980); American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 1876–1980 (1990); standard 3 vol detailed scholarly history
  • Curti, M. E. The social ideas of American educators, with new chapter on the last twenty-five years. (1959).
  • Dorn, Sherman. Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History of School Failure. Praeger, 1996. 167 pp.
  • Gatto, John Taylor. The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation into the Prison of Modern Schooling. Oxford Village Press, 2001, 412 pp. online version
  • Herbst, Juergen. The once and future school: Three hundred and fifty years of American secondary education. (1996).
  • Herbst, Juergen. School Choice and School Governance: A Historical Study of the United States and Germany 2006. ISBN 1-4039-7302-4.
  • Kemp, Roger L. "Town & Gown Relations: A Handbook of Best Practices," McFarland and Company, Inc., Publisher, Jefferson, North Carolina, USA, and London, England (UK)(2013). (ISBN 978-0-7864-6388-2 ).
  • Krug, Edward A. The shaping of the American high school, 1880–1920. (1964); The American high school, 1920–1940. (1972). standard 2 vol scholarly history
  • Lucas, C. J. American higher education: A history. (1994). pp.; reprinted essays from History of Education Quarterly
  • Parkerson, Donald H. and Parkerson, Jo Ann. Transitions in American Education: A Social History of Teaching. Routledge, 2001. 242 pp.
  • Parkerson, Donald H. and Parkerson, Jo Ann. The Emergence of the Common School in the U.S. Countryside. Edwin Mellen, 1998. 192 pp.
  • Peterson, Paul E. The politics of school reform, 1870–1940. (1985).
  • Ravitch, Diane. Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms. Simon & Schuster, 2000. 555 pp.
  • John L. Rury; Education and Social Change: Themes in the History of American Schooling.'; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2002. online version
  • Sanders, James W The education of an urban minority: Catholics in Chicago, 1833–1965. (1977).
  • Solomon, Barbara M. In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. (1985).
  • Theobald, Paul. Call School: Rural Education in the Midwest to 1918. Southern Illinois U. Pr., 1995. 246 pp.
  • David B. Tyack. The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (1974),
  • Tyack, David and Cuban, Larry. Tinkering toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform. Harvard U. Pr., 1995. 184 pp.
  • Tyack, David B., & Hansot, E. Managers of virtue: Public school leadership in America, 1820–1980. (1982).
  • Veysey Lawrence R. The emergence of the American university. (1965).

External links

El sistema educativo americano

Los estudiantes internacionales que llegan a los Estados Unidos se preguntarán sobre los antecedentes educativos de sus compañeros en los Estados Unidos. Debido a las variaciones locales, el sistema educativo americano se manifiesta confuso. Además, la estructura y procedimientos de las universidades americanas pueden diferir de otros sistemas, tales como el modelo británico. Este es un breve resumen de los sistemas escolares y universitarios en los Estados Unidos.

Para empezar, como el país tiene un sistema federal de gobierno que históricamente ha valorado al gobierno local, no existe ningún sistema educativo o plan de estudios a nivel nacional en los Estados Unidos. El gobierno federal no rige las escuelas públicas. Cada uno de los cincuenta estados tiene su propio Departamento de Educación que establece lineamientos para las escuelas de ese estado en particular. Las escuelas públicas también reciben fondos del estado, aunque la mayoría de los fondos provienen del impuesto predial local. Las escuelas de educación superior y universidades públicas reciben fondos del estado en que se ubican. Cada órgano legislativo estatal decide cuanto dinero de los impuestos le será otorgado a las escuelas de educación superior y universidades. Los alumnos del 1º al 12º año escolar no pagan colegiatura y los alumnos de educación superior y universidad pagan colegiatura, pero muchos obtienen becas o reciben préstamos.

La mayor parte del control de las escuelas públicas yace en manos de cada distrito escolar local. Cada distrito escolar se rige a través de un consejo escolar, un pequeño grupo de personas elegidas por la comunidad local o designadas por el gobierno local. El comité escolar establece las políticas generales del distrito escolar y se asegura de que los lineamientos estatales se cumplan.

Generalmente, los distritos escolares están divididos en escuelas primarias, secundarias y preparatorias/de bachillerato. Las escuelas primarias están compuestas de alumnos de jardín de infancia y del 1º al 6º año de primaria. Muchos de los niños cursan e l jardín de infancia desde los cinco años de edad y empiezan el primer año de primaria a los seis años de edad. La escuela secundaria está compuesta por alumnos de 6º a 8º año y la preparatoria/bachillerato incluye del 9º al 12º año.

Los alumnos de preparatoria/bachillerato deben de tomar una gran variedad de cursos en ingles, matemáticas, ciencias y ciencias sociales. Asimismo, se requiere que tomen idiom as extranjero s o educación física y pueden también tomar cursos de música y arte. Muchas escuelas preparatorias/de bachillerato también ofrecen cursos de capacitación vocacional. Un curso puede cubrirse en uno o dos semestres y el año académico por lo regular comienza a finales de agosto y termina a principios de junio.

En los Estados Unidos, la educación es obligatoria para todos los alumnos hasta la edad de dieciséis años. Según la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos, 85% de los alumnos se gradúan de preparatoria/bachillerato y la mayoría de estos alumnos se gradúan a la edad de diecisiete o dieciocho años. Un alumno se gradúa después de aprobar satisfactoriamente todos los cursos requeridos. Los alumnos reciben sus calificaciones del curso al final de cada semestre. La escala de calificaciones es A (excelente/sobresaliente), B (arriba del promedio/notable), C (promedio/aprobado/bien), D (por debajo del promedio/suficiente), y F (reprobado/suspendido/ insuficiente). Un alumno que reprueba (suspende) un curso obligatorio tiene que volver a tomarlo.

En 1970, la mitad de casi todos los alumnos americanos que se graduaban de la preparatoria/bachillerato asistían a una escuela de educación superior o a la universidad. Hoy, cerca de tres cuartos de los alumnos que se gradúan de la preparatoria/bachillerato asisten a una escuela de educación superior o a la universidad. Los alumnos tienen la opción de asistir a una escuela de educación superior de dos años, conocida en los EE.UU. como community college o junior college, antes de asistir a una universidad de cuatro años. Ingresar a una escuela de educación superior ( community college) es mucho más fácil, la colegiatura es más baja y el tamaño de los grupos frecuentemente es más pequeño que en l a universidad. Los alumnos de educación superior pueden obtener un título universitario de dos años , también conocido como título de asociado y posteriormente transferir sus créditos a una universidad.

Ingreso a la universidad

A pesar de que las políticas de admisión varían de una universidad a otra, la mayoría determinan la admisión en base a varios criterios, entre ellos, el plan de estudios del alumno y el promedio de calificaciones (GPA, por sus siglas en inglés), puntaje en los exámenes SAT o ACT, redacción de ensayos y posiblemente también entrevista personal:

. La oficina de admisiones evalúa si el alumno ha tomado cursos en la preparatoria/bachillerato que lo hayan preparado para un plan de estudios más difícil, como también considera el promedio de calificaciones obtenido en la preparatoria/bachillerato. El promedio de calificaciones es una cifra cuantitativa que representa la calificación global acumulada de un alumno. Cada letra tiene asignado un número de puntos: A = 4 puntos, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1 y F = 0 puntos. El promedio se calcula sumando todos los puntos obtenidos en cada una de las materias y la suma total se divide por el total de número de cursos tomados. Por ejemplo, un promedio de calificación de 3.0 equivale a un promedio "B" por todos los cursos tomados.

. Durante el último año de preparatoria/bachillerato, la mayoría de los alumnos en los Estados Unidos toman el Examen de Aptitud Escolar (SAT, por sus siglas en inglés), o ACT, por sus siglas en inglés (anteriormente conocido como Examen del Colegio Americano). Cada universidad establece una puntuación mínima para los exámenes SAT o ACT que los alumnos deberán obtener para poder ser admitidos. Estos son exámenes con normas cuantitativas. El examen SAT incluye las siguientes materias: lectura, matemáticas y redacción. El examen ACT incluye las siguientes materias: inglés, matemáticas, lectura y conocimiento y habilidad en ciencias.

. Frecuentemente, las universidades requieren que los alumnos redacten un ensayo como parte del proceso de solicitud. La extensión y contenido del ensayo es determinado por la oficina de admisiones. Algunas universidades también pueden solicitar que el alumno tenga una entrevista personal con un representante de la oficina de admisiones.

En la universidad

A l os universitarios que buscan obtener una licenciatura se les conoce como "undergraduate" o estudiante de pregrado , mientras que, el alumno que cursa una maestría o doctorado se le conoce como "graduate student", o estudiante de postgrado. Los universitarios americanos que estudian una licenciatura dirán "voy a la escuela" o "voy a la universidad", lo que significa que asisten a una universidad. Una pregunta común entre estudiantes es, "¿cuál es tu especialización "? Esto significa, ¿"Cuál es tu campo principal de estudio"?

La mayoría de las universidades ofrecen a los alumnos una educación liberal (tronco común), lo que significa que se requiere que los alumnos tomen materias en diferentes disciplinas antes de especializarse en un campo de estudio. Los programas de maestría o profesional (como medicina o leyes) son especializados.

A nivel universitario, la mayoría de los cursos duran solo un semestre y cada uno de los cursos tiene asignado un número de horas crédito. Las horas crédito generalmente se basan en el tiempo que dura la clase. La mayoría de los cursos equivalen a tres créditos. Sin embargo, algunos cursos pueden constar de 1, 2, 4 ó 5 créditos. Todos los programas de licenciatura requieren que el alumno complete un mínimo de horas crédito antes de graduarse. La mayoría de los programas de licenciatura en los Estados Unidos no requieren que el alumno haga una tesis final.

La selección para ingresar a un programa de maestría o doctorado se basa en diferentes criterios, entre los que se incluye el haber terminado l a licenciatura, el plan de estudios de pregrado del alumno y su promedio de calificaciones. También se espera que el alumno redacte un ensayo o un escrito como parte de la solicitud de admisión. La mayoría de los programas de maestría requieren que los alumnos obtengan una puntuación mínima en el Examen de Registro de Egresados de Licenciatura, GRE, por sus siglas en inglés, el cual examina las aptitu des verbales, cuantitativas y la redacción analítica.

Los alumnos continúan tomando cursos a nivel de maestría y se requiere una tesis final como parte de la mayoría de los programas de maestría. Los alumnos de doctorado toman cursos hasta obtener las suficientes horas crédito para tomar los exámenes que los calificarán como tal. Estos exámenes generalmente duran varios días y frecuentemente incluyen un componente escrito y oral. Después de que el alumno de doctorado ha aprobado los exámenes de calificación, pasan a ser candidatos y pueden empezar a escribir su disertación. Antes de obtener el grado de doctor, la disertación completa se tiene que defender ante el cuerpo docente del alumno.

Dado que los requisitos para obtener una licenciatura, maestría o doctorado pueden ser muy complejos y variar de una universidad o departamento a otro, todos los alumnos deberán consultar al asesor del departamento o universidad con el fin de asegurar que cumplen con los requisi tos educativos.


Este artículo ha sido proporcionado por Susan E. Hume, Ph.D., Profesora Adjunta , Departamento de Geografía , Southern Illinois University en Edwardsville.

Los estudiantes internacionales que llegan a los Estados Unidos se preguntarán sobre los antecedentes educativos de sus compañeros en los Estados Unidos. Debido a las variaciones locales, el sistema educativo americano se manifiesta confuso. Además, la estructura y procedimientos de las universidades americanas pueden diferir de otros sistemas, tales como el modelo británico. Este es un breve resumen de los sistemas escolares y universitarios en los Estados Unidos.

Para empezar, como el país tiene un sistema federal de gobierno que históricamente ha valorado al gobierno local, no existe ningún sistema educativo o plan de estudios a nivel nacional en los Estados Unidos. El gobierno federal no rige las escuelas públicas. Cada uno de los cincuenta estados tiene su propio Departamento de Educación que establece lineamientos para las escuelas de ese estado en particular. Las escuelas públicas también reciben fondos del estado, aunque la mayoría de los fondos provienen del impuesto predial local. Las escuelas de educación superior y universidades públicas reciben fondos del estado en que se ubican. Cada órgano legislativo estatal decide cuanto dinero de los impuestos le será otorgado a las escuelas de educación superior y universidades. Los alumnos del 1º al 12º año escolar no pagan colegiatura y los alumnos de educación superior y universidad pagan colegiatura, pero muchos obtienen becas o reciben préstamos.

La mayor parte del control de las escuelas públicas yace en manos de cada distrito escolar local. Cada distrito escolar se rige a través de un consejo escolar, un pequeño grupo de personas elegidas por la comunidad local o designadas por el gobierno local. El comité escolar establece las políticas generales del distrito escolar y se asegura de que los lineamientos estatales se cumplan.

Generalmente, los distritos escolares están divididos en escuelas primarias, secundarias y preparatorias/de bachillerato. Las escuelas primarias están compuestas de alumnos de jardín de infancia y del 1º al 6º año de primaria. Muchos de los niños cursan e l jardín de infancia desde los cinco años de edad y empiezan el primer año de primaria a los seis años de edad. La escuela secundaria está compuesta por alumnos de 6º a 8º año y la preparatoria/bachillerato incluye del 9º al 12º año.

Los alumnos de preparatoria/bachillerato deben de tomar una gran variedad de cursos en ingles, matemáticas, ciencias y ciencias sociales. Asimismo, se requiere que tomen idiom as extranjero s o educación física y pueden también tomar cursos de música y arte. Muchas escuelas preparatorias/de bachillerato también ofrecen cursos de capacitación vocacional. Un curso puede cubrirse en uno o dos semestres y el año académico por lo regular comienza a finales de agosto y termina a principios de junio.

En los Estados Unidos, la educación es obligatoria para todos los alumnos hasta la edad de dieciséis años. Según la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos, 85% de los alumnos se gradúan de preparatoria/bachillerato y la mayoría de estos alumnos se gradúan a la edad de diecisiete o dieciocho años. Un alumno se gradúa después de aprobar satisfactoriamente todos los cursos requeridos. Los alumnos reciben sus calificaciones del curso al final de cada semestre. La escala de calificaciones es A (excelente/sobresaliente), B (arriba del promedio/notable), C (promedio/aprobado/bien), D (por debajo del promedio/suficiente), y F (reprobado/suspendido/ insuficiente). Un alumno que reprueba (suspende) un curso obligatorio tiene que volver a tomarlo.

En 1970, la mitad de casi todos los alumnos americanos que se graduaban de la preparatoria/bachillerato asistían a una escuela de educación superior o a la universidad. Hoy, cerca de tres cuartos de los alumnos que se gradúan de la preparatoria/bachillerato asisten a una escuela de educación superior o a la universidad. Los alumnos tienen la opción de asistir a una escuela de educación superior de dos años, conocida en los EE.UU. como community college o junior college, antes de asistir a una universidad de cuatro años. Ingresar a una escuela de educación superior ( community college) es mucho más fácil, la colegiatura es más baja y el tamaño de los grupos frecuentemente es más pequeño que en l a universidad. Los alumnos de educación superior pueden obtener un título universitario de dos años , también conocido como título de asociado y posteriormente transferir sus créditos a una universidad.

Ingreso a la universidad

A pesar de que las políticas de admisión varían de una universidad a otra, la mayoría determinan la admisión en base a varios criterios, entre ellos, el plan de estudios del alumno y el promedio de calificaciones (GPA, por sus siglas en inglés), puntaje en los exámenes SAT o ACT, redacción de ensayos y posiblemente también entrevista personal:

. La oficina de admisiones evalúa si el alumno ha tomado cursos en la preparatoria/bachillerato que lo hayan preparado para un plan de estudios más difícil, como también considera el promedio de calificaciones obtenido en la preparatoria/bachillerato. El promedio de calificaciones es una cifra cuantitativa que representa la calificación global acumulada de un alumno. Cada letra tiene asignado un número de puntos: A = 4 puntos, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1 y F = 0 puntos. El promedio se calcula sumando todos los puntos obtenidos en cada una de las materias y la suma total se divide por el total de número de cursos tomados. Por ejemplo, un promedio de calificación de 3.0 equivale a un promedio "B" por todos los cursos tomados.

. Durante el último año de preparatoria/bachillerato, la mayoría de los alumnos en los Estados Unidos toman el Examen de Aptitud Escolar (SAT, por sus siglas en inglés), o ACT, por sus siglas en inglés (anteriormente conocido como Examen del Colegio Americano). Cada universidad establece una puntuación mínima para los exámenes SAT o ACT que los alumnos deberán obtener para poder ser admitidos. Estos son exámenes con normas cuantitativas. El examen SAT incluye las siguientes materias: lectura, matemáticas y redacción. El examen ACT incluye las siguientes materias: inglés, matemáticas, lectura y conocimiento y habilidad en ciencias.

. Frecuentemente, las universidades requieren que los alumnos redacten un ensayo como parte del proceso de solicitud. La extensión y contenido del ensayo es determinado por la oficina de admisiones. Algunas universidades también pueden solicitar que el alumno tenga una entrevista personal con un representante de la oficina de admisiones.

En la universidad

A l os universitarios que buscan obtener una licenciatura se les conoce como "undergraduate" o estudiante de pregrado , mientras que, el alumno que cursa una maestría o doctorado se le conoce como "graduate student", o estudiante de postgrado. Los universitarios americanos que estudian una licenciatura dirán "voy a la escuela" o "voy a la universidad", lo que significa que asisten a una universidad. Una pregunta común entre estudiantes es, "¿cuál es tu especialización "? Esto significa, ¿"Cuál es tu campo principal de estudio"?

La mayoría de las universidades ofrecen a los alumnos una educación liberal (tronco común), lo que significa que se requiere que los alumnos tomen materias en diferentes disciplinas antes de especializarse en un campo de estudio. Los programas de maestría o profesional (como medicina o leyes) son especializados.

A nivel universitario, la mayoría de los cursos duran solo un semestre y cada uno de los cursos tiene asignado un número de horas crédito. Las horas crédito generalmente se basan en el tiempo que dura la clase. La mayoría de los cursos equivalen a tres créditos. Sin embargo, algunos cursos pueden constar de 1, 2, 4 ó 5 créditos. Todos los programas de licenciatura requieren que el alumno complete un mínimo de horas crédito antes de graduarse. La mayoría de los programas de licenciatura en los Estados Unidos no requieren que el alumno haga una tesis final.

La selección para ingresar a un programa de maestría o doctorado se basa en diferentes criterios, entre los que se incluye el haber terminado l a licenciatura, el plan de estudios de pregrado del alumno y su promedio de calificaciones. También se espera que el alumno redacte un ensayo o un escrito como parte de la solicitud de admisión. La mayoría de los programas de maestría requieren que los alumnos obtengan una puntuación mínima en el Examen de Registro de Egresados de Licenciatura, GRE, por sus siglas en inglés, el cual examina las aptitu des verbales, cuantitativas y la redacción analítica.

Los alumnos continúan tomando cursos a nivel de maestría y se requiere una tesis final como parte de la mayoría de los programas de maestría. Los alumnos de doctorado toman cursos hasta obtener las suficientes horas crédito para tomar los exámenes que los calificarán como tal. Estos exámenes generalmente duran varios días y frecuentemente incluyen un componente escrito y oral. Después de que el alumno de doctorado ha aprobado los exámenes de calificación, pasan a ser candidatos y pueden empezar a escribir su disertación. Antes de obtener el grado de doctor, la disertación completa se tiene que defender ante el cuerpo docente del alumno.

Dado que los requisitos para obtener una licenciatura, maestría o doctorado pueden ser muy complejos y variar de una universidad o departamento a otro, todos los alumnos deberán consultar al asesor del departamento o universidad con el fin de asegurar que cumplen con los requisi tos educativos.


Este artículo ha sido proporcionado por Susan E. Hume, Ph.D., Profesora Adjunta , Departamento de Geografía , Southern Illinois University en Edwardsville.

Educacion en los Estados Unidos

los Estados Unidos
En Estados Unidos no existe un sistema nacional de educación. El gobierno Federal no administra las escuelas. Cada uno de los Estados cuenta con su propio Departamento de Educación, el cual establece las reglas para los colegios. Los colegios públicos y las universidades reciben fondos de su mismo Estado.

En su mayoría, el control de las esuelas norteamericanas recae en cada uno de los distritos escolares. El Concejo Directivo Escolar establece las políticas generales. Diseñan las políticas de enseñanza, contratan a directores, profesores, administradores y supervisan el funcionamiento de la escuela.

El Gobierno Federal presta asistencia a los estados y las escuelas.

Financiamiento de la Educación:
Se estima, que la inversión total en educación en el año escolar 2004 – 2005 fue de $ 536 mil millones de dólares, la cual excede a la inversión de la defensa nacional. Se estima que para el 2006 se aportaría $ 376 mil millones de dólares en la educación primaria y secundaria.

Cada escuela usaría esos fondos para sus fines programados, que incluyen:

ESEA: $ 13.3 mil millones.

IDEA: subvención a los Estados $ 11.1 mil millones.

1

Mejora de la Calidad de Maestros: $ 2.9 mil millones.

Centro de Aprendizajes Comunitarios para el Siglo XXI: $ 991.1 millones.

Estudiantes en Proceso de Estudiar Inglés: $ 675.8 millones.

Ayuda de Impacto: $ 1.2 mil millones.

Por otro lado desde una perspectiva individual se conoce que aproximadamente entre $ 500 y 1000 invierten por cada uno de aquellos niños desfavorecidos con bajo rendimiento escolar quienes obtienen servicios complementarios.

Además se estima que los contribuyentes gastarán $ 375 mil millones en Educación Universitaria durante el mismo año escolar.

Inversión en Educación Primaria y Secundaria

$ 536 mil millones

Inversión en Educación Universitaria

$ 375 mil millones

Cabe decir que los Estados y las localidades son las fuentes principales del financiamiento de la Educación primaria y secundaria.

2

Programa Curricular:
• Propósitos de la Educación:
El nuevo plan de estudios tiene como propósitos organizar la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de contenidos básicos.

Adquieren y desarrollan habilidades intelectuales que le permita aprender permanentemente y con independencia.

Adquiere los conocimientos fundamentales para comprender los fenómenos naturales, en particular los que se relacionan con la salud, el ambiente, el uso racional de recursos naturales.

Se formen eficazmente mediante conocimientos de sus derechos, sus deberes y la práctica de valores.

Desarrollar actividades propicias para el aprecio y el disfrute de las artes y del ejercicio físico y deportivo.

• Áreas Curriculares:
Cada Estado establece sus normas académicas, los distritos escolares locales deciden como se enseñarán las materias que son :

Inglés.

Matemática.

3

Ciencias Sociales.

Ciencias.

Especiales Extranjeros).

(Educación

Física,

Arte,

Música

e

Idiomas

• Programas Especiales:
Existen Programas Especiales para aquellos estudiantes que no pueden ingresar al Sistema Regular. La necesidad más frecuente se refiere a los niños que no hablan ingles. También hay programas para niños discapacitados con condiciones específicas especiales (junior).

• El Año Escolar:
Comienza en agosto o setiembre y termina en mayo o junio. En algunos lugares se estudia todo el año y van a la escuela de lunes a viernes. Para algunos les ofrecen programas antes o después de las clases regulares.

• Horario Escolar:
Para primaria asisten a la escuela de 8 a 2.30 p.m.

Para profesores el promedio de horas en primaria es de 1139 horas y en secundaria de 1121 horas al año académico.

4

• Características del Aula:
El número de alumnos en un aula es de 30 y la clase se dicta en pizarra acrílica y de tiza, los alumnos cambian de aula para tomar cursos, mas no el docente.

Estructura del Sistema Educativo:

Escuela primaria Kindergarten y del 1ro al 5to grado

Escuela intermedia Escuela secundaria Del 6to al 8vo grado Niños de entre Del 9no al 12vo grado

Instituciones de educación superior públicas o privadas Colegios de enseñanza superior de 2 o 4 años, universidades, escuelas técnicas a las que pueden asistir todos los adultos

Niños de entre 5 y 10 años de edad

11 y 13 años de edad Jóvenes de entre 14 y 18 años de edad

Etapas del Sistema Educativo:
Las etapas del Sistema Educativo son:

La Educación Básica: La educación básica es obligatoria y por ley termina a los 16 – 17 o 18 años de edad según al Estado que pertenecen.

-

Nivel pre- escolar: El primer año de educación pre-escolar suele llamarse pre- jardín (pre- kinder. 3 - 4 años) de niños o

5

maternal, y el segundo año jardín de niños o pre-escolar (kinder. 4 – 5 años).

-

Nivel Primaria: Los niños ingresan a la Escuela Formal alrededor de los 6 años. algunas escuelas privadas y distritos escolares otorgan certificados, aunque esta práctica no es uniforma a los largo de todo el país.

-

Nivel Secundario: La secundaria comienza al completar el 5to año de enseñanza primaria. Esta está dividida en “Middle” o “Junior High” (1er ciclo) y “High” (2do ciclo)

* Middle o Junior High: Este programa dependiendo de su Estado, comienza por lo general a los 11 o 12 años de edad, y se extiende entre el 6to y 8vo grado.

Los programas extracurriculares de la Escuela van desde Clubes de matemáticas y Ciencias hasta grupos de teatro y canto.

* High School: Comprende entre los grados 9no y 12vo, y los jóvenes incesan a una edad promedio de 14 – 15 años. Las clases extracurriculares son más numerosas que su anterior y está enmarcadas a ofrecer una gama de materiales que tengan relación con la vida Universitaria. Se entregan dos certificados básicos al terminar la Escuela, el Diploma de Preparatoria que se entrega a los graduados de la Escuela secundaria y en Programa Especial. el Certificado GED que se entrega a los adultos que terminaron

6

-

Educación Superior: La

vida universitaria tiene varias

divisiones que van desde la Colegiatura o “Collage” pasando pos la Licenciatura hasta llegar a la Maestría y el Doctorado.

* College o Community College: Promueve los primeros dos años de Carrera Profesional. Estas Escuelas que no deben confundirse con Escuelas Técnicas son baratas y permiten ahorrar al estudiante ya que son patrocinadas por el Departamento de Educación.

El ingreso al Collage o a la Universidad es similar y exige exámenes como el “SAT” en la cual se evalúa las áreas de matemáticas e inglés.

Para los estudiantes extranjeros las escuelas post-secundarias les exigen el llamado “TEOFL” la cual determina la capacidad del estudiante para desenvolverse en el idioma inglés a nivel Universitario.

* Universidad: Uno de los requisitos para ingresar es que el interesado tenga buenos conocimientos de inglés. La vida universitaria es cara en muchos estados aunque sean subsidiadas por el Gobierno, estas oscilan entre los $ 7 mil y 20 mil dólares por periodo académico, que no incluye los costos de libros, transporte, vivienda y alimentación.

Existen más de 2.000 "colleges" y universidades tradicionales de cuatro años en Estados Unidos, y cada una posee una identidad única. Cada escuela superior define sus propias metas, sus énfasis y sus normas de admisión. Las escuelas superiores de "artes liberales", por ejemplo, hacen énfasis en la

7

excelencia de la enseñanza de temas tales como humanidades, ciencias naturales, ciencias sociales, e idiomas.

Además de las escuelas superiores de artes liberales, existen escuelas superiores de otro tipo. Históricamente, algunas escuelas superiores únicamente admiten hombres, otras sólo mujeres o sólo estudiantes de color: sin embargo, en la actualidad la mayoría están abiertas a todos los estudiantes calificados que solicitan admisión. En otras escuelas superiores se le da especial énfasis a la religión. Las universidades que hacen hincapié en la preparación para una carrera, pueden tener programas especiales de cooperación educativa o pasantías en los cuales los estudiantes tienen que trabajar medio tiempo como requisito para obtener su grado.

Las

universidades

pueden

ser

públicas

o

privadas.

Las

instituciones de alto nivel se hallan por igual entre las universidades públicas y las privadas; la diferencia estriba en el origen de sus fondos. Las instituciones públicas utilizan fondos del gobierno estatal (por ejemplo, Texas o Florida), fondos del pago de matrículas de los estudiantes, y donaciones. Puesto que las instituciones públicas están apoyadas por el gobierno estatal, éstas dan preferencia a la inscripción y matrícula de estudiantes de su estado. El costo es menor en las instituciones estatales que en las privadas, aun para los estudiantes que no son residentes del estado. Las universidades estatales caen en dos categorías generales:

8

Universidades de investigación
La mayoría de los estados cuentan al menos con una universidad pública cuya misión es brindar oportunidades educativas de tipo tradicional en diversas áreas académicas. Estas universidades, además de ofrecer estudios a nivel licenciatura, hacen hincapié tanto en la investigación como en la enseñanza. Por lo general, en el nivel de postgrado se insiste menos en los estudios aplicados y la investigación, y se hace más énfasis en la teoría o la investigación pura.

Universidades "land grant" (cuya área son las disciplinas terrestres) y "sea grant" (cuya área principal son las disciplinas marítimas)
En 1862 el Congreso aprobó la Ley Morrill, otorgando terrenos a muchos estados para establecer universidades. Estas universidades "land grant", además de brindar una amplia variedad educativa en muchas áreas, enfatizan la aplicación de los conocimientos en áreas tales como agricultura e ingeniería. Las universidades cuyo énfasis son los conocimientos aplicados, generalmente se llaman "Universidad de Agricultura y Mecánica" o "Universidad Tecnológica". Otros estados las llaman "universidades estatales" ("state university"). Más recientemente, algunas universidades estatales han sido llamadas universidades "sea grant" para enfatizar la importancia de sus estudios marítimos aplicados.

9

* Maestría y Doctorado: Al finalizar los cuatro años de Universidad recibe su Diploma en un área específica. La gran mayoría de Universidades ofrecen Programas de Especialización o Maestrías. Después, ofrecen los Doctorados, Niveles de Especialización mas avanzados.

Tipo de título Certificado

Tipo de escuela Colegio de enseñanza superior/Escuela de capacitación técnica

Años de estudio 6 meses a 2 años

Título de Asociado Licenciatura Maestría Doctorado Título Profesional

Colegio de enseñanza superior Institución de educación superior de 4 años Universidad Universidad Escuela especializada

2 años 4 años 2 años de postgrado 2 a 8 años de postgrado 2 a 5 años

Gestión Administrativa:
Matrícula: Los educandos pueden asistir a una escuela pública
o privada según los intereses y condiciones económicas de los padres.

En las Escuelas Públicas: Estas escuelas en su mayoría son mixtas, su asistencia es obligatoria en la mayoría de estados y exigen que todos los niños de 5 a 16 años asistan a la escuela. La asistencia es gratis y no hay instrucción religiosa. El Estado decide que aprenderán en las escuelas pero los maestros, los padres deciden como enseñarán las materias.

10

Documentos para la matrícula: El requisito básico es que el estudiante viva en el mismo distrito donde está ubicado la escuela. Para ella cumplirá con presentar alguna prueba de residencia. Se necesita también un historial médico, como una prueba reciente de examen médico o de vacunación.

En las escuelas privadas: Estas instituciones son reguladas por los gobiernos con el fin de mantener el estándar educativo, pero no las financian.

Los estudiantes deben pagar para asistir a las escuelas, la cual las administran en su mayoría grupos religiosos algunas son mixtas.

Dentro de estas existen esuelas MAGNET, que reciben apoyo de su estado, aquí se encuentran los mejores alumnos que vienen de las escuelas publicas y que tienen bajos recursos económicos.

En la mayoría de los estados, los padres pueden educar a sus hijos en sus casas. Esta práctica se conoce como HOME SCHOOLING.

Servicios que Presta la Escuela:
• Transporte: En el caso de que los alumnos vivan muy lejos las Escuelas Públicas le prestan el servicio del bus en forma gratuita.

Alimentación: El gobierno les ofrece desayunos y almuerzos nutritivos gratis o a un bajo precio, a niños con pocos recursos.

11

Existe un Programa Federal de comidas escolares (School Meals).

Materiales

Educativos: Cada escuela

reparte

materiales

gratuitos en clase. Son materiales básicos como lapiceros, tizas, papel y crayolas.

Reglamento Interno:
• Inasistencia: Si un alumno falta a la escuela este tendrá que ser justificado por su ausencia y además luego debe completar el trabajo escolar que dejo de hacer.

Código de conducta de los estudiantes: Muchas escuelas cuentan con una lista de normas que formas su código de conducta. Los que violan las normas pueden recibir como castigo una detención. También es posible prohibirle la práctica en deportes u otras actividades. El castigo corporal no está permitido en la mayoría de las escuelas. Los alumnos pueden ser suspendidos normas. o expulsados si su comportamiento infringe las

Grado de seguridad en la Escuela: La mayoría de las escuelas públicas son seguras. Sólo en algunas escuelas secundarias se presentan problemas de violencia, pandillas, drogas y alcohol.

Obras Comunitarias: En los últimos grados de la educación primaria y secundaria se timen que hacer oras comunitarias por 60 horas durante el año escolar.

12

Evaluación:
El periodo escolar está dividido en cuatro bimestres y las calificaciones se basan generalmente:

Las tareas

Las pruebas.

La Asistencia.

La Conducta en Clase.

Durante el año los padres recibirán un boletín de calificaciones (report card).

Tipos de Evaluación:
Las escuelas tienen diferentes maneras de evaluar:

Algunos utilizan letras, en las que una A o A+ significa excelencia y una D o F significa deficiencia. Los alumnos si tiene una F no pasa nada a estos se les brinda clases vacacionales para que mejore pero si tiene dos F repite el año.

Otras escuelas dan calificaciones utilizando números.

Otros resumen el rendimiento con palabras como excelentes, satisfactorio o necesita mejorar.

13

Es un Sistema de Evaluación continuo que permite hacer un seguimiento del proceso de los alumnos y mostrar esos procesos a los padres y las instituciones educativas.

Para cada niño el profesor debe seleccionar una serie de trabajos en diferentes momentos del curso donde muestre el desarrollo del proceso de aprendizaje del alumno.

Debe hacer una selección de trabajos de lenguaje, matemáticas, ciencias o arte. Estos trabajos pueden ser cartas, trabajos de arte, fotografías, redacciones, etc.

Finalizado el año escolar el portafolio pasa al próximo profesor a fin de que este pueda ver que es capaz de hacer cada niño.

Anexos

14

Hoja de datos: Que ningún niño se quede atrás
El presidente Bush promulgó la ley para que ningún niño se quede atrás. Las escuelas públicas, fue aprobada por abrumadoras mayorías bipartitas del congreso.

Responsabilidad por los resultados: Crea estrictas estándares en cada Estado sobre lo que debe saber y aprender cada niño sobre las lecturas y las matemáticas del 3er al 8vo grado. Se determinará el progreso y los logros de cada niño todos los años.

Los resultados de estas pruebas se divulgarán a través de libretas anuales de calificaciones para que los padres puedan cuantificar el rendimiento de la escuela y el progreso por todo el Estado.

Se dará la libertad a cada distrito escolar local y todos los 50 Estados de designar hasta 50% de los fondos federales.

Implementa la iniciativa de la lectura en primer lugar.

Implementa un nuevo programa de la lectura inicial para propiciar el desarrollo del lenguaje, la capacidad de leer y escribir, y las actitudes preliminares a la lectura entre los niños de la edad pre-escolar en las familias de bajo ingreso.

Mejora la calidad de los profesores al designar $ 2.8 mil millones a ese fin y permite que los distritos escolares locales usen fondos federales adicionales para aumentar los sueldos de los profesores, mejora la capacitación y el desarrollo profesional de los profesores u otros usos.

15

Servicios problemáticos: por primera vez los fondos federales bajo el título primero (aproximadamente $ 500 a 1000 por niño) podrán utilizarse para proporcionar servicios educativos complementarios: como son clases particulares y programas escolares de verano.

16

El Gobierno Federal en las Escuelas:
Presta asistencia a los estados y escuelas con ánimo de complementar, no sustituir al apoyo estatal. La fuente principal de apoyo federal a la educación primaria y secundaria tuvo sus inicios en 1965 con la promulgación de la Ley de Educación Primaria y Secundaria, conocida por sus siglas en inglés ESEA (Elementary and secundary Education Act).

1era Autorización del ESEA:
Autoriza la concesión de subvenciones a programas de escuela primaria y secundaria dirigido a niños y jóvenes de familias de bajo ingreso económico.

2da Autorización del ESEA:
Autoriza por segunda a través de la Ley “que ningún nuño se quede atrás”. Esta ley tiene por propósito elevar el nivel académico de todos los estudiantes.

Entre los programas de la ley (Que ningún niño se quede atrás) los contenidos en el presupuesto del presidente para el año escolar 2006, se influye: los estados para promover el uso de la investigación con base científica para dar instrucción en lectura de alta calidad a los niños del Jardín Infantil al 3er grado.

Ayuda financiera federal para estudiantes Universitarios:
17

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos ofrece ayuda financiera a los estudiantes matriculados en ciertas instituciones de educación superior. Esta ayuda paga muchos de los gastos escolares, entre ellos la matrícula y otros cargos similares, los libros, el alojamiento, la comida, los útiles escolares y el transporte. Los estudiantes son elegibles para solicitar esta ayuda según sus necesidades económicas, no según sus calificaciones. Hay tres tipos de ayuda federal:

• Subvenciones — dinero que no es necesario devolver más tarde • Trabajo durante los estudios —dinero que se gana trabajando durante los años de estudio.

• Préstamos —dinero que es necesario devolver más tarde con intereses.

18

los Estados Unidos
En Estados Unidos no existe un sistema nacional de educación. El gobierno Federal no administra las escuelas. Cada uno de los Estados cuenta con su propio Departamento de Educación, el cual establece las reglas para los colegios. Los colegios públicos y las universidades reciben fondos de su mismo Estado.

En su mayoría, el control de las esuelas norteamericanas recae en cada uno de los distritos escolares. El Concejo Directivo Escolar establece las políticas generales. Diseñan las políticas de enseñanza, contratan a directores, profesores, administradores y supervisan el funcionamiento de la escuela.

El Gobierno Federal presta asistencia a los estados y las escuelas.

Financiamiento de la Educación:
Se estima, que la inversión total en educación en el año escolar 2004 – 2005 fue de $ 536 mil millones de dólares, la cual excede a la inversión de la defensa nacional. Se estima que para el 2006 se aportaría $ 376 mil millones de dólares en la educación primaria y secundaria.

Cada escuela usaría esos fondos para sus fines programados, que incluyen:

ESEA: $ 13.3 mil millones.

IDEA: subvención a los Estados $ 11.1 mil millones.

1

Mejora de la Calidad de Maestros: $ 2.9 mil millones.

Centro de Aprendizajes Comunitarios para el Siglo XXI: $ 991.1 millones.

Estudiantes en Proceso de Estudiar Inglés: $ 675.8 millones.

Ayuda de Impacto: $ 1.2 mil millones.

Por otro lado desde una perspectiva individual se conoce que aproximadamente entre $ 500 y 1000 invierten por cada uno de aquellos niños desfavorecidos con bajo rendimiento escolar quienes obtienen servicios complementarios.

Además se estima que los contribuyentes gastarán $ 375 mil millones en Educación Universitaria durante el mismo año escolar.

Inversión en Educación Primaria y Secundaria

$ 536 mil millones

Inversión en Educación Universitaria

$ 375 mil millones

Cabe decir que los Estados y las localidades son las fuentes principales del financiamiento de la Educación primaria y secundaria.

2

Programa Curricular:
• Propósitos de la Educación:
El nuevo plan de estudios tiene como propósitos organizar la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de contenidos básicos.

Adquieren y desarrollan habilidades intelectuales que le permita aprender permanentemente y con independencia.

Adquiere los conocimientos fundamentales para comprender los fenómenos naturales, en particular los que se relacionan con la salud, el ambiente, el uso racional de recursos naturales.

Se formen eficazmente mediante conocimientos de sus derechos, sus deberes y la práctica de valores.

Desarrollar actividades propicias para el aprecio y el disfrute de las artes y del ejercicio físico y deportivo.

• Áreas Curriculares:
Cada Estado establece sus normas académicas, los distritos escolares locales deciden como se enseñarán las materias que son :

Inglés.

Matemática.

3

Ciencias Sociales.

Ciencias.

Especiales Extranjeros).

(Educación

Física,

Arte,

Música

e

Idiomas

• Programas Especiales:
Existen Programas Especiales para aquellos estudiantes que no pueden ingresar al Sistema Regular. La necesidad más frecuente se refiere a los niños que no hablan ingles. También hay programas para niños discapacitados con condiciones específicas especiales (junior).

• El Año Escolar:
Comienza en agosto o setiembre y termina en mayo o junio. En algunos lugares se estudia todo el año y van a la escuela de lunes a viernes. Para algunos les ofrecen programas antes o después de las clases regulares.

• Horario Escolar:
Para primaria asisten a la escuela de 8 a 2.30 p.m.

Para profesores el promedio de horas en primaria es de 1139 horas y en secundaria de 1121 horas al año académico.

4

• Características del Aula:
El número de alumnos en un aula es de 30 y la clase se dicta en pizarra acrílica y de tiza, los alumnos cambian de aula para tomar cursos, mas no el docente.

Estructura del Sistema Educativo:

Escuela primaria Kindergarten y del 1ro al 5to grado

Escuela intermedia Escuela secundaria Del 6to al 8vo grado Niños de entre Del 9no al 12vo grado

Instituciones de educación superior públicas o privadas Colegios de enseñanza superior de 2 o 4 años, universidades, escuelas técnicas a las que pueden asistir todos los adultos

Niños de entre 5 y 10 años de edad

11 y 13 años de edad Jóvenes de entre 14 y 18 años de edad

Etapas del Sistema Educativo:
Las etapas del Sistema Educativo son:

La Educación Básica: La educación básica es obligatoria y por ley termina a los 16 – 17 o 18 años de edad según al Estado que pertenecen.

-

Nivel pre- escolar: El primer año de educación pre-escolar suele llamarse pre- jardín (pre- kinder. 3 - 4 años) de niños o

5

maternal, y el segundo año jardín de niños o pre-escolar (kinder. 4 – 5 años).

-

Nivel Primaria: Los niños ingresan a la Escuela Formal alrededor de los 6 años. algunas escuelas privadas y distritos escolares otorgan certificados, aunque esta práctica no es uniforma a los largo de todo el país.

-

Nivel Secundario: La secundaria comienza al completar el 5to año de enseñanza primaria. Esta está dividida en “Middle” o “Junior High” (1er ciclo) y “High” (2do ciclo)

* Middle o Junior High: Este programa dependiendo de su Estado, comienza por lo general a los 11 o 12 años de edad, y se extiende entre el 6to y 8vo grado.

Los programas extracurriculares de la Escuela van desde Clubes de matemáticas y Ciencias hasta grupos de teatro y canto.

* High School: Comprende entre los grados 9no y 12vo, y los jóvenes incesan a una edad promedio de 14 – 15 años. Las clases extracurriculares son más numerosas que su anterior y está enmarcadas a ofrecer una gama de materiales que tengan relación con la vida Universitaria. Se entregan dos certificados básicos al terminar la Escuela, el Diploma de Preparatoria que se entrega a los graduados de la Escuela secundaria y en Programa Especial. el Certificado GED que se entrega a los adultos que terminaron

6

-

Educación Superior: La

vida universitaria tiene varias

divisiones que van desde la Colegiatura o “Collage” pasando pos la Licenciatura hasta llegar a la Maestría y el Doctorado.

* College o Community College: Promueve los primeros dos años de Carrera Profesional. Estas Escuelas que no deben confundirse con Escuelas Técnicas son baratas y permiten ahorrar al estudiante ya que son patrocinadas por el Departamento de Educación.

El ingreso al Collage o a la Universidad es similar y exige exámenes como el “SAT” en la cual se evalúa las áreas de matemáticas e inglés.

Para los estudiantes extranjeros las escuelas post-secundarias les exigen el llamado “TEOFL” la cual determina la capacidad del estudiante para desenvolverse en el idioma inglés a nivel Universitario.

* Universidad: Uno de los requisitos para ingresar es que el interesado tenga buenos conocimientos de inglés. La vida universitaria es cara en muchos estados aunque sean subsidiadas por el Gobierno, estas oscilan entre los $ 7 mil y 20 mil dólares por periodo académico, que no incluye los costos de libros, transporte, vivienda y alimentación.

Existen más de 2.000 "colleges" y universidades tradicionales de cuatro años en Estados Unidos, y cada una posee una identidad única. Cada escuela superior define sus propias metas, sus énfasis y sus normas de admisión. Las escuelas superiores de "artes liberales", por ejemplo, hacen énfasis en la

7

excelencia de la enseñanza de temas tales como humanidades, ciencias naturales, ciencias sociales, e idiomas.

Además de las escuelas superiores de artes liberales, existen escuelas superiores de otro tipo. Históricamente, algunas escuelas superiores únicamente admiten hombres, otras sólo mujeres o sólo estudiantes de color: sin embargo, en la actualidad la mayoría están abiertas a todos los estudiantes calificados que solicitan admisión. En otras escuelas superiores se le da especial énfasis a la religión. Las universidades que hacen hincapié en la preparación para una carrera, pueden tener programas especiales de cooperación educativa o pasantías en los cuales los estudiantes tienen que trabajar medio tiempo como requisito para obtener su grado.

Las

universidades

pueden

ser

públicas

o

privadas.

Las

instituciones de alto nivel se hallan por igual entre las universidades públicas y las privadas; la diferencia estriba en el origen de sus fondos. Las instituciones públicas utilizan fondos del gobierno estatal (por ejemplo, Texas o Florida), fondos del pago de matrículas de los estudiantes, y donaciones. Puesto que las instituciones públicas están apoyadas por el gobierno estatal, éstas dan preferencia a la inscripción y matrícula de estudiantes de su estado. El costo es menor en las instituciones estatales que en las privadas, aun para los estudiantes que no son residentes del estado. Las universidades estatales caen en dos categorías generales:

8

Universidades de investigación
La mayoría de los estados cuentan al menos con una universidad pública cuya misión es brindar oportunidades educativas de tipo tradicional en diversas áreas académicas. Estas universidades, además de ofrecer estudios a nivel licenciatura, hacen hincapié tanto en la investigación como en la enseñanza. Por lo general, en el nivel de postgrado se insiste menos en los estudios aplicados y la investigación, y se hace más énfasis en la teoría o la investigación pura.

Universidades "land grant" (cuya área son las disciplinas terrestres) y "sea grant" (cuya área principal son las disciplinas marítimas)
En 1862 el Congreso aprobó la Ley Morrill, otorgando terrenos a muchos estados para establecer universidades. Estas universidades "land grant", además de brindar una amplia variedad educativa en muchas áreas, enfatizan la aplicación de los conocimientos en áreas tales como agricultura e ingeniería. Las universidades cuyo énfasis son los conocimientos aplicados, generalmente se llaman "Universidad de Agricultura y Mecánica" o "Universidad Tecnológica". Otros estados las llaman "universidades estatales" ("state university"). Más recientemente, algunas universidades estatales han sido llamadas universidades "sea grant" para enfatizar la importancia de sus estudios marítimos aplicados.

9

* Maestría y Doctorado: Al finalizar los cuatro años de Universidad recibe su Diploma en un área específica. La gran mayoría de Universidades ofrecen Programas de Especialización o Maestrías. Después, ofrecen los Doctorados, Niveles de Especialización mas avanzados.

Tipo de título Certificado

Tipo de escuela Colegio de enseñanza superior/Escuela de capacitación técnica

Años de estudio 6 meses a 2 años

Título de Asociado Licenciatura Maestría Doctorado Título Profesional

Colegio de enseñanza superior Institución de educación superior de 4 años Universidad Universidad Escuela especializada

2 años 4 años 2 años de postgrado 2 a 8 años de postgrado 2 a 5 años

Gestión Administrativa:
Matrícula: Los educandos pueden asistir a una escuela pública
o privada según los intereses y condiciones económicas de los padres.

En las Escuelas Públicas: Estas escuelas en su mayoría son mixtas, su asistencia es obligatoria en la mayoría de estados y exigen que todos los niños de 5 a 16 años asistan a la escuela. La asistencia es gratis y no hay instrucción religiosa. El Estado decide que aprenderán en las escuelas pero los maestros, los padres deciden como enseñarán las materias.

10

Documentos para la matrícula: El requisito básico es que el estudiante viva en el mismo distrito donde está ubicado la escuela. Para ella cumplirá con presentar alguna prueba de residencia. Se necesita también un historial médico, como una prueba reciente de examen médico o de vacunación.

En las escuelas privadas: Estas instituciones son reguladas por los gobiernos con el fin de mantener el estándar educativo, pero no las financian.

Los estudiantes deben pagar para asistir a las escuelas, la cual las administran en su mayoría grupos religiosos algunas son mixtas.

Dentro de estas existen esuelas MAGNET, que reciben apoyo de su estado, aquí se encuentran los mejores alumnos que vienen de las escuelas publicas y que tienen bajos recursos económicos.

En la mayoría de los estados, los padres pueden educar a sus hijos en sus casas. Esta práctica se conoce como HOME SCHOOLING.

Servicios que Presta la Escuela:
• Transporte: En el caso de que los alumnos vivan muy lejos las Escuelas Públicas le prestan el servicio del bus en forma gratuita.

Alimentación: El gobierno les ofrece desayunos y almuerzos nutritivos gratis o a un bajo precio, a niños con pocos recursos.

11

Existe un Programa Federal de comidas escolares (School Meals).

Materiales

Educativos: Cada escuela

reparte

materiales

gratuitos en clase. Son materiales básicos como lapiceros, tizas, papel y crayolas.

Reglamento Interno:
• Inasistencia: Si un alumno falta a la escuela este tendrá que ser justificado por su ausencia y además luego debe completar el trabajo escolar que dejo de hacer.

Código de conducta de los estudiantes: Muchas escuelas cuentan con una lista de normas que formas su código de conducta. Los que violan las normas pueden recibir como castigo una detención. También es posible prohibirle la práctica en deportes u otras actividades. El castigo corporal no está permitido en la mayoría de las escuelas. Los alumnos pueden ser suspendidos normas. o expulsados si su comportamiento infringe las

Grado de seguridad en la Escuela: La mayoría de las escuelas públicas son seguras. Sólo en algunas escuelas secundarias se presentan problemas de violencia, pandillas, drogas y alcohol.

Obras Comunitarias: En los últimos grados de la educación primaria y secundaria se timen que hacer oras comunitarias por 60 horas durante el año escolar.

12

Evaluación:
El periodo escolar está dividido en cuatro bimestres y las calificaciones se basan generalmente:

Las tareas

Las pruebas.

La Asistencia.

La Conducta en Clase.

Durante el año los padres recibirán un boletín de calificaciones (report card).

Tipos de Evaluación:
Las escuelas tienen diferentes maneras de evaluar:

Algunos utilizan letras, en las que una A o A+ significa excelencia y una D o F significa deficiencia. Los alumnos si tiene una F no pasa nada a estos se les brinda clases vacacionales para que mejore pero si tiene dos F repite el año.

Otras escuelas dan calificaciones utilizando números.

Otros resumen el rendimiento con palabras como excelentes, satisfactorio o necesita mejorar.

13

Es un Sistema de Evaluación continuo que permite hacer un seguimiento del proceso de los alumnos y mostrar esos procesos a los padres y las instituciones educativas.

Para cada niño el profesor debe seleccionar una serie de trabajos en diferentes momentos del curso donde muestre el desarrollo del proceso de aprendizaje del alumno.

Debe hacer una selección de trabajos de lenguaje, matemáticas, ciencias o arte. Estos trabajos pueden ser cartas, trabajos de arte, fotografías, redacciones, etc.

Finalizado el año escolar el portafolio pasa al próximo profesor a fin de que este pueda ver que es capaz de hacer cada niño.

Anexos

14

Hoja de datos: Que ningún niño se quede atrás
El presidente Bush promulgó la ley para que ningún niño se quede atrás. Las escuelas públicas, fue aprobada por abrumadoras mayorías bipartitas del congreso.

Responsabilidad por los resultados: Crea estrictas estándares en cada Estado sobre lo que debe saber y aprender cada niño sobre las lecturas y las matemáticas del 3er al 8vo grado. Se determinará el progreso y los logros de cada niño todos los años.

Los resultados de estas pruebas se divulgarán a través de libretas anuales de calificaciones para que los padres puedan cuantificar el rendimiento de la escuela y el progreso por todo el Estado.

Se dará la libertad a cada distrito escolar local y todos los 50 Estados de designar hasta 50% de los fondos federales.

Implementa la iniciativa de la lectura en primer lugar.

Implementa un nuevo programa de la lectura inicial para propiciar el desarrollo del lenguaje, la capacidad de leer y escribir, y las actitudes preliminares a la lectura entre los niños de la edad pre-escolar en las familias de bajo ingreso.

Mejora la calidad de los profesores al designar $ 2.8 mil millones a ese fin y permite que los distritos escolares locales usen fondos federales adicionales para aumentar los sueldos de los profesores, mejora la capacitación y el desarrollo profesional de los profesores u otros usos.

15

Servicios problemáticos: por primera vez los fondos federales bajo el título primero (aproximadamente $ 500 a 1000 por niño) podrán utilizarse para proporcionar servicios educativos complementarios: como son clases particulares y programas escolares de verano.

16

El Gobierno Federal en las Escuelas:
Presta asistencia a los estados y escuelas con ánimo de complementar, no sustituir al apoyo estatal. La fuente principal de apoyo federal a la educación primaria y secundaria tuvo sus inicios en 1965 con la promulgación de la Ley de Educación Primaria y Secundaria, conocida por sus siglas en inglés ESEA (Elementary and secundary Education Act).

1era Autorización del ESEA:
Autoriza la concesión de subvenciones a programas de escuela primaria y secundaria dirigido a niños y jóvenes de familias de bajo ingreso económico.

2da Autorización del ESEA:
Autoriza por segunda a través de la Ley “que ningún nuño se quede atrás”. Esta ley tiene por propósito elevar el nivel académico de todos los estudiantes.

Entre los programas de la ley (Que ningún niño se quede atrás) los contenidos en el presupuesto del presidente para el año escolar 2006, se influye: los estados para promover el uso de la investigación con base científica para dar instrucción en lectura de alta calidad a los niños del Jardín Infantil al 3er grado.

Ayuda financiera federal para estudiantes Universitarios:
17

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos ofrece ayuda financiera a los estudiantes matriculados en ciertas instituciones de educación superior. Esta ayuda paga muchos de los gastos escolares, entre ellos la matrícula y otros cargos similares, los libros, el alojamiento, la comida, los útiles escolares y el transporte. Los estudiantes son elegibles para solicitar esta ayuda según sus necesidades económicas, no según sus calificaciones. Hay tres tipos de ayuda federal:

• Subvenciones — dinero que no es necesario devolver más tarde • Trabajo durante los estudios —dinero que se gana trabajando durante los años de estudio.

• Préstamos —dinero que es necesario devolver más tarde con intereses.

18

The Current Education System in the United States of America - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com

It is a well known fact that each person possesses a powerful learning potential that provides him with the opportunity to broaden his outlook, to enrich his experience and to see the surrounding world in all its diversity and mystery. Learning is a complicated mechanism that is embedded in human consciousness by nature in the course of evolutionary processes, and this mechanism is vital for human survival and social adaptation. People are all learners, to a higher or a smaller degree; and the process of learning itself is triggered by many factors, such as curiosity, perceived necessity or it merely occurs subconsciously ruled by human cognitive instincts.

It is necessary to mention that learning is a multi-stage process comprising many components; it is not limited by contemplation or memorizing only, instead, it presupposes the development of logical abilities and of cause-and-effect relation. Education as a nation-wide system serves many purposes, however the most general and the most obvious one is to help people learn more, to provide them with a specific scope of knowledge that will help them in their lives. The system of education itself should be viewed not only a scheme comprising of levels following each other, but also as a complex phenomenon responding to various societal, economic and even political challenges and requirements.

The Education system in the United States of America is different to the one of many other developed countries. However, such uniqueness is frequently criticized by educational researchers. The system of education in the USA is disintegrated and is largely shaped by decision-making practices and tactics on state and local level which results in enormous disparity in education accessibility and quality, in school material (financial) provision and in students' results and involvement in the educational process.

This research paper discusses current education system in the United States, its structure and peculiarities. Moreover, the paper aims at the analysis of American educational system through the prism of its management and conceptual controversies as well as from the point of view of economic and social difficulties that affect the effectiveness of the process of education in the country. The major peculiarity of U.S. education system that distinguishes it from the one of many other countries of the globe is that it is, in fact, out of direct control of the American government. Higher educational system is comprised by two constituents: private schools that are governed by the trustees, and public schools that are controlled by state and local governments. At the same time, education in the country is largely provided by the government and essential funding is generated by federal, state and local levels. A great number of education-related issues, such as teaching practices, curriculum, funding and others are established via the school boards that are elected on the local level and govern particular school districts.

School education and attendance is compulsory in the United States, however, the age of the compulsory school attendance varies between the states according to state education laws. For example, in Arkansas children start education at five ears old and graduate at the age of seventeen. In contrast, in Ohio the chronological frames of compulsory school education embrace the period between six and eighteen years of age (State Compulsory School Attendance Laws 2009). However, many schools in different parts of the United States are now moving towards graduating students at the age of eighteen and, correspondingly, accepting children at the age of six.

American school education is divided into several broad categories, such as elementary school, middle school and high school. Preschool educational programs are also available in many states starting at minimum age of three. Post-secondary education (college or university) is a special branch of the education system and is governed differently to schools in America. "The structure of U.S. education includes 12 years of regular schooling, preceded by a year or two of pre-school education, and followed by a four-stage higher education degree system (associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate) plus various non-degree certificates and diplomas" (The U.S. Education System. Structure: General Information 2009). It is important to mention that grading systems do not always coincide in various American States, for example, some schools relate eighth and ninth grades to high school, while others presume that high school starts in tenth grade and lasts until the twelfth grade, that is, until graduation.

Pre-school preparation is receiving more attention nowadays than several decades ago, and many researchers believe this stage is essential for the child's subsequent successful adaptation to school environment. Most often pre-school educational programs begin one or two years prior to the school entry. The first year of pre-school education is also synonymously referred to as nursery school, because children are often aged three and four; though the second year is defined as pre-school or kindergarten (most often at the age of four or five).

There exist several types of pre-school educational institutions in the United States, such as the following: non-profit co-operative schools (as a rule, they are the least expensive), church-affiliated schools (that are often linked to religious centers and may include religious studies as well), local community schools, private schools (they are the most expensive to attend) and a special type, Montessori schools (they are based on the unique method of teaching developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the beginning of the 20th century and focusing on behavioral and cognitive uniqueness of each child). Approximately three million and a half children annually participate in pre-school education programs in the United States, and this participation frequently contributes to higher grades at school, because pre-school education "is designed to promote children's social-emotional, academic, language, and literary skills, and health and well-being" (Justice, Vukelich & Teale 5).

Traditionally school education in the United States includes elementary education and secondary education and, thus, divided into elementary school (including mostly children from six to eleven years old), middle school (children from eleven to fourteen years old) and high school (students from fourteen to eighteen ears old). The period of school education is typically divided into twelve grades, or levels that symbolize students' progress and advancement from elementary school to high school.

During the period of elementary schooling (that most often includes grades from one to five) children receive the elementary knowledge of some basic subjects (such as arithmetic, mathematics and fundamentals of English language) and the majority of classes usually take place in a limited number of classrooms (usually one or two), though certain subjects, such as music or physical education are taught in special classrooms.

Many educational researchers believe that the teaching of sciences and of certain social sciences in elementary school lack professional approach and depth, largely due to the fact elementary school teachers receive generalist preparation and training (Worzbyt, O'Rourke & Dandeneau 2003). The overwhelming majority of schools in the United States are of public origin, and the specifications of each subjects, the set of books to be used in the classroom, the requirements for the teachers' qualifications and other related issues are outlined by the elected school boards in cooperation with school administration.

The period of middle school is not always explicitly distinguishable and it is often substituted by the notion of a junior high school that is comprised by seventh and eighth grades and serves as a link between elementary school and senior high school. During this period more emphasis is put on improving school grades and knowledge as the student gradually approaches his graduation and his school records might be very important for post-secondary education or career. Unlike elementary school, junior high school students have more teachers, usually one teacher per subject. Traditional groups of subjects that are taught in high school include social sciences (such as economics or history, English, science (such as chemistry or biology), mathematics and physical education.

Besides, students receive the opportunity to select preferred subjects from the list of so called electives that may variably include computers, technology, foreign languages, athletics or other subjects. The choice of the elective, or additional subject, is often predetermined by the student's own understanding of what he might need for and after graduation. School psychologists stress that the choice of extra subjects may play a very significant role in a student's future, so parents should not keep aside and should have a talk with their child. Those high school students who intend to go to college after graduation from school

Take special preparatory classes that intend to make them ready for entering a college (Barrett 2009). Various colleges have different admission requirements, but they traditionally pay attention to students school grades (marks), courses taken at school, school reputation (private schools are considered to be more prestigious that public schools) and standardized test scores. During their high school period, usually in the eleventh grade, students take one or several standardized tests, the most popular of which are the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test and Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is now also called SAT Reasoning Test) and the ACT.

Colleges or universities represent post-secondary education and it usually lasts for four years. Similar two high school division college students are ranked freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. The four years of college education are also referred to as undergraduate studies and end with obtaining bachelor's degree in a "major" field, such as Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and others. After obtaining bachelor's degree and often after some years of professional activity students gain an advanced, master's degree, such as the well known Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Arts (MA). Later on, doctor's degree may be achieved.

The major problem with post-secondary education is its affordability for all people. Student tuition and fees are increasing, thus generating larger volumes of student borrowing and making it harder for middle-to-low income students to study further. "Over all, the report found, published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007 while median family income rose 147 percent" (Lewin 2009). At the same time many people find governmental support for low-income families to be insufficient, as well as the involvement of charitable organizations. Other problems of American system of education are discussed further in the paper.

Nowadays the system of standardized testing and the whole basics of American educational systems are being criticized by a number of American and foreign scholars. They believe that American secondary education is rather superficial especially concerning certain subjects, such as cultures of other nations and world history. "High school textbooks in the United States of America teach a slanted view of world history, where they are found at all. Continued reference is made throughout more recent history, after the establishment of the thirteen colonies, to the area that became the U.S., as if it was the only significant detail in history. Any history before the founding of the U.S. is touched very briefly, in one year of World History, which is not even considered a mandatory course in most U.S. high schools" (The Education System in America 2009).

Besides, the famous No Child Left Behind Act signed by President Bush in 2001 seems to focus educational efforts almost exclusively on improvement students' reading and mathematical skills, while leaving the rest of the subjects behind. The most disturbing thing is that the reading skills of students have hardly improved since 1994, while mathematical skills are prone to decline due to erroneous teaching model: "The existing teaching model for mathematics encourages students to memorize problem solving techniques, but it doesn't teach the logical fundamentals of these techniques. Consequently, the system doesn't help students understand the logic of finding solutions" (Belenky 2009).

Other problems of the education system in the United States (of both secondary and post-secondary education) are insufficient control of students' cheating, controversies and inaccuracy of school grading (marks) and also religious issues. Preoccupation of educators and book publishers with cultural, ethnic and religious issues of multinational population seemed to be a democratic policy, aimed at respecting the views and lifestyles of different people. However, it has produced a negative side effect: such policy "has pushed textbook publishers to excise religion altogether, even from history class" (Goodman 317).

One more controversy and challenge of American secondary education lies in the typology and affordability of schools. The point is that American students have several educational choices and to summarize them briefly one may say that the following basic types of schools are available in the USA: private schools and public schools. Besides, some parents prefer their children to receive education at home. Major part of students in the USA studies in public school, mostly due to their greater affordability. Private schools are not free and demand certain tuition from each student that attends them. In 2000 only "5.2 million first-through-twelfth graders attended private schools, or 10.4 percent of students in those grades" (U.S. Census Bureau. People: Education 2009).

Many students and parents consider private schools to be hardly affordable and too expensive, besides these schools are not required by law to accept every applicant student and form its entrance requirements on competition basis. Private schools introduce their own educational courses and subjects they consider necessary for a student to graduate. Many of them teach religious subjects in addition to standard set of subjects. Besides, the influence of state educational regulations and prescriptions on public schools is minimal id compared with public schools.

Public schools, on their part, are predominantly funded by money received from state and local taxes. Many of them face serious financial problems, especially in poor districts. Many representatives of ethnic minorities live in poorer areas and, thus, have little access to good education. Nowadays public schools are frequently criticized and blamed for such aspects as violence and low student achievement; however the lack of funding remains the largest concern (Benveniste, Carnoy & Rothstein 2-6).

Obviously, educated person has more chances to succeed in the modern globalized world that is characterized by tough competition between both individuals and companies. Education system as a whole is not focused on the satisfaction of individual needs, though. Instead, it represents an important governmental tool that aims at improving the overall education level of the country's population. Ratio of educated people and those who are enrolled in multi-stage educational process reveal the peculiarities of learning-related national tendencies, as well as governmental concernment and involvement in the promotion of education.

Naturally, there exist many factors that influence the functioning of the education system, such as societal (sex, age, religion) and economic factors (income). Current educational system in the United States of America has many peculiarities, and the largest one is that it is decentralized. The government is partly responsible for funding education, however state and local authorities adopt specific educational programs and the set of subjects. Education in the USA is divided into secondary and post-secondary, and the first group, in its turn, is subdivided in elementary school (often preceded by pre-school activities), middle school and high school.

Secondary school is compulsory nationwide, however grade division, entrance and graduation rates are different in various states. Students may study in private school and public school; however the latter are more popular and more affordable (comparatively free). In case the student decides to continue his education after graduation from school he can enter college or university (post-secondary education) and obtain bachelor's degree and later - master's degree and doctor's degree. Educational system of the USA comprises many problems and challenges, mostly of social and economical character that need to be solved in order to increase the educational level of the nation and, in general, to make education more high-quality and affordable for all people.

Works Cited

Barrett, M. "Secondary Education in the United States". Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.toeflaccess.com/articles/ETS/us/study/what_study/ed_sys/overview_higher_ed/secondary_ed.html

Belenky, A. S. "U.S. Education System Gets Failing Math Grade". Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080608/FEATURES15/806080315/1030/FEATURES15

Benveniste, L., Carnoy, M. and Rothstein, R. "All Else Equal: are Public and Private Schools Different?" New York: Routledge, 2003, pp 2-6.

Goodman, E. "Religion in the Textbooks" in Muller, G. H., Wiener, H. S. "To the Point: Reading and Writing Short Arguments". London: Longman, 2004, p. 317.

Justice, L. M., Vukelich, C. and Teale, W. H. "Achieving Excellence in Preschool Literacy Instruction". New York: Guilford Press, 2007, p. 5.

Lewin, T. "College May Become Unaffordable for Most in U.S". Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/106254/College-May-Become-Unaffordable-for-Most-in-US

State Compulsory School Attendance Laws. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0112617.html

The Education System in America. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.essortment.com/all/historyamerica_rdtf.htm

The U.S. Education System. Structure: General Information. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://usinfo.org/enus/education/overview/edlite-structure-us1.html

U.S. Census Bureau. People: Education. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://factfinder.census.gov/jsp/saff/SAFFInfo.jsp?_pageId=tp5_education

Worzbyt, J. C., O'Rourke, K. and Dandeneau, C. J. "Elementary School Counseling: A Commitment to Caring and Community Building". New York: Routledge Mental Health, 2003, 490 pp.

It is a well known fact that each person possesses a powerful learning potential that provides him with the opportunity to broaden his outlook, to enrich his experience and to see the surrounding world in all its diversity and mystery. Learning is a complicated mechanism that is embedded in human consciousness by nature in the course of evolutionary processes, and this mechanism is vital for human survival and social adaptation. People are all learners, to a higher or a smaller degree; and the process of learning itself is triggered by many factors, such as curiosity, perceived necessity or it merely occurs subconsciously ruled by human cognitive instincts.

It is necessary to mention that learning is a multi-stage process comprising many components; it is not limited by contemplation or memorizing only, instead, it presupposes the development of logical abilities and of cause-and-effect relation. Education as a nation-wide system serves many purposes, however the most general and the most obvious one is to help people learn more, to provide them with a specific scope of knowledge that will help them in their lives. The system of education itself should be viewed not only a scheme comprising of levels following each other, but also as a complex phenomenon responding to various societal, economic and even political challenges and requirements.

The Education system in the United States of America is different to the one of many other developed countries. However, such uniqueness is frequently criticized by educational researchers. The system of education in the USA is disintegrated and is largely shaped by decision-making practices and tactics on state and local level which results in enormous disparity in education accessibility and quality, in school material (financial) provision and in students' results and involvement in the educational process.

This research paper discusses current education system in the United States, its structure and peculiarities. Moreover, the paper aims at the analysis of American educational system through the prism of its management and conceptual controversies as well as from the point of view of economic and social difficulties that affect the effectiveness of the process of education in the country. The major peculiarity of U.S. education system that distinguishes it from the one of many other countries of the globe is that it is, in fact, out of direct control of the American government. Higher educational system is comprised by two constituents: private schools that are governed by the trustees, and public schools that are controlled by state and local governments. At the same time, education in the country is largely provided by the government and essential funding is generated by federal, state and local levels. A great number of education-related issues, such as teaching practices, curriculum, funding and others are established via the school boards that are elected on the local level and govern particular school districts.

School education and attendance is compulsory in the United States, however, the age of the compulsory school attendance varies between the states according to state education laws. For example, in Arkansas children start education at five ears old and graduate at the age of seventeen. In contrast, in Ohio the chronological frames of compulsory school education embrace the period between six and eighteen years of age (State Compulsory School Attendance Laws 2009). However, many schools in different parts of the United States are now moving towards graduating students at the age of eighteen and, correspondingly, accepting children at the age of six.

American school education is divided into several broad categories, such as elementary school, middle school and high school. Preschool educational programs are also available in many states starting at minimum age of three. Post-secondary education (college or university) is a special branch of the education system and is governed differently to schools in America. "The structure of U.S. education includes 12 years of regular schooling, preceded by a year or two of pre-school education, and followed by a four-stage higher education degree system (associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate) plus various non-degree certificates and diplomas" (The U.S. Education System. Structure: General Information 2009). It is important to mention that grading systems do not always coincide in various American States, for example, some schools relate eighth and ninth grades to high school, while others presume that high school starts in tenth grade and lasts until the twelfth grade, that is, until graduation.

Pre-school preparation is receiving more attention nowadays than several decades ago, and many researchers believe this stage is essential for the child's subsequent successful adaptation to school environment. Most often pre-school educational programs begin one or two years prior to the school entry. The first year of pre-school education is also synonymously referred to as nursery school, because children are often aged three and four; though the second year is defined as pre-school or kindergarten (most often at the age of four or five).

There exist several types of pre-school educational institutions in the United States, such as the following: non-profit co-operative schools (as a rule, they are the least expensive), church-affiliated schools (that are often linked to religious centers and may include religious studies as well), local community schools, private schools (they are the most expensive to attend) and a special type, Montessori schools (they are based on the unique method of teaching developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the beginning of the 20th century and focusing on behavioral and cognitive uniqueness of each child). Approximately three million and a half children annually participate in pre-school education programs in the United States, and this participation frequently contributes to higher grades at school, because pre-school education "is designed to promote children's social-emotional, academic, language, and literary skills, and health and well-being" (Justice, Vukelich & Teale 5).

Traditionally school education in the United States includes elementary education and secondary education and, thus, divided into elementary school (including mostly children from six to eleven years old), middle school (children from eleven to fourteen years old) and high school (students from fourteen to eighteen ears old). The period of school education is typically divided into twelve grades, or levels that symbolize students' progress and advancement from elementary school to high school.

During the period of elementary schooling (that most often includes grades from one to five) children receive the elementary knowledge of some basic subjects (such as arithmetic, mathematics and fundamentals of English language) and the majority of classes usually take place in a limited number of classrooms (usually one or two), though certain subjects, such as music or physical education are taught in special classrooms.

Many educational researchers believe that the teaching of sciences and of certain social sciences in elementary school lack professional approach and depth, largely due to the fact elementary school teachers receive generalist preparation and training (Worzbyt, O'Rourke & Dandeneau 2003). The overwhelming majority of schools in the United States are of public origin, and the specifications of each subjects, the set of books to be used in the classroom, the requirements for the teachers' qualifications and other related issues are outlined by the elected school boards in cooperation with school administration.

The period of middle school is not always explicitly distinguishable and it is often substituted by the notion of a junior high school that is comprised by seventh and eighth grades and serves as a link between elementary school and senior high school. During this period more emphasis is put on improving school grades and knowledge as the student gradually approaches his graduation and his school records might be very important for post-secondary education or career. Unlike elementary school, junior high school students have more teachers, usually one teacher per subject. Traditional groups of subjects that are taught in high school include social sciences (such as economics or history, English, science (such as chemistry or biology), mathematics and physical education.

Besides, students receive the opportunity to select preferred subjects from the list of so called electives that may variably include computers, technology, foreign languages, athletics or other subjects. The choice of the elective, or additional subject, is often predetermined by the student's own understanding of what he might need for and after graduation. School psychologists stress that the choice of extra subjects may play a very significant role in a student's future, so parents should not keep aside and should have a talk with their child. Those high school students who intend to go to college after graduation from school

Take special preparatory classes that intend to make them ready for entering a college (Barrett 2009). Various colleges have different admission requirements, but they traditionally pay attention to students school grades (marks), courses taken at school, school reputation (private schools are considered to be more prestigious that public schools) and standardized test scores. During their high school period, usually in the eleventh grade, students take one or several standardized tests, the most popular of which are the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test and Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is now also called SAT Reasoning Test) and the ACT.

Colleges or universities represent post-secondary education and it usually lasts for four years. Similar two high school division college students are ranked freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. The four years of college education are also referred to as undergraduate studies and end with obtaining bachelor's degree in a "major" field, such as Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and others. After obtaining bachelor's degree and often after some years of professional activity students gain an advanced, master's degree, such as the well known Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Arts (MA). Later on, doctor's degree may be achieved.

The major problem with post-secondary education is its affordability for all people. Student tuition and fees are increasing, thus generating larger volumes of student borrowing and making it harder for middle-to-low income students to study further. "Over all, the report found, published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007 while median family income rose 147 percent" (Lewin 2009). At the same time many people find governmental support for low-income families to be insufficient, as well as the involvement of charitable organizations. Other problems of American system of education are discussed further in the paper.

Nowadays the system of standardized testing and the whole basics of American educational systems are being criticized by a number of American and foreign scholars. They believe that American secondary education is rather superficial especially concerning certain subjects, such as cultures of other nations and world history. "High school textbooks in the United States of America teach a slanted view of world history, where they are found at all. Continued reference is made throughout more recent history, after the establishment of the thirteen colonies, to the area that became the U.S., as if it was the only significant detail in history. Any history before the founding of the U.S. is touched very briefly, in one year of World History, which is not even considered a mandatory course in most U.S. high schools" (The Education System in America 2009).

Besides, the famous No Child Left Behind Act signed by President Bush in 2001 seems to focus educational efforts almost exclusively on improvement students' reading and mathematical skills, while leaving the rest of the subjects behind. The most disturbing thing is that the reading skills of students have hardly improved since 1994, while mathematical skills are prone to decline due to erroneous teaching model: "The existing teaching model for mathematics encourages students to memorize problem solving techniques, but it doesn't teach the logical fundamentals of these techniques. Consequently, the system doesn't help students understand the logic of finding solutions" (Belenky 2009).

Other problems of the education system in the United States (of both secondary and post-secondary education) are insufficient control of students' cheating, controversies and inaccuracy of school grading (marks) and also religious issues. Preoccupation of educators and book publishers with cultural, ethnic and religious issues of multinational population seemed to be a democratic policy, aimed at respecting the views and lifestyles of different people. However, it has produced a negative side effect: such policy "has pushed textbook publishers to excise religion altogether, even from history class" (Goodman 317).

One more controversy and challenge of American secondary education lies in the typology and affordability of schools. The point is that American students have several educational choices and to summarize them briefly one may say that the following basic types of schools are available in the USA: private schools and public schools. Besides, some parents prefer their children to receive education at home. Major part of students in the USA studies in public school, mostly due to their greater affordability. Private schools are not free and demand certain tuition from each student that attends them. In 2000 only "5.2 million first-through-twelfth graders attended private schools, or 10.4 percent of students in those grades" (U.S. Census Bureau. People: Education 2009).

Many students and parents consider private schools to be hardly affordable and too expensive, besides these schools are not required by law to accept every applicant student and form its entrance requirements on competition basis. Private schools introduce their own educational courses and subjects they consider necessary for a student to graduate. Many of them teach religious subjects in addition to standard set of subjects. Besides, the influence of state educational regulations and prescriptions on public schools is minimal id compared with public schools.

Public schools, on their part, are predominantly funded by money received from state and local taxes. Many of them face serious financial problems, especially in poor districts. Many representatives of ethnic minorities live in poorer areas and, thus, have little access to good education. Nowadays public schools are frequently criticized and blamed for such aspects as violence and low student achievement; however the lack of funding remains the largest concern (Benveniste, Carnoy & Rothstein 2-6).

Obviously, educated person has more chances to succeed in the modern globalized world that is characterized by tough competition between both individuals and companies. Education system as a whole is not focused on the satisfaction of individual needs, though. Instead, it represents an important governmental tool that aims at improving the overall education level of the country's population. Ratio of educated people and those who are enrolled in multi-stage educational process reveal the peculiarities of learning-related national tendencies, as well as governmental concernment and involvement in the promotion of education.

Naturally, there exist many factors that influence the functioning of the education system, such as societal (sex, age, religion) and economic factors (income). Current educational system in the United States of America has many peculiarities, and the largest one is that it is decentralized. The government is partly responsible for funding education, however state and local authorities adopt specific educational programs and the set of subjects. Education in the USA is divided into secondary and post-secondary, and the first group, in its turn, is subdivided in elementary school (often preceded by pre-school activities), middle school and high school.

Secondary school is compulsory nationwide, however grade division, entrance and graduation rates are different in various states. Students may study in private school and public school; however the latter are more popular and more affordable (comparatively free). In case the student decides to continue his education after graduation from school he can enter college or university (post-secondary education) and obtain bachelor's degree and later - master's degree and doctor's degree. Educational system of the USA comprises many problems and challenges, mostly of social and economical character that need to be solved in order to increase the educational level of the nation and, in general, to make education more high-quality and affordable for all people.

Works Cited

Barrett, M. "Secondary Education in the United States". Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.toeflaccess.com/articles/ETS/us/study/what_study/ed_sys/overview_higher_ed/secondary_ed.html

Belenky, A. S. "U.S. Education System Gets Failing Math Grade". Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080608/FEATURES15/806080315/1030/FEATURES15

Benveniste, L., Carnoy, M. and Rothstein, R. "All Else Equal: are Public and Private Schools Different?" New York: Routledge, 2003, pp 2-6.

Goodman, E. "Religion in the Textbooks" in Muller, G. H., Wiener, H. S. "To the Point: Reading and Writing Short Arguments". London: Longman, 2004, p. 317.

Justice, L. M., Vukelich, C. and Teale, W. H. "Achieving Excellence in Preschool Literacy Instruction". New York: Guilford Press, 2007, p. 5.

Lewin, T. "College May Become Unaffordable for Most in U.S". Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/106254/College-May-Become-Unaffordable-for-Most-in-US

State Compulsory School Attendance Laws. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0112617.html

The Education System in America. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://www.essortment.com/all/historyamerica_rdtf.htm

The U.S. Education System. Structure: General Information. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://usinfo.org/enus/education/overview/edlite-structure-us1.html

U.S. Census Bureau. People: Education. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://factfinder.census.gov/jsp/saff/SAFFInfo.jsp?_pageId=tp5_education

Worzbyt, J. C., O'Rourke, K. and Dandeneau, C. J. "Elementary School Counseling: A Commitment to Caring and Community Building". New York: Routledge Mental Health, 2003, 490 pp.

What’s really wrong with America’s education system | Washington Times Communities

NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 ― It’s amazing how education reform was suddenly transformed into the Democrats’ key domestic policy issue. Consider the Democratic strategy for improving urban education in America so far: Dump millions and billions of our tax dollars down the ratholes of failing school districts in the name of saving our children, a tactic which has consistently failed for two generations.

Democrat-sponsored legislation on education reform has consistently been hijacked and directed by teachers’ unions. Their enormous financial support of the Democratic Party has given them a huge say in the shape of Democratic legislation on education.

SEE RELATED: NEA hinders education reform

Sadly, our failing schools have continued to diminish in quality, not because our students and teachers are inferior, but because of politics. Washington bureaucrats, national legislators, governors and local leaders have for the last forty years tied themselves to the failed education policies supported by teachers’ unions. Any attempt by these elected officials to allow parental choice or create more charter schools is likely to reduce the number of incompetent educators, hence these attempts are automatically viewed as a threat by union leaders.

This should not surprise us; teachers’ unions advocate for teachers and only teachers, not for taxpayers, not for students, not for their parents. They want higher salaries more than they want better educational outcomes; they would rather enhance job security than rid their ranks of bad teachers. Educational success is not their first priority, and it will never be achieved by throwing more money at a problem that refuses to fix itself.

Over time, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, political theater has substituted for hard educational choices. Theater has worked for most power brokers because it is easier than articulating thoughtful policies and selling them to a public that doesn’t have the patience for them. Even as their hard-earned tax dollars are being wasted on a failed educational system, voters seem unable to believe that spending more money on their children’s education is a completely wasted investment, especially in minority neighborhoods.

Liberals and the unions have consistently beat the drums to demand more money, and real spending per student has tripled since the 50s and is among the highest in the developed world. Our educational achievement puts us in the bottom half of that club, however, as luxurious salaries for swelling ranks of administrators, grandiose conferences, and even state-of-the-art schools have failed to translate into better education. We spend more per child than almost any other country in the world to provide that child with an education that has almost no value in the real world. 

SEE RELATED: Hooking kids on sex: PP starts “saturation process” in kindergarten

In some states, Governors have tried to push school vouchers, sometimes called “scholarships,” for students who come from challenged economic backgrounds. The word “voucher” is taboo in secondary education, because it directly threatens union leadership, by re-establishing urban competition from private and public charter based schools. No wonder unions are opposed to these vouchers. They go all out to keep parents from having options that would grant them alternatives to public schools, which would cause union dues to drop quickly. Sadly, America’s teachers’ unions have declared war on America and her children, keeping the status quo alive.

It’s always surprising that state legislators across the nation, whose own districts are failing consistently, refuse to support legislation that could actually enhance academic learning, hold teachers and administrators accountable for performance, and grant parents the choice to give their children access to a quality education.  

 

 

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Brandon has stayed true to these virtues by earning a Bachelor's in Business Administration in International Business Management from Howard University, a Master’s of Science in Global Affairs from Rutgers University and is currently completing his Master's in Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Brandon has been featured as a guest political contributor on FOX News, Hannity's Great American Panel, ABC’s Here and Now with Host Saundra Bookman, BET’s the Truth with Host Jeff Johnson and Grit-TV. Brandon is an active conservative blogger and political contributor with MSNBC's the Grio and HipHopRepublican.com. Brandon’s articles and work has appeared in Time Out New York, the Washington Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, AfroPunk and Ebony.com. Brandon has given lectures at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., Baruch College, Princeton University, the Harbor League of Baltimore, the National Black Law Students Association's and the Alexander Hamilton Society.

Contact Brandon Brice

NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 ― It’s amazing how education reform was suddenly transformed into the Democrats’ key domestic policy issue. Consider the Democratic strategy for improving urban education in America so far: Dump millions and billions of our tax dollars down the ratholes of failing school districts in the name of saving our children, a tactic which has consistently failed for two generations.

Democrat-sponsored legislation on education reform has consistently been hijacked and directed by teachers’ unions. Their enormous financial support of the Democratic Party has given them a huge say in the shape of Democratic legislation on education.

SEE RELATED: NEA hinders education reform

Sadly, our failing schools have continued to diminish in quality, not because our students and teachers are inferior, but because of politics. Washington bureaucrats, national legislators, governors and local leaders have for the last forty years tied themselves to the failed education policies supported by teachers’ unions. Any attempt by these elected officials to allow parental choice or create more charter schools is likely to reduce the number of incompetent educators, hence these attempts are automatically viewed as a threat by union leaders.

This should not surprise us; teachers’ unions advocate for teachers and only teachers, not for taxpayers, not for students, not for their parents. They want higher salaries more than they want better educational outcomes; they would rather enhance job security than rid their ranks of bad teachers. Educational success is not their first priority, and it will never be achieved by throwing more money at a problem that refuses to fix itself.

Over time, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, political theater has substituted for hard educational choices. Theater has worked for most power brokers because it is easier than articulating thoughtful policies and selling them to a public that doesn’t have the patience for them. Even as their hard-earned tax dollars are being wasted on a failed educational system, voters seem unable to believe that spending more money on their children’s education is a completely wasted investment, especially in minority neighborhoods.

Liberals and the unions have consistently beat the drums to demand more money, and real spending per student has tripled since the 50s and is among the highest in the developed world. Our educational achievement puts us in the bottom half of that club, however, as luxurious salaries for swelling ranks of administrators, grandiose conferences, and even state-of-the-art schools have failed to translate into better education. We spend more per child than almost any other country in the world to provide that child with an education that has almost no value in the real world. 

SEE RELATED: Hooking kids on sex: PP starts “saturation process” in kindergarten

In some states, Governors have tried to push school vouchers, sometimes called “scholarships,” for students who come from challenged economic backgrounds. The word “voucher” is taboo in secondary education, because it directly threatens union leadership, by re-establishing urban competition from private and public charter based schools. No wonder unions are opposed to these vouchers. They go all out to keep parents from having options that would grant them alternatives to public schools, which would cause union dues to drop quickly. Sadly, America’s teachers’ unions have declared war on America and her children, keeping the status quo alive.

It’s always surprising that state legislators across the nation, whose own districts are failing consistently, refuse to support legislation that could actually enhance academic learning, hold teachers and administrators accountable for performance, and grant parents the choice to give their children access to a quality education.  

 

 

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Brandon has stayed true to these virtues by earning a Bachelor's in Business Administration in International Business Management from Howard University, a Master’s of Science in Global Affairs from Rutgers University and is currently completing his Master's in Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Brandon has been featured as a guest political contributor on FOX News, Hannity's Great American Panel, ABC’s Here and Now with Host Saundra Bookman, BET’s the Truth with Host Jeff Johnson and Grit-TV. Brandon is an active conservative blogger and political contributor with MSNBC's the Grio and HipHopRepublican.com. Brandon’s articles and work has appeared in Time Out New York, the Washington Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, AfroPunk and Ebony.com. Brandon has given lectures at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., Baruch College, Princeton University, the Harbor League of Baltimore, the National Black Law Students Association's and the Alexander Hamilton Society.

Contact Brandon Brice

How does student debt affect your monthly finances?

How does student debt affect your monthly finances?

Sociología de la Educación: Sistema Educativo en Estados Unidos de América

Un esbozo informativo de los niveles de la educación formal en el sistema educativo en los Estados se encuentra en:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/specials/newsid_2481000/2481473.stm

Sistema Educativo en los Estados Unidos

En Estados Unidos, al igual que en muchos países del mundo, la educación pública está dividida en cuatro niveles básicos: preescolar, primaria, secundaria y estudios superiores.

Preescolar

Los jardines de infantes, conocidos como "kindergarden" o "Pre-K" nacen de la necesidad de ofrecer educación preescolar a niños y niñas entre los cuatro y los cinco años de edad.Los "Pre-K" son patrocinados por el gobierno estatal y varían de estado a estado, dependiendo primordialmente de las necesidades básicas de la zona. Por ejemplo, los programas de jardín de infantes en los estados de Alabama y Georgia reciben mayor atención que los de estados como Illinois o Michigan. En los últimos dos años, estados del este de EE.UU. han abogado por mejores programas educativos para los más pequeños.Los padres que desean inscribir a sus hijos en estos programas preescolares deben demostrar -por medio de facturas de agua, electricidad o teléfono- que viven en el área donde está localizada la escuela.Una vez que los niños son aceptados por una escuela, deben cumplir los requisitos exigidos por el Departamento de Educación y el Departamento de Salud del estado.Uno de ellos es que los jóvenes estudiantes cuenten con las vacunas requeridas de acuerdo con su edad.Asimismo, el estudiante debe tener un mínimo de cuatro años cumplidos. Si el menor cuenta con menos de cuatro años de edad, los padres deberán pagar un jardín privado que los acepte.La gran mayoría de estos programas, a nivel nacional, incluye la alimentación de los menores.

Primaria

El programa de educación primaria transcurre desde el "Kinder" hasta el quinto grado (K-5). La edad de ingreso es por lo general de 5 o 6 años.
Al igual que los "Pre-K", los padres deben probar su lugar de residencia y sus ingresos económicos.Estos últimos determinarán en este caso el costo de la alimentación del estudiante.En el nivel primario, se incluye el transporte escolar, por medio de los emblemáticos autobuses de color amarillo.Asimismo, algunos colegios comienzan a ofrecer clases extracurriculares como música y pintura.

Secundaria

La secundaria comienza al completar el quinto año de enseñanza primaria. En Estados Unidos está dividida en "Middle" o "Junior High" (primer ciclo) y "High" (segundo ciclo)."Middle" o "Junior High"Este programa, que dependiendo del estado se le conoce como "Middle" o "Junior High", comienza desde que el niño tiene por lo general 11 o 12 años de edad, y se extiende entre el sexto y octavo grado de educación.El proceso es similar a los programas anteriores: deben presentarse las vacunas, las direcciones que demuestren el lugar de residencia de los padres, etc.La diferencia -en este caso- radica en los programas extracurriculares de la escuela, que van desde clubes de matemáticas y ciencias hasta grupos de teatro y canto.En el último año, se realizan exámenes estatales para determinar el nivel del estudiante.

"High School"

Comprende la educación entre los grados nueve y doce, y los jóvenes ingresan con una edad promedio de 14 o 15 años.Al igual que los anteriores niveles, los estudiantes deben presentar sus vacunas y el ingreso económico de sus padres.Las clases extracurriculares son más numerosas y están enmarcadas en ofrecer al estudiante una gama de materias que tengan relación con la vida universitaria.Los programas extracurriculares se centran en la preparación de los exámenes de ingreso a la universidad o para postular a empleos gubernamentales como la oficina de Correos, el cuerpo de Bomberos o bien la academia de Policía de la ciudad.Muchos maestros ofrecen sus servicios como tutores para guiar a sus estudiantes en la búsqueda de becas universitarias.El último nivel es esperado con ansias por muchos jóvenes para realizar la famosa "Prom" o fiesta de graduación.

Estudios superiores

La vida universitaria tiene varias divisiones que van desde la colegiatura -ciclo básico universitario- o "College" (los dos primeros años), pasando por la licenciatura (cuatro años) hasta llegar a la maestría y el doctorado. Estas últimas son consideradas especializaciones universitarias.

"College"

Los "College" o "Community college" proveen los primeros dos años de carrera profesional (seguido de una transferencia a un programa de cuatro años en una universidad).Estas escuelas -que no deben confundirse con escuelas técnicas- son mucho más baratas y permiten al estudiante ahorrar un poco de dinero, ya que en su mayoría son patrocinadas por el Departamento de Educación.Actualmente existen 1.151 de estos centros en Estados Unidos; 1.004 públicos, controlados por el estado o distritos locales, y los restantes privados.El ingreso al "College" o a la Universidad es similar y exige exámenes como el "SAT", una prueba que evalúa las destrezas del estudiante en las áreas de matemáticas e inglés.En el caso de los estudiantes extranjeros, las escuelas postsecundarias les exigen el llamado "TOEFL" (Test Of English as a Foreign Language - "Prueba de inglés como segunda lengua") el cual determina la capacidad del estudiante para desenvolverse en inglés a nivel universitario.

Universidad

Sin importar si las universidades son públicas o privadas, estas instituciones tienen una serie de normas que son adoptadas y reguladas por el Departamento de Educación.Uno de los requisitos para ingresar a la universidad, es que el interesado tenga buenos conocimientos de inglés. Para ello debe aprobar el "TOEFL", explicado más arriba.La vida universitaria es cara en muchos estados. Aunque las universidades son subsidiadas por el gobierno, el costo puede oscilar entre US$ 7.000 y US$ 20.000 dólares por año académico. Esta cifra no incluye los costos de libros, transporte, vivienda y alimentación.

Maestría y doctorado

Al finalizar los cuatro años de universidad, el estudiante recibe su diploma en un área específica, por ejemplo, Economía o Ingeniería.La gran mayoría de las universidades en EE.UU. ofrecen programas de especialización o maestrías. Después de este nivel, se ofrecen los doctorados, niveles de especialización mucho más avanzados.

Un esbozo informativo de los niveles de la educación formal en el sistema educativo en los Estados se encuentra en:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/specials/newsid_2481000/2481473.stm

Sistema Educativo en los Estados Unidos

En Estados Unidos, al igual que en muchos países del mundo, la educación pública está dividida en cuatro niveles básicos: preescolar, primaria, secundaria y estudios superiores.

Preescolar

Los jardines de infantes, conocidos como "kindergarden" o "Pre-K" nacen de la necesidad de ofrecer educación preescolar a niños y niñas entre los cuatro y los cinco años de edad.Los "Pre-K" son patrocinados por el gobierno estatal y varían de estado a estado, dependiendo primordialmente de las necesidades básicas de la zona. Por ejemplo, los programas de jardín de infantes en los estados de Alabama y Georgia reciben mayor atención que los de estados como Illinois o Michigan. En los últimos dos años, estados del este de EE.UU. han abogado por mejores programas educativos para los más pequeños.Los padres que desean inscribir a sus hijos en estos programas preescolares deben demostrar -por medio de facturas de agua, electricidad o teléfono- que viven en el área donde está localizada la escuela.Una vez que los niños son aceptados por una escuela, deben cumplir los requisitos exigidos por el Departamento de Educación y el Departamento de Salud del estado.Uno de ellos es que los jóvenes estudiantes cuenten con las vacunas requeridas de acuerdo con su edad.Asimismo, el estudiante debe tener un mínimo de cuatro años cumplidos. Si el menor cuenta con menos de cuatro años de edad, los padres deberán pagar un jardín privado que los acepte.La gran mayoría de estos programas, a nivel nacional, incluye la alimentación de los menores.

Primaria

El programa de educación primaria transcurre desde el "Kinder" hasta el quinto grado (K-5). La edad de ingreso es por lo general de 5 o 6 años.
Al igual que los "Pre-K", los padres deben probar su lugar de residencia y sus ingresos económicos.Estos últimos determinarán en este caso el costo de la alimentación del estudiante.En el nivel primario, se incluye el transporte escolar, por medio de los emblemáticos autobuses de color amarillo.Asimismo, algunos colegios comienzan a ofrecer clases extracurriculares como música y pintura.

Secundaria

La secundaria comienza al completar el quinto año de enseñanza primaria. En Estados Unidos está dividida en "Middle" o "Junior High" (primer ciclo) y "High" (segundo ciclo)."Middle" o "Junior High"Este programa, que dependiendo del estado se le conoce como "Middle" o "Junior High", comienza desde que el niño tiene por lo general 11 o 12 años de edad, y se extiende entre el sexto y octavo grado de educación.El proceso es similar a los programas anteriores: deben presentarse las vacunas, las direcciones que demuestren el lugar de residencia de los padres, etc.La diferencia -en este caso- radica en los programas extracurriculares de la escuela, que van desde clubes de matemáticas y ciencias hasta grupos de teatro y canto.En el último año, se realizan exámenes estatales para determinar el nivel del estudiante.

"High School"

Comprende la educación entre los grados nueve y doce, y los jóvenes ingresan con una edad promedio de 14 o 15 años.Al igual que los anteriores niveles, los estudiantes deben presentar sus vacunas y el ingreso económico de sus padres.Las clases extracurriculares son más numerosas y están enmarcadas en ofrecer al estudiante una gama de materias que tengan relación con la vida universitaria.Los programas extracurriculares se centran en la preparación de los exámenes de ingreso a la universidad o para postular a empleos gubernamentales como la oficina de Correos, el cuerpo de Bomberos o bien la academia de Policía de la ciudad.Muchos maestros ofrecen sus servicios como tutores para guiar a sus estudiantes en la búsqueda de becas universitarias.El último nivel es esperado con ansias por muchos jóvenes para realizar la famosa "Prom" o fiesta de graduación.

Estudios superiores

La vida universitaria tiene varias divisiones que van desde la colegiatura -ciclo básico universitario- o "College" (los dos primeros años), pasando por la licenciatura (cuatro años) hasta llegar a la maestría y el doctorado. Estas últimas son consideradas especializaciones universitarias.

"College"

Los "College" o "Community college" proveen los primeros dos años de carrera profesional (seguido de una transferencia a un programa de cuatro años en una universidad).Estas escuelas -que no deben confundirse con escuelas técnicas- son mucho más baratas y permiten al estudiante ahorrar un poco de dinero, ya que en su mayoría son patrocinadas por el Departamento de Educación.Actualmente existen 1.151 de estos centros en Estados Unidos; 1.004 públicos, controlados por el estado o distritos locales, y los restantes privados.El ingreso al "College" o a la Universidad es similar y exige exámenes como el "SAT", una prueba que evalúa las destrezas del estudiante en las áreas de matemáticas e inglés.En el caso de los estudiantes extranjeros, las escuelas postsecundarias les exigen el llamado "TOEFL" (Test Of English as a Foreign Language - "Prueba de inglés como segunda lengua") el cual determina la capacidad del estudiante para desenvolverse en inglés a nivel universitario.

Universidad

Sin importar si las universidades son públicas o privadas, estas instituciones tienen una serie de normas que son adoptadas y reguladas por el Departamento de Educación.Uno de los requisitos para ingresar a la universidad, es que el interesado tenga buenos conocimientos de inglés. Para ello debe aprobar el "TOEFL", explicado más arriba.La vida universitaria es cara en muchos estados. Aunque las universidades son subsidiadas por el gobierno, el costo puede oscilar entre US$ 7.000 y US$ 20.000 dólares por año académico. Esta cifra no incluye los costos de libros, transporte, vivienda y alimentación.

Maestría y doctorado

Al finalizar los cuatro años de universidad, el estudiante recibe su diploma en un área específica, por ejemplo, Economía o Ingeniería.La gran mayoría de las universidades en EE.UU. ofrecen programas de especialización o maestrías. Después de este nivel, se ofrecen los doctorados, niveles de especialización mucho más avanzados.