Basic Concepts of American Education

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American education is considered to be one of the most advanced systems in the world, but although it is relatively newer, it is still based on old European concepts. In what follows we are going to look at the basic concepts of education in the USA and see where it is different from other education systems. First of all, American education is mostly provided by the public sector; however, it is controlled by all three levels of organization: state, local and federal. All these three provide funding and control how education is managed in a decreasing order of importance.

Because there are so many states, each with their own internal laws and customs, statistics about American education vary; while it is compulsory for children everywhere to go to school, when they do varies from state to state: in some places, children start school from the age of 5 and could terminate at 16, whereas other states send children to school from the age of 7. After finishing basic and standard education, which is free for all, the children can choose between a wide range of institutions like colleges and universities, as well as many other higher education schools. The great thing about career education is that children get a lot of support from their teachers and they also benefit from career guidance. Not only that, but parents can also find support online where there are numerous websites dedicated to early childhood education or study tips for middle school.

Another common occurrence in American education is home schooling, which can be done by parents or by hired tutors. Although child education is compulsory, parents can choose to home school their children, whose studies can be equaled if they follow an approved home school system. As for the stages of education, they are three:

  • Elementary school – This generally comprises the first six years of school, and it is also called primary school.
  • Middle school – This is where things get complicated for the same state differences we mentioned earlier. Due to the fact that the children often get confused during this period of their life, there are a lot of websites that offer study tips for middle school. Middle school, also called junior high school in certain places, can start from the fifth year of school and last until the eighth or ninth year.
  • High school – Sometimes considered a part of secondary education, high school can refer to the last six to eight years of education, beginning with the ninth year and ending in the twelfth. While other countries still struggle to keep their young in high school, in America there was a demand for high-school educated people ever since the 20th century, when the development of big businesses required trained people.

Although it has a much shorter history than other countries, America and its people soon realized the importance of education, which is why they struggled to make public education free and accessible for all since the 18th-19th century. In 1870, all major urban centers had free public schools, and towards the 20th century, the states began making it compulsory. In 1910, over 72% of all children in America were going to school, and that same year saw the first real high schools appear as well.

American education continues with post-secondary education, which is represented by college; not everyone in America can study well enough to go to college, and it is also an expensive endeavor for many. Yet with all that America manages to rank 10th in a top of industrial countries with high percentages of adults obtaining a college degree. Colleges are almost the same as universities in the US, and there are also junior colleges who offer some kind of higher education. Add to that the incredible number of private schools and you’ve got a country that knows how important educated people are.

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