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Essay Writing for Prospective International Students
Workshop von N.N., d.a.i. Tübingen.
Do you plan to apply for a study program at a university in the United States? Are you unsure of how to write an impactful personal statement or a persuasive supplemental essay? We offer an intensive workshop with a native speaker. They provide you with the right tools and methods on how to write strong application essays and motivational letters for your top choice schools. Afterward, you are well-equipped and know how to set yourself apart from other applicants and win over admissions offices. This event is part of a two-part series on university applications.
As space is limited to maximum 10 people, please sign up in advance @ www.dai-tuebingen.de/essay-writing
Location: room New York (EG) Participation fee: 30 € / d.a.i. members 27 €
Date and Time
Education System in the United States
Ideally, education should continually prepare an individual for life so that they may live it to the fullest while aiming at an experience of the greater good for all and sundry. Nurturing of the human capacity for creativity requires a fertile environment for growth. Thus, education can be acquired from home, where the educative process is informal. It can also be appropriated from an institutionalized setting in the form of a public school or a privately owned school. In the United States, each of these environments is well represented as a source of education. The extent to which each of them has been instrumental in the drive for the greater good has, however, not yet been established.
Also, it would be an interesting engagement to try and determine how much each of the three entities have contributed towards this goal in the American context. This article shall explore education in the United States based on the aforementioned sources of enlightenment. According to the National Catholic Educational Association, no database extant in the American continent provides data regarding public schools. Furthermore, no database collects the same; also, no database compares findings concerning private and public schools (NCEA, 2010). This treatise shall attempt to make such comparisons. Findings of privately run schools and home-based learning centers shall be considered in mutual exclusivity, and comparisons made of the same regarding various parameters of interest. The author shall then endeavor to draw logical conclusions from the comparisons thus made.
General Structure of the Education System in the United States
In the United States, education can be seen from two perspectives. There is a level at which education is considered not to be compulsory, and there is compulsory education. The non-compulsory level of education is below kindergarten. Different states have different ages at which children may enter compulsory education. This is usually six years of age. However, the range is usually between five and seven years (USAEducation, 2011). This level of education is also known as pre-higher education, and it lasts for ten years on average. For example, a child who joins compulsory education classes at the age of six years shall be expected to graduate at the age of sixteen, approximately ten years later. Within this level, one starts with pre-schooling, which commences from age three to six. The types of schools that provide pre-primary education include nursery schools, kindergarten, and daycare centers. A child in kindergarten spends two years in school (EuroEducation, 2011). In some cases, certificates are awarded as proof that a child indeed attended pre-primary classes. These certificates make the children eligible for admission into Elementary school.
Elementary school lasts four years, and the age of entry is usually six years, immediately after completion of Kindergarten. There are four grades at this level, but that also depends on the state and local practice. At ten years of age, one is likely to graduate with a certificate or a diploma that is awarded by the State or District. The student is then eligible to join Middle School. Sometimes, however, the issuance of awards may not be necessary (EuroEducation, 2011). For example, when a student is to maintain their residency within the same school, there will be no need for proof of graduation to the next level since the student is already known.
From ten to fourteen years of age, a student attends Middle School. This is from grade four to grade six but in some cases, it may go up to grade seven, or grade eight. On average the level takes three years to be completed. High school is from grade seven (or eight) to twelve and lasts six years; from thirteen to eighteen years of age. Some schools offer a level known as the Junior Secondary, which typically runs from thirteen to fifteen years of age and lasts an average of three years. The representative grades in this level are grade seven to eight, seven to nine, or eight to nine. It is a level followed immediately by the Upper secondary. The latter takes five years, is composed of grades nine or ten to twelve, and involves children who are between fifteen and eighteen years of age. Twelfth grade is the level for graduation from secondary school in all states. When one graduate, they are awarded a High School Diploma together with a transcript which details the marks that the student obtained and the curriculum in which he or she was involved (USAEducation, 2011).
Beyond secondary school education, there are two branches of education that one may opt for. They may get vocational education and training. This does not culminate in one being awarded a degree, but under certain circumstances, there may be transferable credits that lead to the award of a degree. On the other hand, a high school graduate can opt for the pursuance of a degree in any field that interests him or her (USAEducation, 2011). Higher education, also called post-secondary education can last an entire lifetime. It might also last for only three years after which the student decides to seek employment either in a field relevant to the acquired knowledge or an entirely different field. The transmutability of knowledge gained from higher education places the scholar at an advantage in that they are not confined to their area of expertise. The open-minded graduate will find gainful employment in whichever field they opt for. The essence of education is not to end up having a job, but to live life fully. Therefore, one who gets a job after they have acquired their degrees is fortunate
Subjects Taught at Various School Levels
Much of what children are introduced to while they are in Kindergarten is repeated through the course of their elementary school life. Numbers, language, and social science are taught using computers, film, and books. These lists are, however, not exhaustive. Teachers have the responsibility of shaping the way children will think at this level and what the children learn shall be important determinants of whether or not the students shall be successful in the future. The teacher encourages them to play so that they may develop language and social skills. At Elementary School, one or two teachers are usually held responsible for a group of children whom they instruct in one of several special subjects. These subjects include science, music, and art (United States Bureau of Labour, 2002).
The private education system in the United States
Behind every decision for one to embrace either the public school system or private school system, there is a motive. The rationale behind American people opting for private education is multi-faceted. However, there seems to be one underlying reason (opines the author) that traverses all others and that is, a collectively disgruntled group of people who have lost faith in the education that the public sector provides. What are some of the reasons for opting to go private? If the 2004 publication on private schooling is anything to go by, private schools are a reserve of the financially capable. The same publication gives the impression that the majority of rich people prefer having their children attend private schools that have no religious affiliations (Education Week, 2004). It would also so appear as if this group of people detests the idea of their progeny being indoctrinated with religious dogma; that not being relevant to their realization of the good life. Moreover, it depicts the definition of “the good life” as something subjective, arguable depending on personal perspectives of what comprises the good in life. If the observations on religious dogma were true, then a paltry 10% of the school-age population would still be an overestimation of the proportion of people who do not view success in life as a function of one’s religiousness or lack thereof.
According to the Council of American Private Education, one of the reasons the American populace opts for private educational institutions is the provision of quality education that they appropriate (CAPE, 2011). The implication of this is that, for the parents of school-going children who attend private school, the delivery of quality is better experienced away from public institutions. Other reasons cited for preferring private to public schools are supportive communities, safety and orderliness in private environments, and the impartation of morals and ethical values. When each of these factors is taken in isolation and regarded as a polarizing factor, it does not appear to hold much water, if any at all. About the quality of education, for example, it would be expected that public schools would offer better quality. This is because the federal government has the backing of the whole American population, albeit begrudgingly for some, in form of income tax returns. Therefore, the acquisition of quality personnel and educative amenities would/should not be an unbearable burden.
The National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES) defines a private school as one that does not obtain its financial support primarily from public funds. Besides, such schools use classrooms to deliver educative material from kindergarten up to grade 12. Other levels that compare to K-12 but as yet ungraded are also considered, for example, some Montessori schools assign institutions to “primary” or “intermediate” levels rather than giving specific grades. The said schools should also employ one teacher or more, for them to snugly fit within this criterion. The NCES does not consider a private school an institution or organization that does not use a classroom set-up to deliver instruction. It has been running the private school survey since 1997, with data derived from administrative personnel in the same institutions (NCES, 2011).
According to NCESs 2009-2010 survey, some private schools had religious orientations and these formed the majority of private schools (Broughman, Swaim and Hryczaniuk, 2011). The religious leanings notwithstanding, an interesting fancy that comes to mind is a look at the reasons behind these proclivities. It would also be of sensual appeal to study the various religious interests represented in the various school, to find out which is the most represented and why.
From the same survey mentioned above, it was evident that the majority of private schools around the United States had no religious affiliations at all. That is, not one religion had several schools that exceeded that of schools devoid of religious inclinations. These “unspiritual” (read non-sectarian) schools were closely followed in number by private schools that are predominantly Roman Catholic (Broughman, Swaim, and Hryczaniuk, 2011). According to the National Catholic Educational Association, when a single year is considered, examining test scores to determine student achievement, and to compare the quality of education between public and private schools avails very little relevant information (NCEA, 2006). This statement has been construed to engender the lack of comparison of other relevant data within any single academic or survey year.
For example, based on the 2009-2010 NCEA report, one may easily compare the enrolment of students in Roman Catholic schools and those in the Baptist church, thereby concluding that the higher the number of schools, the higher the number of students who enroll in them. This conclusion, however, is flawed, especially when one goes a step further and makes the same comparisons with, say, Jewish schools. The conclusion would imply direct proportionality between the number of schools and the number of enrollees. Nevertheless, the Jewish schools number less than half of the Baptist schools, but students enrolled in Jewish schools are more than half the number of those in Baptist schools. Similarly, it would be expected that since the number of Greek orthodox schools are exactly half the number of schools of the Church of God in Christ, the enrollees in the latter institution would be, ideally, half the number in the former give or take a few thousand students. A stark contrast is observed in this case, when the number of Greek orthodox enrolees exceeds the number of enrollees in schools considered to be affiliated with the Church of God in Christ (Broughman, Swaim and Hryczaniuk, 2011). With such discrepancies, it is highly unlikely that comparisons within different years would avail anything different.
From the survey carried out by the NCEA, several questions are likely to arise in the curious-minded. One would ask, for instance, how religious affiliations affect examination scores or how the religiously inclined to turn out in life after attending school. Furthermore, one would be interested in knowing the drop-out rate per grade of the religiously inclined vis a vis the non-sectarian. This, followed by an exploration of the reasons why would be a worthwhile engagement leading to a keener understanding of the school demographics. It would also enlighten one who needs to make decisions regarding which school his or her children ought to attend. However, the report provided addresses none of these concerns. Where one would probably get the answers to these questions, the data is not as detailed as to be of much relevance. A document by the Council for American Private Education, in mentioning the scores by students doing science, states that in 2009, 44% of the students in private schools “scored at or above the ‘proficient level’ in science”. The same publication further states that, for students in the fourth grade, 48% were deemed proficient according to NAEP (CAPE, 2011). It is thus evident that one might need to investigate to arrive at the answers to the queries above.
Apart from the meager statistical information from the well-established institutions like NAEP and the NCEA, several studies have been carried out whose objectives are congruous with the raised questions. Some studies have concluded that students from private schools perform better than their public school counterparts. However, other studies find conflicting results. Those whose results are in the affirmative invariably find out also that the best performers are students from catholic schools (Figlio & Stone, 2011).
According to Figlio and Stone, these studies did not employ robust instruments for the adjustment of non-random selection. They, therefore, proposed the implementation of a system of study that would improve system power prediction by about three times compared to studies done before theirs. They, like the aforementioned National Catholic Educational Association, did their studies while considering high schools in three categories: religious private high schools, nonreligious private high schools, and public high schools. Having made these modifications, they found out that nonreligious schools have a significant superiority to the religious schools in as far as science and mathematics subjects are concerned (Figlio and Stone, 2011).
There exists a debate about the benefits (if any at all) that private schools bring to the American schooling system. Those who criticize the private schools say that parents decide to opt for them being driven by the desire to appear socially elite or simply to separate themselves. It is the collective points of view of these critics that parents do not necessarily choose private schools because of better academic performance. They contend that these parents are hell-bent on keeping their children separate and untainted from those who come from other races and backgrounds. Furthermore, they say that for these parents, their children’s attending private schools is an attractive status symbol. The critical punch line they put forward is that private schools propagate segregation by class and race (Education Week, 2004).
On the other hand, there exist proponents for private education. In support of the system, they say that the monopoly extant with many public schools is not competitive. They add that a competitive system that opens up the opportunity for people to choose the schools to which they shall take their children is required. To support this point, they say that private school students are superior academies to their public school counterparts. They contend that schools need to be autonomous, and such a system would promote this autonomy; also adding that due to autonomy, student performance would improve. The proponents say that there is bias in the private school system. They propose an opening up of the system by the introduction of children from low-income families and those whose affiliate groups are underrepresented. This would mean that a means of supporting these students’ education be established. They, therefore, propose the use of vouchers as well as school choice programs (Education Week, 2004).
The proposal regarding the use of vouchers and increased school choice was given a counter-offer by the group called Americans United. On their website, they gave several reasons why people ought not to support this emerging trend. Among the reasons was the fact that the First Amendment gave a guarantee of freedom of religion from state influences. That is, they invoke the unending debate of the separation of church and state. They contended that this law would be broken when Americans agreed to support the issuance of vouchers for schooling. Citing the fact that a majority of private schools have religious affiliations and that these institutions have the mandate to indoctrinate the students and to educate them as well, the Americans United felt that Americans would be inadvertently supporting religion against their free wills. Americans would be paying for their children to be indoctrinated with religious dogma with which they did not agree (Americans United, 2011).
Ostensibly, the issuance of the voucher would be a tad more acceptable if it appreciably led to an improvement in the academic performance of students in their academics. That not being the case, however, the Americans United group is vehemently opposed to the idea. They contended that students in public schools performed much better in mathematics and reading than students in private schools. Furthermore, they would have expected the program to cause several changes in the students who participated in it. For example, participants were expected to have positive aspirations concerning their schooling in the future and to improve in the frequency with which they did their homework. However, the program never did bring such changes. On the contrary, student participants’ likelihood of absenteeism from class increased significantly (Americans United, 2011).
The report by the NCES never detailed graduation statistics for the year 2009-2010. Instead, it had data for the previous year. Whereas the reason for missing this data remains unknown, the NCES reported that of the twelfth graders who were enrolled in October 2008, ninety-eight percent graduated in 2009 (NCES, 2011). That was a very high success rate for graduates in private schools, which would have been taken as indicative of the quality of education that private institutions have to offer. Furthermore, 64% of the high school graduates from private schools later enrolled in 4-year colleges. This was representative of 308,813 high school graduates, who enrolled by the fall of the same year as they did graduate (NCES, 2011).
Using multiple sources of data, Heckman and LaFontaine made estimations of trends of graduation rates in the United States high schools. They noted that previous calculations were rife with biases and corrections had to be made for their study to be acceptable. Eventually, they found out that the rates provided by the National Centre for Educational Statistics were substantially high and thus misleading. They also found out that for forty-odd years, there had been a decline in the rate of graduation. Furthermore, they observed that even though the number of immigrants and minorities was on the increase in American society, this was not the cause of declining high school graduation rates among native populations. Therefore, they were able to explain why college attendance was also on the decline. Findings concerning gender differences in graduation from high schools were also useful in deciphering the reasons behind the gaps extant in male-female college attendance, and why those gaps were gradually increasing (Heckman and LaFontaine, 2011). These findings were not specifically for high school graduates from private high schools, but a traversal of all high schools regardless of their administrative leanings. In an appeal to the part being a representative of the whole, one would comfortably suggest that these findings could be transmuted to the private school population with similar implications.
The sizes of private schools might affect the effective transmission of knowledge and its receptivity among students. Here, the paper explores what other people have said regarding this, and the recommendations that they put forth towards improving the education system in the United States. Taken from an economic perspective, larger school sizes are better than smaller ones because of economies of scale benefits realized in the former. According to Ferris and Leung though, this is a consensus that requires revision because the benefits accrued from one side are outweighed by the disadvantages from other fronts. They cite the fact that more and more students are growing frustrated by the system, and coupled with the escalation of violence in the same schools, the drop-out rates are also on the rise (Leung and Ferris, 2008).
Since class sizes in most private schools are small, the student to teacher ratio critical for individual attention is easily achieved. This ratio stands at 15:1, but smaller ratios are more advantageous both to the teachers and students alike. With smaller ratios, teachers have fewer students to deal with and can divide their time well among the few students demanding their attention. Each student benefits by having more time spent with the teacher. Therefore, each student in a private school classroom has the opportunity to be personally aided by the teacher when the need calls for it (Kennedy, 2011).
A Summary of Some of the Benefits of Private School System
According to the United States Department of education, when private school students and their public school counterparts are compared, the former generally outperform the latter on standardized achievement tests. Also, for the former to graduate, they pass through requirements that are more demanding than for their counterparts. Completion of advanced-level courses is more likely for private school graduates than for their public school counterparts when they take three academic subject areas. National Assessment of Educational Progress results showed that private student scores were above average nationally. Experts recommend students to take up challenging subjects that push them into striving for excellence. Private schools make provisions for this by making it a requirement for students to take difficult courses like calculus before they graduate. When it was assessed who between the two was more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree by their mid-twenties, those who had gone to private schools in their eighth grade scored 52% compared to 26% for the public school attendees (CAPE, 2011b).
Depending on a school’s financial resources, compensation for private school teachers might be higher than that for public school teachers. On the whole, however, they are usually comparably lower. The teachers usually benefit from getting free housing and meals as opposed to the public school teachers who do not get such benefits. Also, teachers in private schools have widely variable pension schemes. They are required by private schools to be credentialed. That is, a teacher has to have a teaching certificate backed with a degree in the relevant subject. Armed with these two documents, a teacher stands a greater chance of being hired than one who does not have them. However, concerning budgetary costs, public schools stand a better chance of raising significantly large amounts of money. They do so by making annual appeals, cultivating alumni, and soliciting grants from corporations. Private schools nurture strong bonds with their alumni. Therefore, they also have high rates of fund-raising success. They also have a management structure that is considered to be lean. This means that a critical decision does not have to pass through several authorities to get approval. Rarely, if ever, will a private school have to contend with a union of teachers (Kennedy, 2011).
Some observed discrepancies to the generalizations regarding private school superiority
Rothstein, Carnoy, and Benveniste filed a report regarding the accountability of private schools to students’ parents, the outcomes parents expected of their children, and policies for retention and selection of teachers. They found out that in elementary school accountability to students’ parents does not differ significantly from the same in public schools. There was also no clearly defined school outcome expectation in private schools, and that was in no way different from the situation in public schools. Neither type of school did mentor teachers nor evaluate them formally to assess variation in their performance and delivery of instruction. They also found that where there was a competition between private and public schools, innovations by private schools never made their competitor public schools improve in any way whatsoever. Therefore, they made a point to the proponents for choice in public education, that to improve academic achievement, choice of public versus private institutions held very little weight (Benveniste, Carnoy and Rothste, 1999).
Private schooling also has its disadvantages. Some things are not implicitly taught in private schools. For example, a graduate from a private school would find it difficult to strike a conversation with any other person, who is essentially different from them. Unless it was a fellow graduate who came from the same institution, or a school with a similar status, building meaningful rapport would not be easy. Indoctrination also occurs in private schools albeit of a different kind than the commonplace religious dogma inculcation. That indoctrination goes a long way to assure students of private schools that they are better than those who never succeeded in attending similar schools.
The latter is seen as inferior people who are not even worth spending time with. The effect of this influence upon the indoctrinated was made evident in the Democratic presidential nominee, Al Gore, who could not speak to the populace. Thus, such students remain ignorant of some facts like there being other smart people apart from those who attend similar schools to theirs. They remain unaware that some highly adept people never see the inside of classrooms. Also, they realize rather belatedly that some of the so-called smart people are not smart at all. School is lacking in the instruction on social intelligence, the ability to be creative, and it does not teach emotional intelligence (Deresiewicz, 2008). Deresiewicz does not, however, give the way through which one may be educated in these latter aspects, pertinent through the acquisition of this knowledge might be.
The private school system achieves the creation of analytically biased minds, thereby developing lopsided intelligence that may not be entirely beneficial in seeing and appreciating the value inherent in other people. Such people are more adept at dealing with machines or analyzing books than interacting with other members of the human race. The system of private schooling essentially alienates one from that which is human in the sense that it creates a block to interpersonal interactions that are every bit human. Besides, a person develops a misguided sense of how worthy they are to receive certain rights and privileges. The unbearable truth in all of this is the fact that all through the life of a student who has been in private school, they have been graded using numerical rankings. Such students end up equating their grades to their identity and value. Absolute excellence, they forget, does not imply academic excellence or vice versa (Deresiewicz, 2008).
Whether it is a private school or a public school, one would contend that both have a common disadvantage. This is about the type of interaction a school-going child is exposed to. They can only interact with their age-mates while in school. Bigger children invariably bully the smaller ones, who in turn do the same to yet smaller ones. Among these children, none appreciates how to interact with grownups. The fear that is inculcated into them by the bullies they meet in school becomes the same fear that they show towards their parents back at home. Fear is a monster that feeds upon itself, however. Therefore, the fear engenders a reciprocal propensity for abuse from parents who do not know better. It is not a seldom occurrence to find children who’ve been abused by otherwise well-meaning parents.
The vicious cycle started with their being taken to school, which alienated them from their parents. They then picked up bits and pieces of strange behavior from their peers, which they came home with, much to the chagrin of their unprepared parents. Thus, there is a growing concern that home-schooling would be the only best option for a growing child (Oeser, 2011). Furthermore, time taken out to quietly reflect on one’s own is an alien concept to school-going students, who are more inclined to be rowdy, loud, and disorderly. Also, since they learn to pass their examinations, school-goers eventually lack long-standing applicable knowledge. Most of what they learn is quickly forgotten with the passing of the examination. Their understanding of concepts is not adequate as the knowledge they have does not correlate well with real-life issues.
American Education in Public Schools: A Brief History
A majority of people in the United States who come from low-income backgrounds take their children to public schools. Currently, the parents whose children attend private schools are rather similar in characteristics. For one, they are from affluent backgrounds. The fact that school fees charges in private schools are high shields this elitist group of people from other influences. However, if the restrictive costs of financing education in private schools were to be revised downwards, up to 59% of parents would opt for private education. This would be aided by vouchers which would, ideally, be catering for the whole tuition fees. Besides, parents with low income show greater enthusiasm for private school enrolment, but money continues to be their major hurdle. It is opined that there would be a greater diversity of parents and the group would inevitably be larger if the price of private education were reduced (Education Week, 2004).
For some people, the public education system is the ideal system of instruction. However, it faces a lot of criticism, and many times it has had to be revised so that it may continue playing a pivotal role in the shaping of public opinion regarding solidarity with the government. Having developed in the nineteenth century, its inception was the result of a suggestion by the then President Jefferson. Public school education is under the management of states and school districts. Whereas education in the United States began with puritans and Congregationalists, a purely Christian group of people, the introduction of the public school system came much later. With the coming of people from different countries, there was a foreign influence upon the natives. The entrant people did not all embrace the Christian faith, they have been of different inclinations. For this reason, private education began and thrived in the mid-eighteenth century (Thattai, 2011).
Disadvantages of Public Schools
In public schools, teachers generally get better remuneration. However, starter salaries are usually very low. This leads to very few teachers being retained in the public sector. Too much bureaucracy in the public sector implies that decisions take very long to be made even when those decisions are critical. Public schools are usually bogged down with political influences and union contracts. The rules that they adhere to while at work are also antique (Kennedy, 2011). Some courses are considered to be more challenging than others. It is less likely for a student in a public school to be required to take such courses as calculus before they graduate (CAPE, 2011b). This has the effect of developing an individual who shall not strive to excel in real life. It also relegates such an individual to a life of relative ease or one that is not well equipped to face challenges. Such an individual ends up having difficulties solving personal problems. Suicidal tendencies and drug-related escape mechanisms are rife among these people who will under most circumstances seek the easiest way out of any rut. The ways that appear easy, however, are illusions and present the individuals with a false sense of comfort or repose from the hardships they experience.
Of Co-Educational Schools versus Single-Sex Schools
Both private and public schools can be regarded as single-sex institutions or co-educational. In the latter case, a school trains students of both sexes, while in the former the school is exclusively for girls or boys. A debate continues regarding whether the genders should be separated in the school set-up. Those who oppose the idea are the conservative types who feel that there is the looseness of morals that comes into play when members of the two genders are nearby for extended periods. For the feminists, a separation of the sexes is the ideal environment for women to achieve success in life. Historically, it has been normal to separate girls and boys, giving them unequal status to each other based on their acquired societal roles in later life. Literacy was, therefore, more prevalent among males than among females. The former was trained in subjects that would be relevant in their workplaces, politics, and war. Girls, on the other hand, were trained on how to be better performers in the home arena. Thus, the inception of co-education was a threat to the widely accepted status quo, where men were regarded in higher esteem than women (Rury, 2008).
Controversies in the Adoption of Coeducation
In 2006, Title IX regulations of the US department of education were amended. This allowed single-sex school enrolment, but with reservations. It contended that the enrolments ought o be voluntary. Also, an equal school for the opposite gender should have been present or catered for. While endeavoring to convert to single-sex institutions, some schools have been met with challenges like meager finances and political pressures. Enrolment in such schools has also been a problem for some of the administrators (Rury, 2008).
It would have been thrift for the United States to have learned a thing or two from her European contemporaries. Europe’s experience with coeducation has been anything but rosy. They have documented disadvantages that they have observed against female students in such schools. They state that contrary to their expectation that coeducation would bring about a keen appreciation of either gender by the other, the opposite remains true. Girls have invariably been the sufferers while boys (and teachers) have been the perpetrators of a myriad of atrocities. In a literal sense, girls lack adequate space in these schools. They are the objects of boys’ desires, and often battered with lewd suggestive remarks. Male teachers also tend to get romantically attached to girl students. Girls do not get as much appropriate attention from teachers as the boys do, and they are also taken as social workers to be strategically seated next to ill-mannered boys. This is done to cause the boys to learn some good manners from the better-behaved girls. The missing point in all this is that the bad behavior of the boys seated next to the girls might (and does) rub off on the girls, whose behavior will then be all the worse (Anon., 2004).
In coeducational institutions, inequity exists in the meting out of punishments for wrongdoing. Girls get punished more severely than boys even when their misdeeds are essential of similar magnitude. It is understood, in a discriminatory manner, that girls are more diligent than boys, but that boys are more intelligent than girls. Therefore, when a girl performs well in class, it is attributed to her diligence, while if a boy does the same, it is said that he passed or excelled because he is intelligent. Boys are encouraged to be competitive while girls are frowned upon if they act similarly. The latter is expected to conform. They are also given less time for verbal expression than boys are given in class (Anon., 2004).
Other issues that have arisen through the years after the introduction of coeducational institutions include the argument by some doctors that women would suffer from overexertion and get harmed. It was argued that the overexertion would come from the girls’ competition with boys. Indulgence in sexual impropriety was also pointed out as being highly likely when the two sexes were left to interact for extended periods (Rury, 2008).
Outcomes of education that are of most interests to parents and students include academic achievement test scores, an appropriately delineated concept of self, and long-term success indicators. These are more evident in single-sex schools than in coeducational schools, and they give leverage for the proponents for single-sex schools. In comparison, single-sex schools perform academically better than coeducational schools.
Current Trends of Education in the United States
In the late twentieth century, there arose a drive for the reformation of elementary education in the United States. Its purpose was to indiscriminately improve the academic performance of students. Children were left accountable to the schools, districts, and ultimately the states for their academic achievement. However, concerns have been raised that the United States students perform relatively poorly in their academics compared to students of other countries. They blame this on an educational system that they deem not to be enabling the students to perform as it should be. Elementary education in the United States is constantly being reformed and refined. The United States is democratizing its education so that it does not support systems that are representations of goals and expectations, and are industrial or social. It is drawn toward an education system that is open and universal (Howey and Post, 2011).
When students perform poorly, the education system is seen as being a failure. It thus behooves the government to ensure that a running system strikes the right balance. One that places a lot of demands on the students is sure to cause them to perform poorly. A very lax system, on the other hand, will produce individuals who are ill-equipped for their roles in society. Thus, the government has put in place measures to ensure that all children have equal access to quality education. These measures include the creation of a welcoming environment, which embodies the prevention of bullying and harassment, and the outlining of the responsibilities that education providers have towards this goal. The onus rests on education providers to ensure that harassment does not occur. Such harassment might be from the education providers themselves, or other sources. Education providers should take the measures necessary to remedy harassment when they know that students are being harassed. Otherwise, they (education providers) face imminent sanctions, since their laxity (or presumed indifference) allows the education system to be poisoned. Harassment is seen as one of the impediments to the ease of access to educational services. When one is harassed, they may not “participate fully in the educational experience” (OHRC, 2011).
An education provider helps reduce instances of bullying and harassment by being non-tolerant to the act of bullying and being unequivocal about the consequences a student has to face for being a bully. The educator further communicates this by educating students concerning disabilities; he or she then encourages them to appreciate diversity. Appreciating diversity will imply that the students do not taunt their peers who may be disabled in one way or another. They will respect their disabled peers, and even protect them from further harm if necessary. The education provider may also get involved in role-playing to cultivate compassion and awareness of the impact that bullying has on other people. They may act like the ones upon whose taunts are being thrown or being big, act as the bullies. In either case, the students will see the folly behind bullying as a front. Bullies are essentially weak people who hide their weaknesses by attacking others. Finally, the educator protects students who report bullying by maintaining confidence regarding their report (OHRC, 2011). The educator does not let other students know the one who reports instances of bullying to the authorities.
The Role of Universities in the United States Education System
There was a decline in American education as was documented in 1983 by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. This brought about a change that saw the inception of standardized testing and accountability (Heckman & LaFontaine, 2011). A 2001 Act called the No Child Left Behind Act sets out requirements for each state to identify low-performing schools. Another of its requirements is for the annual assessment of students in reading and mathematics. Declining standards in the secondary school level of education imply that very few students get enrolled in universities around the country. America boasts of the largest number of institutions of higher learning throughout the world, but if these institutions cannot enroll Native Americans due to mediocre performance in their secondary schools, one is left to marvel at what the future holds for university education within the country.
Scientific research in universities thrives on funding from various sources. Research is important to the advancement of knowledge since it creates new perspectives to what is already known. Much of what results from research can be applied in areas such as pharmaceuticals for the production of new drugs. The current trend tends towards genetic science, which has brought about a lot of controversies. When universities lack students to carry out research then there is a paucity of funds from donors who fund the research projects. This brings a complication to the universities, which rely much on donor funding. The case of Berkeley and Novartis appears to have been instigated by such a state of affairs as has been described above. Berkeley signed an agreement with Novartis in November 1998 and rescinded about one-third of its patent rights to Novartis in exchange for a $25 million grant towards research (Washburn, 2005). The said company had vested interests in the outcome of the research and, thus, was in a way investing in it. That movie had a lot of ethical connotations.
Another issue that was highlighted in Washburn’s book is the notion that universities have gradually been shifting from their academic role to institutions that run businesses. This is a pithy subject since the university ought to be an institution of higher learning and not drawn into the rigmarole of generating income. Universities ought to set the pace for industry to follow, by making breakthroughs in research projects that will enhance the human experience of living within the planet earth. That notwithstanding, universities have become embroiled in the shaping of individuals to prepare them for employment within the industries. One may contend that they are responding to the dire needs of the economy by providing the market with the best brains the country has to offer. However, the country appears to stand no gain, especially when such patents as were aforementioned are left in the hands of foreign companies (Washburn, 2005).
A reversal of roles is readily observable in that the industry now makes the demands and the universities dance to her tune. For example, when the industry demands chemical analysts, the universities respond by giving their analysts to the industries. Due to the lack of employment in the country, an analyst who finishes their course at university and immediately finds a source of income sees herself as being very fortunate. This, however, results in a dilution of the high standards of excellence that are expected of all public institutions of higher learning. Universities need to maintain an autonomous stance that is neither swayed by the government nor by the industry as these two entities seek to push their agenda (Washburn, 2005). On one side is an entity with political ideals while on the other is one that seeks financial gains. Both the government and the industrial entities stand in opposition to the universities’ values of serving the common good of all humankind.
The involvement of outside forces in university affairs has made even students forget their primary agenda at having joined the universities. Like Reynolds in the Washburn (2005) book, many a scientist ends up being a politician due to these disruptions in the curriculum. If even the students should get derailed from their “calling” in such a manner, in all probability, the future of the universities is painted in bleak colors. It is necessary to redefine the role of the university and give the students clear guidelines as to the parts they ought to play therein. Not only are grades falling within secondary schools, but also those who end up in university, having attempted and succeeded at a difficult feat, may get disillusioned at what they find.
Hirsch (2006) appears to have the answer to one of the woes so far when he says that students have to read and comprehend. Any student can read, given the time to do so. But their understanding of what they have read is the most crucial part of their acquisition of knowledge. Comprehension is the difficult bone that students need to chew while at school to enable them to sit their examinations and pass with flying colors. Since they are not taught to comprehend, it follows that their performance in class also suffers. They are not even prepared within their extant grades for the grades which they shall be facing in the future. Hirsch says that a broad range of knowledge is required for students to be able to comprehend what they read (Hirsch, 2006). One may question at this point from whence that a “broad range of knowledge” shall be obtained.
Hitherto, it has been observed the diverse challenges that the American child faces as he or she pursues an education. The challenges start right from kindergarten through to university. The American child is also exposed to a lot of information that buffets them from all types of sources: the internet, television, radio, movies et cetera. These sources of information together with the students’ own experiences (however few and apart those experiences might be) ought to be sufficient to give the background knowledge that Hirsch craves for them. If these sources are not enough to give the American child the vast knowledge that Hirsch talks about, then it remains an enigma where else the knowledge shall come from. The school has synthesized the knowledge for the students to acquire, not in its raw form, but in a form that has been more purified; akin to the sugar that one gets on the table compared to the sugar from the cane.
According to Hirsch (2006), knowledge is all around us, but it is taken for granted. In essence, he says that even the modern student has a lot to learn from his or her surroundings. As they walk along the streets, go sightseeing or listen to music on the radio, all these areas hold a bit of knowledge here and a bit there that may stand the observer in good stead when they are faced with the problem of comprehending written material in class. It may be added that comprehension is context-dependent but knowledge garnered from one source can be transmuted to an application that is far much different than its source. Therefore, as students learn to be more in touch with their environments, they shall be better equipped to face the future challenges that they are bound to meet. They shall be able, when in university, to stand for what they know is right, disallowing the interference of other institutions whose missions stand at variance with the mission of the academia.
Reforms in education in the United States are bound to be a collective effort involving, not only the government but also all other stakeholders. America was founded as a nation on solid Christian principles, and these guiding principles worked well for the founding generation as well as the few generations that stood by them thereafter. The encumbrances that America faces are as a result of her generosity toward all nations. These nations have brought with them influences that have diluted the American spirit of democracy and freedom; for even the freedom that the founding father fought for has been misinterpreted. It is time that America went back to her first principles; for there lays the answer to most of the problems she faces nowadays. Democracy per se is a boon that the American people can never take for granted. Nevertheless, it only speaks of good things that have not been counterbalanced by the “bad”. A bit of non-democratization may be required to create the critical balance that America requires. The government needs to step up its authority to ensure that things happen in the correct way that they should, but that ought to be done with discretion as there still is an extant law that governs the land. It is a law that the people have put forth by themselves, and it is in the power of the people to repeal the same and come up with better laws.
The breaches in the education system in America are not irreparable. Since the United States has shined in glory in the past, she still can do the same but only if the people are willing to rise together and make that dream a reality. Right from elementary school to the university level, students have the latent ability to excel, for America does have the mental capacity to read and understand books. She is well endowed with comprehensive skills.
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Education System in America Report
Introduction, structure of the american education system, effects on the economy, challenges of the education system, works cited.
Education is the passing on of knowledge, skills, and information from teachers to students. In this way, the students develop academically and become sociable with people. The American education system is unlike that in many other countries. The governance system is a federal one, the one which values local governance. This means that there is no countrywide curriculum existing in the United States.
The state and local government are primarily responsible for education. The States profoundly control what teachers teach at schools and pinpoint the requirements a student must meet at the end of any curriculum. Apart from the property taxes, the States directly provide funds to the public schools. This means that courses, subjects they learn, the age of students for compulsory education and other issues always vary depending on where the school is built and located (Kevin).
Public education in America is available universally. There are a number of private schools too. Every local school district controls its public schools. Boards usually run district schools. The local community elects the board members. Otherwise, it becomes the duty of the local government.
The education system in America is classified into elementary education, secondary education and postsecondary education (college or university). District schools encompass Elementary, Middle and Secondary school levels. Currently, elementary schools comprise pupils in kindergarten and grades 1-5.
In many states, children attend kindergarten starting from the age of five. It is towards the end of August that the American school year starts or the day after Labor Day in September. Grades 6-8 learn in middle schools while grades 9-12 are the students who are finishing schools to become students at high educational establishments. However, pupils’ age in these grades may not be the same in all states (Kevin).
High school (secondary) education is demanding in America. Students take a range of courses in such subject as English, science, mathematics, and social sciences. They may also select music, art, or theatre courses and include a foreign language or physical education as a requirement. “Many high schools also offer vocational training courses”. High school level “charter schools” have been recently on the increase in America.
Charter schools are free public schools that specialize in maintaining stiff competition during the enrollment process. Nowadays, there are charter schools in 40 states and the Columbia District with more than 15% of U.S. secondary pupils. Public schools may fall under several sub-schools including home schooling, parochial schools, military academies, private boarding and day schools (Kevin).
In America, education is mandatory for students until the age of sixteen according to laws of different states . “In 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 89% of people ages 18 to 24 were high school graduates” (Kevin). Most graduates from high school are at the age of eighteen or seventeen years.
To achieve the award of high school diploma, students have to pass with at least three credits per course. There is no final examination like in many other countries. Only with a high school diploma, students can enroll in postsecondary education (Kevin “np”).
On graduation from high school, pupils are then ready for university or college education. It includes several primary choices ranging from vocational colleges or institutes, Community Colleges, Liberal Arts Colleges or undergraduate programs. At the university, there are bachelor’s degrees and master’s degree programs. The selection criterion for undergraduate entries varies from one university to another, and depends on various aspects of student’s life, not mere grades.
Students select courses from different disciplines before they settle down on their main field of study. Again, for every course, credit hours are given based on the time a student was present in class. As is the case, most courses last for only one semester. By the time they have graduated, pupils have a wide knowledge for their job application. Moreover, students end up being independent, responsible citizens who are ready to serve their nation (“National Center for Education Statistics”).
The higher education system in the country explored above has had its effects on the economy of America. Apart from creating young responsible professionals, the system has also led to the creation of an elite class over the last thirty years. Such classes create a sharp socio-economic division.
The growth of the top and bottom strata separately has seen the collapse of a single inherent social institution. As a result, universities at the top are different from those in the bottom in regard to their values, missions, teaching personnel and even the funding process (William).
The citizens’ strong belief in the validity of world’s ranking schemes has earned universities their brand names in the past two decades. Parents thus take their kids to the best-ranked institutions as they think that they will come out with better degrees than the other students from other universities.
Such institutions become prestige not taking into consideration the way the academic process is conducted. A reaction from the founder of the education conservancy, Lloyd Thacker was advised to university presidents to boycott such surveys. (Robert).
There are still other challenges that degrade the education system in America. Among them are high school-drop-out rates and drug abuse, among many others. There has been an increasing rate of college fees (Robert).
The schools are addressing these problems in different ways according to their areas of residence. To serve immigrants who speak little or no English at all, some states have employed more teachers for whom English is the second language. Research centers have sprout up in many states.
This serves to replenish the dwindling academic standards. Improved technology especially in the twentieth century has eased the learning process to a great deal. The internet, for instance, has helped teachers to communicate with students in a timely manner and effectively, as well as provide alternative reading materials (William).
In conclusion, it must be emphasized that the education system in America has stood the taste of time. The reshaping of the curriculum by the United States has built a robust and steady system. The number of college graduates has increased, and educational attainment improved tremendously. Students have ended up focusing on gaining skills but not simply begging for high grades. The “No Child Left Behind Act” has boosted school funding substantially.
Other Acts whose relentless efforts have helped the physically challenged and the disadvantaged attain their goals include “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” and “Elementary and Secondary Education Act” respectively. However, some issues affecting education remain unresolved up to date; among them are curriculum issues, funding issues and currently the inflation toll that are affecting the economy of America (Reed 1B).
Kevin McCrea “American Education System.” Huffingtonpost.com , 12 Oct. 2012. Web.
National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2006. “Number of U.S. Colleges and Universities and Degrees Awarded 2005.” Infoplease.com. 14 Apr. 2010. Web.
Reed, Matt. “Brevard cannot count on charters”, Florida Today . 2011, p. 1B. Print.
Robert Freeman, “Is Public Education Working? How Would We Know?” Commondreams.org . 3 Jan. 2005. Web.
William J. Bennett, “20 Troubling Facts about American Education.” Heartlander.org . 1 October 1999. Web.
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American Education System Essay
The American Education System Education
American Education System Education plays important role in society. It determines the final development of an adult’s personality. In today’s society most jobs require a University degree. To receive a University degree students need to rely on a good education system. Does America provide this? The American education system has relied on the grade point average system for a long time. The problem with this is there is not a universal GPA grade point system varying from course to course. This creates
American Education System Of Education
difficult to understand the American system of education and the how to cope with American students. To make foreign students understand and able to cope with the American higher education system, the author explains some assumption that is behind the education system. He noted that American higher education system has a connection with both the mechanical feature and the cultural beliefs, but not intellectual only as it is in many countries. People lacking knowledge of American culture may find it difficult
American Education System
public education system benefiting in helping students succeed or is it taking part in students lacking crucial information? In “The Problem with American Education” Zastrow Marvin C. states that “our country grew and flourished as it developed the most extensive, the most elaborate, and the most expensive educational system the world has ever known” (233). There are other systems around the world that maybe more effective, use a smaller budget, and are less time consuming. Students in American schools
The American Education System
An education is an extremely vital part of anyone’s life, and a fundamental right. By law, the United States is required to provide an equal opportunity of education for all. Unfortunately, what they have to provide is mediocre at best. There are many problems and implications involving the American education system, causing it to be one of the most pressing issues that the United States is facing. The performance rate of schools in the United States compared to those in other countries speaks for
The American education system is set up to create a clear division between the social classes. The quality of the education that children receive depends on whether they attend an elite school or urban schools. Elite schools are located in upper class neighborhoods. Students who attend elite schools receive high quality education. Demographically, the majority of students who attend elite schools are Caucasian. This does not necessarily have much to do with the skill level of the students who apply
There was a time when America’s education system was top-notch according to the culture and society. With time, a myriad of things has changed, but unfortunately what has not evolved is the American education system. The country is still following a system which was not designed for the current global economic climate. Equality, as positive as it sounds is not as sufficient when it comes to education. The system treats students equally yet expect a similar culmination and outcome. Every child has
most kid now a day are going to public schools. Americans public education system is flawed and it needs to be fix for America to become a more successful country. There are a few different ways to go about improving Americas education system one of the ways is to get rid of standardized test across the nation. The seconded way to help fix the education system is Having better teachers that are more willing to teach can help fix the education system. Public schools are constantly closing and overcrowded
the education system flaw to many students over the years? The education system in the United States has problems over the years because it has some flaws of helping students to succeed. Students who attend community college or university will have issues that will cost them to be in debt or could not complete it. The system tried many ways to bring students accomplish their degree, but the problem is that students face issues that will affect their goal of reaching their degree. The system has changed
is faced and comprehended, American citizens are forced to understand their country has drastically changed over the span of the last few years. America is no longer the economically stable force it once was, it no longer the government with a clear advantage over all other countries in world politics, and it is certainly no longer the a place where children can be securely given the best form of education in the world. It is because of
most American adults still see it in such a way as that of the past. However, The American education system takes money into account in modern day U.S.A. rather than the the varying degrees and types of intelligence that can be brought out in people. The modern day American education system focuses near completely on money. “On average, aggregate measures of per-pupil spending are positively associated with improved or higher student outcomes.”(Baker, B. “Does Money Matter In Education? Second
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Role of Education in The United States
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- University of Chicago, Johanna Z Figure Eights There were eight gumdrops in my pocket. I counted them again just to be sure. Standing outside the classroom, I so badly wanted to burst inside and dolly out candy as I pronounced them all my friends. Instead of open arms, across the door I found a different world in a different country. There were eight years and eight months of my life that passed before I boarded the Air Canada flight that took me across the Pacific Ocean. In those years, I never struggled with my identity. I attended the same extracurriculars late into the night, just like all of my friends. I looked homogenous, just like every other person in the bustling city of Beijing. I dog-eared my copy of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, just like the rest of the country. But an ocean away, I struggled with everything. There were eight girls in my class who did not look like a classic Barbie doll. I was the only one with broken English. Eyes full of curiosity turned to confusion as I introduced myself. The other children did not understand why I was not like them; why I dressed oddly, why I looked different, why I read my introduction off of a neon green cue card. There were eight days before I broke down in front of my mother. “Why don’t they like me? Is it because I’m Chinese and not Canadian?” I whispered in the stairwell leading to our apartment. The floors smelled like mothballs and soggy soybeans, but at that moment I would have given anything to sink right into them, never to resurface. There were eight flights of stairs before we reached our humble home. My mother held my hand every step of the way, her warm and calloused fingers wrapped around my small and trembling ones. “Let’s go skating” she proposed. I jumped at the idea, because to me being Canadian meant maple syrup ran through your veins and ice under your feet. I wanted so badly to be seen as a true Canadian, gliding flawlessly; yet my first attempt earned me bruised knees and a facial in the snow. There were eight more miscellaneous failed attempts at cracking the Canadian code until I saw that being Canadian is a mindset. It is not acting for the sake of fitting in; it is bringing smiles to people’s faces through your volunteering, it is standing up for your beliefs and protecting others who are vulnerable, it is celebrating your differences and knowing you are valuable. There were eight tricks I eventually learned on my skates; not with the purpose of proving my Canadianness, but rather because I enjoyed the freedom skating gave me. My favourite is drawing figure eights with my blades, because it signified infinity and strength. It meant that my identity is ever evolving and I am strong enough to face all the challenges that come my way. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture. I was plagued by it. When I first came to Canada, I tried to banish everything that made me look different, forsaking the number entirely. But, as I grew, I saw that the colour of your hair and the accent with which you speak are all superficial features – easily changed without meaning. It is the heart and the values you keep close to it that constitutes your identity. As for me, my ethnicity and my affinity for eights are a defining factor of who I am. I am Chinese and I am Canadian. Every single identity I come across becomes ingrained deep inside me, making me the best I could be. Given the chance, I believe that the values I obtained from being multifaceted can one day be translated to creating happiness in others.
- Yale University, George H Realization: I can choose not to let the uncontrollable circumstances affect me From the moment I decided to partake in the 2016 San Marino International Piano Competition, I knew that another exhilarating journey was ahead of me. Having played piano since the age of five, I had had countless impactful experiences, but none of them were as transformative as the San Marino Piano Competition. With determination and love for music, I traveled to Italy, excited about the unknown. As the youngest competitor, I was quite nervous, but I had to trust in all the preparation I had done. I practiced for more than 8 hours a day prior to the Competition and played three solo recitals in order to master my repertoire. I polished my pieces by enrolling in a piano summer school, a few masterclasses and taking as many lessons as I possibly could with my teacher. I meticulously studied composers and historical periods in order to develop a holistic understanding of my pieces. With only days until the competition, trusting myself was the only thing left to do. My name was called. I went on stage, bowed, and sat down at the piano. Under the bright, almost disturbing, stage light, I was able to hear my thumping heartbeat in the silence. I calmed down and told myself, “You do not want to impress. You want to convey. Be truthful to who you are”. When the last note of my performance faded away, I felt relieved, but also emotionally fulfilled that I had played from my soul. After the performance, an elderly couple, smiling, congratulated me on my performance. The man said that he had felt like he was on a musical roller coaster ride with me. Knowing that I connected with people through my music was indescribably moving. The couple’s kind words made me feel pure joy. During the announcement of the results that revealed the contestants advancing to the next round, I did not hear my name. I returned to my hotel room and burst into tears. Had all my hard work gone to waste? When I had a clear mind, I reflected on my experience. I had done my absolute best throughout the whole process. Moreover, I had stayed true to myself on stage – I had not played in a pretentious way to please anyone. I asked myself, “How did I go from being so proud of my performance and its impact on others to being discouraged?” Recalling the satisfaction I felt prior to the results led to a new realization. I had the choice to not let the uncontrollable circumstances affect me. As a competitor, I did all the things that were in my control, which were to work hard and be myself. Musically, this meant to practice the pianistic techniques and use the instrument to naturally express myself with respect to the composer’s intentions. Knowing that I had fully invested myself in the preparation of the competition and that my performance had reached people’s hearts, I should have been satisfied regardless of the outcome. In retrospect, my goal should have been to reach my own expectations of artistry expansion instead of to pass to the next round. Partaking in the competition was not about achieving external validation, but about giving myself an opportunity to push my artistic limits. If I live on other people’s judgements, then I will never be satisfied. I learned to stay true to the essence of music, which is all about sharing and communicating ideas and feelings. I learned to prioritize how my music makes me and others feel over the judge’s valuable, but subjective opinions. Since the competition, I have gained a clearer idea of the many implications of being a professional musician, specifically the mindset with which I should perform, perceive public feedback, and accept and overcome unpredictable obstacles that come my way.
A Political Oversight
Laying on the couch, hot tears flowed down my face and onto the fabric of the cushion. Thinking it couldn’t be true, I brought myself to look at the glowing phone screen again, only for nothing to have changed. Hillary Clinton had seen defeat in the general election, a revelation too crushing for me to process. Adding fuel to the fire was my consumption of a string of highly-sensationalized articles and self-commissioned videos attesting to Madam Clinton’s apodictic qualification for the presidency, and how her defeat symbolized the end of goodness in America’s heart.
Three years have passed, and I admit that the reaction was unwarranted. I had not done enough research to support such a staunch stance, and was just being too dramatic for my own good. However, what remained was my fixation with American politics. I found it amazing how on that day, the theatrics of an election were able to move me to tears. It fascinated me that something simple in theory was actually a giant, highly-complex machine designed to appeal to a person’s every sense. As I continued to spectate in the years that followed, I picked up on every detail I saw on a campaign trail. Whether that was a candidate’s makeup, vocal delivery of an argument, or cash on hand, I made note of it all, and what it meant for their campaign. I loved it so much, and could discuss it for hours with anyone who’d listen.
With all of my observations in mind, I began to embrace being a frontrunner in my own life. After all, I spent hours at malls, trying hard to replicate celebrity outfits on a middle-class teenager’s budget. I rehearsed with my school’s improv drama team as one of the boldest speakers, unafraid to speak my mind. I’d been recognized as a financial whiz, able to conquer any fiscal matters. Appreciating myself as someone that could be daring enough to conquer a national election had triggered not only a desire for a small victory, but also an overall sense of ambition that I own today. As the presidential bids launched earlier this year, student council elections at my own school began. I was set on becoming the next treasurer, and pulled out every stop to do so.
The process was seemingly straightforward, an interview with a teacher and some members of the council. Yet, the simplicity of it appealed to me as a blank canvas to paint myself beautifully on. No one would anticipate my brand-new Calvin Klein outfit, meticulously-rehearsed answers, or extensive experience in finance. Before I could book the inauguration, however, I made a fatal error. When asked about what I’d do if I lost, I spoke about my focus on the future, and how I wouldn’t let the loss hinder the pursuit of my goals. I even quoted Lady Gaga’s Oscar acceptance speech! I thought it to be a respectable answer, one heard at a rally in any city.
Seven years old, the traditional melodies set the atmosphere at a reunion with my family and relatives for the festivities of the Lunar New Year.
Nine years old, the music of British folk tunes bond my friendship with students from diverse backgrounds in London, England, as we dance, celebrating the Queen’s 84th birthday.
Eleven years old, the songs of worship resonate in my junior high school’s gym in California during Chapel as we engage in an assembly infused with spirituality.
Thirteen years old, the glissando on my harp strings adds an ornamental, yet vital, component to the Spakwus Slolem (Squamish language for Eagle Song Dancers) that connects our ensemble with the Squamish First Nation.
These memories are special to me in a way they evoke a sense of human connection and cultural consideration through auditory perception; generating an intimate feeling is my fundamental aspiration. The ambition of creating depth in my music drives continual self-reflection to find a purpose in my music-making. It becomes clear to me that people are attracted to respond to shared identities, such as melodies from their culture. Perhaps the musical discrepancy between different listeners cannot be absolutely reconciled, yet the audience at my concerts is able to reach the lyrical harmony of cultural melodies that comes with solidarity.
“And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” Distinctive voices end on the last word in unison as I roll the last chord on my harp; the song concludes in standing ovation with singing and clapping along from the 50-member audience at the senior recreation center. Filled with exhilaration, I felt a strong sense of engagement and unity from my audience members at this community concert. Flushed with delight, the eyes of each individual reflect sparks of enjoyment at this cherished moment.
“Thank you!” Dorothy, a resident of Scottish descent in her 80s, holds my hands effusively. This is not the first time I have seen Dorothy; having performed harp at this center previously, I remember seeing Dorothy every time; yet, our interaction was always brief. However, this afternoon, Dorothy walks up to me, gushing with words.
“My ancestors immigrated from Scotland to Canada two generations ago, and I’ve never been to my homeland. My dear, at this age, I don’t have the energy, nor the ability to physically go to Scotland.” Dorothy continues as she stares into my eyes with a trace of regret. “But hearing you play Auld Lang Syne reminds me of my childhood, as if I were traveling back to Scotland with my family. Thank you!” Dorothy pours her heart out to me as the cultural nuances of the melody float in the atmosphere, refusing to disperse.
Ultimately, I hope to share music through personal connections, reaching beyond the technical or aesthetic aspects. Playing “Auld Lang Syne” sparks my realization that empathy in music is a common thread that ties humanity together, appreciating our own lives. Indeed, it’s my greatest pleasure to bring happiness to those around me through simple, yet meaningful moments. I treasure every chance to communicate personally, always embracing the opportunity to form intimate bonds with people in my life, utilizing my gift of music and empathy. As my concerts embrace multiculturalism, pertaining to interconnectedness, I have become aware that this form of communication transcends words. I seek to find means of communication, not only through musical performances, but also through shared experiences and folk anecdotes. With community concerts, I hope to inspire those around me like Dorothy, to find meaning in their lives, recognizing music as the common language among humanity, an invitation to form deeper connections.
Growing up in Quebec, I always found it difficult to reconcile my historical heritage with my current reality. On the one hand, my grandfather has always expressed his painful memories of the unsuccessful 1995 referendum for the independence of the province and his strong desire to preserve the culture of the francophone minority. I thus realized how privileged I was to be able, unlike him, to learn and speak French without facing discrimination. On the other hand, my mother kept instilling in me that French represented a handicap in today’s world, and that English was crucial in order to achieve success in life. These two divergent realities could at least agree on one point: I had to rally to a camp, either I strongly identified as a Quebecer, or rather as a Canadian. But the truth was, I did not want to.
Torn between these opposing perceptions, I could not help but believe there was something beautiful about being able to live on the bridge of two different cultures. This feeling grew stronger as I got the chance to explore beyond my community. I remember the sense of surprise I felt going on a school trip to Europe and discovering how similar Londoners’ values and manners were to mine. Matters as simple as apologizing profusely for accidentally colliding with someone on the street were seemingly common to both cultures. Furthermore, it felt odd how easy it was for me to feel at home in Paris while being 3000 miles away from my hometown. Certainly, because we shared the language of Molière, but more than that, we shared a common culture of artists, authors and composers.
Connecting with people from across Canada while attending a convention in our capital Ottawa made me realize how being able to express myself in both of my official languages was a powerful tool. In fact, speaking French was not a handicap, it was a strength allowing me to access an array of opportunities. Indeed, while some people required translation devices to understand the different speakers, or needed someone from another province to translate their speech because it was mandatory for us to express ourselves in both French and English, I was able to take full advantage of the experience in itself. I shared my ideas and viewpoints with everyone and focused on the knowledge I was acquiring, not limiting myself to one language. Furthermore, it was not a question of choosing a side, but rather of realizing how diversity opens doors for us to connect with a variety of people. This experience opened my eyes to the world in its complexity, and I learned to appreciate it.
I believe that my struggle for a solid identity mirrors today’s global reality. Even if many people in my province would love to see Quebec independent from Canada, I remain convinced that division is not an appropriate answer to difference. Whether it be here, in Montreal, or around the world, I sincerely believe that embracing uniqueness amid diversity is a strength. Having experienced it, I know collaboration between populations with various cultures and languages is crucial in terms of making our complex world peaceful, which makes me want to take part in building strong international relations. Furthermore, I chose to pursue my studies in English, specifically in the United States, because I believe this experience will allow me to acquire an enriched education in the language of global connection, while also giving me the opportunity to form connections with people from across the globe which is vital to me with regard to my understanding of international relations, where diversity is a major aspect. But I will always do this with my heritage in mind, because it is in this unique context that I have learned to truly value diversity and communication, which motivates me to want to become an active contributor in establishing and strengthening international collaboration.
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Essay on the American Public-School System
Education to the public is an essential element to society and a flourishing democracy of a given country. In the United States, education in public schools started taking place in the 17 th century. It was by the first settlers who stepped on the United States soil. In today’s setting, the American public school system is more complex with tiered forms of government and many diversified programs to address the diversifying needs of students. It’s essential to understand the definition, structures, purpose, policies, and operation of public schools in the United States. The understanding helps create a broader picture of what public education is about in the country and how it looks. Public schools are referred to as primary or secondary schools, which are available and can be accessed by everyone in the country. The schools are run, controlled, and regulated by the government’s authority. The government also influences attendance, and funding is by the government mainly through taxes. The funding money is usually allocated through ministries or departments designed to oversee the proper functioning of the public school system.
In the United States, the public school system has a basis on three tiers form of governance entitled to oversee the running of general education. They include the federals, the states, and the local levels. At the top level of the federal government (Diperna et al., 12). The education system has been overseen by the education secretary in the Department of Education. Where the president appoints the minister, the department creates policies and laws involving the education sector in the United States. In the state, there are education agencies that play a vital role in governing public schools. The elected school board runs individual school districts at the local level in most instances. They also offer their insight into public education as well (Jackson 6). There are approximately 15,000 districts schools that are operational in the US. However, alternative schools such as charter and magnet schools allow parents to take their children to school outside their immediate neighborhoods school. Many districts school usually have open enrollments that will enable parents to choose the best public schools for their children depending on their specific needs.
According to staff works in the United States during the 20007-2008 academic year, approximately 49 million taught in schools. The approximate number of teachers was about 3 million in both primary and secondary schools in the whole country (Morris 10). The average amount of funding per student was about $9,600. However, there was a significant variation in the number between state and districts school. The majority of the financing of these schools is from property taxes, and it is possible to determine the amount each school will receive depending on the location. The district’s schools also receive funding from state and federal sources.
The Education System Set-Up
The compulsory entry age to education in the United States varies according to a different state. The period is between 5 and 7 years, while the age of 6 is the most common in many forms. The compulsory age at which education is completed varies between 16 and 18, but the most common age is 16. School in the US does not end until 18 or upon completion of 12 years (Fuller et al., 10). Those that leave school after completing the compulsory years without earning a higher diploma do not get any certificate of recognition. These students are regarded as high or secondary schools drop out hence not honored. Some students may graduate one year earlier or later, depending on when they enroll in their education. For student talented in education, they can graduate earlier simply because they skipped some classes. Students who are not gifted may delay finishing because they might have forced to repeat courses. The school years in the United States are usually referred to as grades.
Each state in the US usually determines what kind of grade range will constitute the primary school education known as elementary education. Depending on the length of the elementary education, it may be followed by some years of middle school education. The number of middle school education is mostly three years. Secondary education occurs in grade 7 to grade 12 but depends on laws and policies established by the state or the local district school. Any national laws do not govern the educational system in the US. All rules are made and enacted by all states (50) together with 14,000 schools located in local districts. They formulate policies and follow and enforce them to; oversee the public education system (Synder et al., 70). Graduation has been set in all schools at state and local districts for students who complete the 12 th grade. This type of graduation upon completion of secondary school education has referred to as a higher diploma. The diploma usually carries cover names and some rewards for various curriculum and standards set. There are honors, college preparatory, and general high school diplomas. To achieve the available track, they must meet the minimum state course requirements and other graduation requirements (Kreisman et al., 11). Vocational and academic or honors require the student to complete an extra set of different curricula to achieve.
High school now and before set up for college
Many districts allow students to enroll in an advanced placement program on the college governance board. The program enables the student to enroll in college-level introductory courses where qualified lectures teach them. After three years examinations are offered in every approach taken, and student who qualifies have given university awarding. Currently, there are about 35 types of this program in use, and more are has planned. Another number of students have been offered the International Baccalaureate (AB), an optional award (Liu 14). To achieve this track, they must study an additional semester beyond the required 12 years—individual students’ programs and content in every grade or the diploma and online degree. They are usually contained in a record known as a transcript. These are the official documents of proof of education, and they include the school seal and signature from the academic registrar.
High school education in the US has two levels, junior high school, and senior high school. The middle schools contain grades seven and grade 8; sometimes, they may contain grades 5, 6, and 9 depending on the state. Upon arriving in junior secondary, students enroll in class schedules to take eight classes from different teachers. The classes are most set to four core academic classes or five if there is a foreign language. These four classes include language, mathematics, science, and option between history and social studies. In some schools, foreign languages have taken place. Students who complete junior high school enroll for high school. Students in high school are from grade 8, 9, or 10 up to grade 12. The majorities of high schools in the united school are comprehensive and accept all students from their local areas regardless of their track.
Rules of Getting into Big Schools like the Ivy League
Many students in the United States dream of attending any of the colleges in the Ivy League to undertake their undergraduate education. Which they regard to be the most elite league. There are eight kinds of these colleges in the US, and achieving student enrollment has been very difficult. Princeton University ranked first position in this diamond league. The rate of student admission into Ivy College declined by approximately 8% in 2020. Students who apply early in the Ivy College are usually admitted than students who regularly use (Nikolsaka 2). Students with early applications have more competitive advantages than students who have applied lately. The pools of early applications that are selected tend to have a proportion of higher talent. However, it does not include any automatic advantage in selection. Each ivy college usually has early applications for interested candidates and encourages selected candidates to attend if they are chosen. However, some colleges in this league, like Harvard University, encourage students to apply to other colleges if admitted early.
Most of the colleges in the Ivy League provided information to the US news regarding their early acceptance rates; this rate was shorter than the regular accepted rate. For example, the student who had applied earlier for Columbia University was more by three times than who had applied lately. According to the university admission website, the difference was due to confident students who are well qualified used earlier. Applying students must have high test scores or good grades to land a spot at any college found in the Ivy League. In 2020 the early acceptance rate provided by Ivy League colleges supplied to the US news was approximately 18% (Landers 10). The rate for universities that are not in Ivy League is approximate 55%. Every college in Ivy League provides information to the US news regarding the performance of SAT scores for their freshmen except for Columbia.
The Stress and Work of Getting to these Schools
Every student who wishes to apply for college in this league should understand that admission criteria have based on academic performance, like test scores and other important factors. The decisions focus on a critical analysis of both qualitative and quantitative factors (Ornsten 335). Some elements like recommendation letters from former institutions, extra curriculum activities that students are involved in, and application essays have consideration when making admission decisions. Additionally, the Ivy Colleges look for students from remote areas, those with less presented ethnic backgrounds, who grew up in a low social, economic environment, and extreme special needs. Because the Ivy Schools usually look for what they don’t have. They aim to look for minority groups who have previously have overlooked in the current world setting.
To maintain good touch with alumni, Ivy Colleges Schools prefers to admit a student who has close connections with the schools. They select students with family connections to school compared to students with similar qualifications but have no ant attachments (Aydin et al., 76). Ivy Colleges consider the gender balance of the applicant and strive to ensure that no gender dominates the other. As a result, the applicant’s gender can affect their pick in the schools, especially if their preferred field has notable gender skew. An outsider finds it difficult to note these priorities, and they may feel that the whole system has collapsed. According to experts, an applicant with an excellent performance record has a great set of talents and won much competition finds a better priority of admission to the Ivy School League. Ivy schools usually have high competitors for seats, and a student who completes every optional component in the application demonstrates high interest in the school. Applicants who wish to gain admission to this school are encouraged that there is nothing optional. They should fill in all the optional requirements, either essays or interviews. Successful students in the application usually have enough reasons for how excellent the college is, even what those colleges don’t know.
Ivy League Colleges are challenging to reach for many students, even those with good grades and justifiable test scores. Experts have warned students from putting great hope in them. Students who have performed brilliantly in their high school levels may benefit more by overlooking these colleges. They should focus more on other selective colleges that may match their interests. Many other high-rated colleges are not in the Ivy College, but they exhibit outstanding features. Students can enroll in these colleges and live happily and get excellent performance in their education and end up in very successful careers even better than students of Ivy College.
College Life and how to Maintain the Balance of Life and School
For students to perform better, they have to optimize their role in suitable ways-it is crucial for students to find a balance in their role in daily life. Students usually wear a hat of different functions such as; partner, student, family, worker, and schoolmate. Times for these are often in conflict, and students should adopt proper strategies to attend all of them (Herman 22). Students should have a school-life balance to achieve excellent academic results. Usually, students mostly give education priority compared to personal factors like exercise and leisure. This action may reduce performance level as the body’s fitness and good health are not considered. Also, the nature of one relationship can impact performance. Too much focus on education can as well impact personal relationships reducing support. Also, paying more attention to personal relationships can deteriorate one academic performance. The student should look for measures so that they can have a balanced school-life relationship.
Students succeeding in their academics means focusing more on studies; most of what is achieved on graduation does not come from class but from student research. Other activities like attachments, internships, fieldwork, conferences, etc., also contribute to excellent performance. These all activities require extra time other than class time to achieve them. Factors that will enable students to sacrifice a lot of time are; self-motivation, good time management, prioritization, and good self-discipline. Good time management is essential for academic success and requires various skills that enable students to have better concentration;
- Good schedule plan by the student
- Make a weekly list of things to do
- Good work prioritization
- Ability to break a large number of tasks into small ones that can be handled easily
- Estimating goals to be achieved within a specific timeline
- Trying to avoid being perfect
- Accessing the time wasted and making recovery plans
Students should be aware of too much stress that makes them not focus on what needs to be done. Students who have less stress are usually motivated to study and complete their projects on time. When stress becomes too much in such a way, it surpasses motivation student experiences stress overload. Students who have stress overload have anxiety and panic attacks (Rawal 12). These students often feel pressured, lessened, and hurried by life activities, making them more irritable and moody. Stress overload has physical symptoms like stomach aches, headaches, or even body pains. Students with stress should carry activities to relieve stress like exercise, recreation, laughing, increasing vitamin D, positive self-talk, believing they can handle it, talking to friends, seeking help, etc.
In addition, students should strive to achieve high goals other than perfectionism; perfectionism makes students have thoughts and behaviors that aim to reach unrealistic goals. These self-defeating thoughts are perceived to a certain standard level of excellence triggered by one need for approval. The student should strive to achieve what they can through;
The setting standard that is high but is realistic to achieve
Enjoying the whole process of study not only the outcomes
By monitoring their positive and negative thoughts
Taking mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning
Reacting positively to constructive feedback
Maintaining a good healthy lifestyle
Ability to manage the conflicting demands from work, family school
Impact of Essay and the Message to the Public.
The importance of public education is regarded as one of the most critical things in the education system today. At first, public schools in the United States were formed to express democracy, and it’s still the greatest example even today. Education is incorporated to ensure all persons participate in democracy by providing the majority of the people contribute to the system. Citizens require having core knowledge and skills that will make them active and productive to the democracy in a social setting. For this process to be successful, members of the society should have a good education system giving birth to the public school system (Damron 9). The education system in the United States provides for free access to education for all its citizens. The department of education in the United States offers equal opportunities to education even to persons living with disabilities. The federal law in the US requires students with both physical and mental issues to receive appropriate instruction in line with their specific needs. The same case applies to students of all races and gender regarding their income status. The US does not restrict citizens from obtaining public education that can make them successful in their lives.
Students and University; bad and good Changes to the Public School System
At the university level, the first stage is the associate degree, then the bachelor’s degree, followed by an advanced certificate and first professional degree. In the United States, the first degree to achieve after completing high school is an associate degree designed to take two years or more. Holders of this award can apply for bachelor’s degree programs but cannot directly apply to advanced certificates.
Some of the best changes introduced to the public education system include; provisions of tutors to students who usually perform below average to boost performance (Harashchenko et al., 1). It should take place through national programs, fellowships, volunteers, etc. Another measure is offering free meals, i.e., breakfast and lunch, to students, disregarding their income level. Also, allowing the student to combine college education with technical training in various workplace settings. It makes them incorporate all the learned skills in the classroom. Finally, the reduction of class hours from nine to less than seven best fits parents’ needs.
The bad assumption introduced in the public school system is that people with higher education usually enjoy high social class, great power, prestige, and a higher income level. It has made many people strive to achieve higher education levels disregarding other important things that could make them successful. When such persons fail to achieve the targeted groups, they become frustrated with life and engage in awful acts to counter frustrations. Another issue is the high drop rate of school by minority students. It can be attributed to an increase in tuition fees for public schools.
The United States education system is formed based on a complex structure to accommodate various student needs. Education is governed by three levels; federal, state, and district level. The set-up of the education system is from elementary education to junior level secondary, after the junior class to high school level from where students qualify to study in higher institutions. There are also some set rules for the student to be eligible for Ivy College schools. These rules are accompanied by a lot of work and stress towards achieving the requirements. Students should also have better measures to maintain between life and school. A good balance between life and school ensures a successful life. Public education has great importance to citizens as they learn the role of education in democracy. Another important thing is that public education has taken both positive and negative changes since its introduction.
Aydin, Hasan, Burhan Ozfidan, and Douglas Carothers. “Meeting the challenges of curriculum and instruction in school settings in the United States.” Journal of Social Studies Education Research 8.3 (2017): 76-92.
Damron, Aryssa. “The Path to the Ivy League Leads Straight through the Public Library.” Hope and a Future: Perspectives on the Impact that Librarians and Libraries Have on our World. Emerald Publishing Limited, 2021.
DiPerna, Paul, and Michael Shaw. “2018 Schooling in America: Public Opinion on K-12 Education, Parent and Teacher Experiences, Accountability, and School Choice.” EdChoice (2018).
Fuller, J., Rachel Lipson, and Jo Encinas. “Working to Learn: Despite a growing set of innovators, America struggles to connect education and career.” (2021).
Harashchenko, Larysa, et al. “Models of corporate education in the United States of America.” Journal of Entrepreneurship Education 22.3 (2019): 1-6.
Herman, Katya M., and Richard Larouche. “Active commuting to work or school: Associations with subjective well-being and work-life balance.” Journal of Transport & Health 22 (2021): 101118.
Jackson, Samantha N. “Standardizing America: Why it Should Be a Method of the Past.” OUR Journal: ODU Undergraduate Research Journal 8.1 (2021): 6.
Kreisman, Daniel, and Kevin Stange. “Vocational and career tech education in American high schools: The value of depth over breadth.” Education Finance and Policy 15.1 (2020): 11-44.
Landers, Kerry H. “POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FOR FIRST-GENERATION AND LOW-INCOME STUDENTS IN THE IVY LEAGUE.” (2019).
Liu, Changming. “Research on the Educational Mechanism of Donation Culture and Architectural Culture in American Ivy League School.” (2018).
Morris, Robin A. “Running heading: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA AND AMERICA.” Fuller, J., Rachel Lipson, and Jo Encinas. ”
Nikolska, Nina. “SECONDARY EDUCATION IN THE USA: THE RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSES OF LEGISLATION.” Studies in Comparative Education 2 (2020).
Ornstein, Allan. “Wealth, legacy and college admission.” Society 56.4 (2019): 335-339.
Rawal, Debyani Mukherjee. “Work-life balance among female school teachers [k-12] delivering online curriculum in Noida [India] during COVID: Empirical study.” Management in Education (2021): 0892020621994303.
Snyder, Thomas D., Cristobal De Brey, and Sally A. Dillow. “Digest of Education Statistics 2017, NCES 2018-070.” National Center for Education Statistics (2019).
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