Schooling is a guaranteed right for every child in the USA. All children are mandated to attend schools from pre-KG to High school (XIIth grade). Schools are demarcated into zones and districts, for administrative purposes. Students are expected to join schools that are in the vicinity of their homes, and these are zoned for them. No school can deny admission to the zoned student. Children of illegal immigrants are also allowed to join schooling. School provides breakfast and lunch Free for all students (the Food preparation and distribution is contracted out and it is generally felt by students and parents that the quality of the food is not very good). Transportation is also provided FREE, either through govt. contracted buses or by issuing FREE passes that allow students to commute to school. A marginally smaller proportion of students attend Private schools as they are expensive and unaffordable. Public Education in the USA has many disparities and variances. Public schooling in the big cities has a small proportion of high-quality performing schools (sometimes called Gifted schools/Magnet schools) and has a large proportion of schools that are underperforming. Charter schools are meant to give parents alternatives to choose from. However, Charter schools are unalike and are seen to have performing and non-performing schools. Most underperforming schools are those in the zones where Minority children live and those whose parents have low income. A big proportion of students have only one (single parent who is mostly the mother) as their parents are divorced or separated. Some children live with their grandmother. Children miss support and guidance from steady and committed parents. In these areas the children are prone to indiscipline and fighting. Teachers easily give up on such students and are content to teach those who attend class and are studious. There is high absenteeism and lack of enthusiasm for study. Boys are easily attracted to street activities and more girls are seen attending school than boys. Grades are Poor. Societal drugs and violence become part and parcel of a small section of the students, and they end up being removed from school and sometimes in jail. The option for these students is to take the GED Exam to pass High school. Passing High school is the only way students can join the Govt forces like the army, navy etc. and in jobs, as most employers prefer to have students who have passed High school (or GED exam). This creates the ground for disparities in society. Less than half of the students who attend school prefer to go to college. School and college enrollment had dropped during the Covid and subsequently as the students were confined to home and were being taught online. Unemployment is high for those who have a High school diploma. For those who get employed, the salary is generally minimum wages (approximately $15/hour in the big cities and less in smaller cities). Employment chances and salary is seen to improve for those who join College.
A Brief History of Education in the USA
Education as a Guaranteed Right
In the United States, education is a fundamental right for every child. The journey begins in pre-kindergarten (pre-KG) and continues through high school (XIIth grade). The education system is organized into zones and districts for administrative purposes, ensuring that students attend schools close to their homes. No school can deny admission to a student within its designated zone, including the children of illegal immigrants.
Nutritious Meals and Transportation Ed
To support students’ well-being, schools provide free breakfast and lunch for all students. Although the quality of the food is sometimes criticized, it ensures that students are nourished throughout the day. Additionally, transportation to school is offered for free, either through government-contracted buses or by issuing free passes for commuting students.
Public vs. Private Education
While public education is accessible to all, a smaller proportion of students attend private schools due to their cost. This creates a distinction in the educational landscape.
Disparities and Variances
Public education in the United States exhibits disparities and variances. Big cities have a mix of high-quality performing schools, often referred to as Gifted or Magnet schools, and underperforming ones. Charter schools aim to provide alternatives for parents but vary in performance. Underperforming schools are often located in areas where minority children live or where parents have low incomes. Students in such areas may face challenges related to family structure and support, leading to absenteeism and discipline issues.
The High School Challenge
High school graduation is crucial for students, as it opens doors to government forces like the army and navy, as well as job opportunities. Many employers prefer candidates who have passed high school or the GED exam, leading to disparities in society.
The College Pathway
Less than half of high school graduates choose to attend college. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school and college enrollment dropped as students transitioned to online learning. For those with only a high school diploma, unemployment rates are high, and salaries tend to be at or near minimum wage levels. On the other hand, those who pursue higher education often experience improved employment opportunities and salaries.
Education in the USA has evolved over the years, reflecting a commitment to providing accessible education while acknowledging the challenges and disparities that persist in the system.