Family Education

A look at the type of schools in the U.S.

John Andrew Estialbo
Staff Writer

Ursula F. Stancill
Staff Editor
Fuzion Health Group

Education in the U.S. is effected by many factors, shaping it into a diverse system. Some are derivative from their counterparts and some are inherent rivalries. There are currently more than 120,000 schools across the country. Naturally the best school for your children is contingent to their interests, personality, and skill set. Take considerable time before choosing one.

Traditional Public or Private?

Public schools are free, fending for itself through federal and local taxes. The government’s investment per student is around $10,000. Its pedagogy, or method of teaching, is steadfast, consistent, and competitive. Nearly all of the 97,000 public schools in the country require a license to teach, assuring that social and educational values are upheld. Public schools also offer more vocational courses than other educational institutions, such as private schools. The main problem among public schools is that they can be extremely overcrowded. Private schools are quite the contrary regarding this issue.

Private schools make focus and personal attention their top priorities. The ratio for most K-12 students in a private school is 1:12, and some, like Carc/Helen-Harris School in Chicago, Illinois, house no more than eight students per class. Private schools are also known for safeguarding their students from what may be perceived as jarring or else foul behavior, as well as drugs and violence. However, it has been said that this safeguarding can also be seen as a downfall of private schools, giving the students a false illusion of society. Private schools can be costly, some tuitions being as high or higher than a college education. On the plus side it cannot be denied that their demanding curriculum ensures that a minimum of 65% of privately schooled students will go on to college. Private school students are also predisposed to fare better in standardized tests than their public counterpart.

Charter and Magnet Schools

If you are looking for the benefits of a private school at the cost of a public school education a charter or magnet school could be the right fit. Charter schools are primary and secondary schools funded similarly as public schools but act as private schools in terms of academic amenability. Charter schools are usually found in urban areas, are open to any household financial situation, and are often more diverse than private schools.

Magnet schools are very similar to public schools, but their goal of putting together students of various backgrounds and being inclined to specialized curriculums have gained them attention and support. While these schools offer general subjects, they are more dedicated to a particular discipline, such as math, science and the performing arts. Columbia University Teachers College has spoken well of New York City as a ‘national model’ for their career magnet schools, with Stuyvesant High School and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts among the most preferred. These schools are very promising but very selective in their admission process.

Home School, Virtual School and IB Program

Homeschooling is prevalent in the mid to south Atlantic as well as Pacific states. Reasons for choosing to teach children at home can range from, academic to personal to just plain practical. There are a few options for home schooling. Correspondence schools offer a distance learning-based methodology as they supervise the progress of the student, now mostly done through the use of the Internet. Umbrella schools set the needed requirements for a curriculum and give the parents the option to choose the exact curriculum. This option is good for a parent that would rather choose exactly what their child would be studying as opposed to a schools strict curriculum. The option of homeschooling also bypasses the attendance requirement by being an independent school. Currently, more than two million children are being home schooled. According to Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland, homeschool parents tend to have higher income and 28% of them have a master’s degree, while almost 10% have a doctorate. A Wheaton College, Illinois study also found that homeschooled students achieved an average of 81 points higher than the national SATs from public schools. Home school graduates are also more likely to be ‘active’ in social activities.

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