Education is the key to success. The present generation is measured by the furthest one can go in the education ladder. Without reaching O-levels then one is described as illiterate. Society views education as the basic institution to a bright future. Literacy levels in the US have reached high levels of 98% for the population above 15 years of age. This paper critically examines the American education system, and answers questions that need critical answers on the social impacts of introducing home schooling for students in primary and secondary school.
The American education system
The American education system has requirements for every pupil to go through a 12 years period in primary and secondary before attaining the college or university level. The education system is governed by the public sector and is funded by the federal, state, and local community. Education is compulsory for the united state children. The primary level is known as elementary while the secondary is known as the high school, and in both these levels, the curricula, funding, teaching and the general policies of the school are determined by a locally elected school board within a school district (Lipman, 2003 p.12).
The state government sets the standards of education and testing in every district. There is compulsory education in the province which is grouped into three levels; the elementary school, junior high school, and high school separated by grades with the twelfth grade being the last and final year in the high school level.
Most Americans enroll in school at the age of five years with kindergarten being the first entry point; the second year is described as the first year of primary school and is the first grade. Grading in the US has two different meanings; it is seen as the examination or course score achievement or the year of study the student is in either in elementary, junior school, or high school. The primary school students go through a five year period (first five grades of education) in order to join secondary.
The secondary school has a total of seven grades; the sixth to eighth is referred to as junior school while the ninth to twelfth is known as the high school. The students attain the high school diploma once they are through with the high school teachings. The curricular pass marks of the states are determined by the state education board and the general subjects are science, mathematics, English, social science, and physical education (Althen, Doran, & Szmania, 2003 p.31).
Some states include a health course that is compulsory and it ranges from state to state. Some require anatomy; others nutrition, first aid, sexuality while others prefer birth control. The students are also required to choose from a range of elective courses which include; junior reserves officers, foreign languages, athletics, performing arts, visual arts, technology education, computer studies, and publishing. The education of children with disabilities and other special needs is also considered. Any child with disability also known as special need has a right to free and appropriate public education.
After high school graduation, the students are free to proceed with education at higher levels of education like colleges and universities. Others opt for employment due to lack of fees for the higher education. Those who are not financially able may have access to education loans from their respective states. There is also presence of state sponsorships for students with best performance. The university or college level involves career development as one studies subjects of choice.
Impacts of the system
Many education systems in the world enable the students to attain just simple knowledge of what one is especially at the early stages of life. The presence of many courses in the American system enables the students to keep discovering what one can do best and the talents. Education has been involved with the technical development of a society. The best innovators are the educated and the specialists in various fields keep inventing many things (Tyack, 1974 p.45). The education system in the elementary, junior high school and high school requires students to sit in class and learn all the subjects. This gives first hand touch of teacher student experience who explains the difficult parts of the syllabus to the student. The students in the college and university have other options of distant and online learning where learning is not school based but individual studies.
The impacts of making elementary school home schooling would be a mix between good and bad. The impacts might severely affect students in future. Firstly if elementary is home based then the children social interactions will be reduced since while at school the environment is filled with different children of different race, religion, and backgrounds. The child is able to make friends from all this backgrounds hence the nation can be able to fight discriminations in future (Klinge, 1974 p.23).
The student also gets to be exposed and is offered an opportunity to learn from others as in that the people around may be talented in a different field and the student is able to discover many fields and integrate his talents with other students. The effect of teacher student relation is unlimited; many teachers are trained in psychology and have the ability to detect when the students are depressed or stressed and therefore intervene before the problem affects the social life of the children. The teacher can be the best mentor for the student hence home schooling may have adverse negative effects.
School based training gives the student a changed environment from the usual relaxing atmosphere where the student is accustomed to and moves to a more serious atmosphere that enables the student concentrate on learning. The school based environment also provides several co-curricular activities that the student can be involved in hence exposing his talent in a more stable atmosphere.
The positive impact of home based schooling is the limitation of likelihood to experience peer influence from fellow school mates on indulging to bad habits e.g. drugs. The unavailability of these kinds of interference will allow the student to concentrate on studies. The bullying effects witnessed in schools will die since the children are mostly indoors. This program can also work well for students with special needs since they will specifically be cared for without interruption from other healthy students. Moreover, the separation will also enhance the tutors to cater for the interests of the healthy students who could otherwise have been overlooked as students with special need were to be given priority.
However, this program may not work well for the child’s social life as there will be less interaction with peers, less extracurricular activities and less opportunity for gaining general knowledge which can not be effectively provided by books or the trainer.
The American education system works well in many instances and have been praised for it reduction of illiteracy in the US. The system although commercialized it has succeeded in fulfilling its purpose of preparing the student for the future life. The society is better enlightened and others have ended up in formal jobs and others found their dreams and future in sports which they discover during schooling. The teachers have also been involved in the development of the confidence of many children. The education system can only be explained with one word “success”. Though it has its loopholes and shortcomings the achievement of creating a better literate America for everyone is close to being achieved. A perfect system is had to achieve but a working system that can be able to prepare students for their future is essential and the American system is a perfect example.