Choosing the perfect school with the great environment for your child is a torture, especially if there are about eight different types of institutions that can be offered in your country. We can only guess how parents manage to make the right decision with such a huge variety of institutions, but everything is possible. In today’s article we would like to talk about American schools and their nuances.
Which Options Do Children Have?
To begin with, the USA have two major types of schools – public schools and private schools. The beauty of private schools is that they have no tuition fees and that they are open not only for American citizens, but also for students from foreign families. Every single child can be enrolled to a US public school and won’t need to spend money on education. Sounds great. If your child studies in the local school, it may be comfortable for all of you because you won’t need to spend an hour driving to pick up you son or daughter after classes. It will be also much more comfortable for your child to work with his/her fellow students at different projects and assignments and they will have an opportunity to meet more often because their families will live in the same community.
What about private education? Private schools are a different category in the educational system of the USA. Although these schools have the same stages as public schools have, they are usually considered more prestigious and are designed for an easier transition from school to some college. Private schools are usually quite costly. All states have different private schools average tuitions fees. For instance, average tuition fees in Louisiana is $5,696, in Kansas $8,738, in New York $14,786, and in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts – over $20,000. Obviously, not every single family can afford to let their children study in private schools. However, this is what people pay for a long and rich history and an elite reputation of their institutions.
Other Types of American Schools
What other public schools exist in the USA? The first type we will discuss here is the charter school. These schools began to appear in the 1990s. Since they are public schools, they are free of charge too, are open for every single child, and do not have any specific admission requirement. The difference between regular public schools and charter schools is that the latter are independently run institutions started by teachers, parents, and for-profit organizations. The great thing about these schools is that they are very flexible. They meet the requirements of the curriculum of the states, but they are independent from authorities’ regulations and can specialize in some specific area, like music, arts, or technology. Due to the independence of these institutions, they can offer their students improved educational programs which will increase students’ performance and interest in studying.
Another type of public schools is a virtual school. Another term for these institutions is cyber-schools. This already looks more complicated. In fact, by this we mean that students mostly take classes online, through the Internet. The beauty of this learning is that students are able to take their time and study from any place where they have the Internet access. A lot of universities offer individual online courses that a student can take to get a credit. Online classes are getting especially popular with adults who take additional courses to upgrade their diplomas but do not have time to attend classes. The quality of the course is still high, but it helps save a lot of time.
The third type of public schools are magnet schools, whose purpose is to attract students from various economic, ethnic, and social background and to offer children a specific educational focus – in technology, engineering, math, etc. What is great about these schools is that children get enrolled not on the basis of their families’ residence, but on the basis of their interests. Magnet schools specialize in a number of various subjects, and every child can choose the school which is better for him/her. A proper school choice may become the biggest source of inspiration.
There are several schools that do not belong to the ‘public’ category. First of all, a separate niche in the USA education is filled by religious private schools. Most of them are affiliated with churches and other religious institutions. The majority of non-public schools in the USA are religious institutions.
Another option that America children have is homeschooling. It is usually parents or tutors who prepare all the necessary materials for children that study in the home setting. There are different requirements for home education in each state, and parents must be very careful with them. There are a few reasons why parents want to educate their children at home, and the biggest one is their dissatisfaction with the local school system. However, it is extremely challenging to be responsible for a child’s education, and parents have to spend a lot of time and energy on collecting and preparing the materials and on delivering these materials in a proper way. So, parents have to weigh all their strengths and weaknesses before they start to teach their kids themselves. They also have to understand that schools provide children with an opportunity to become a part of the bigger community, which is very important.