absolwenci kończą edukacje

System szkolnictwa w USA

W kategorii kultura by Michał A. Nowakowski1 Comment

Zastanawiałeś się kiedyś czym tak naprawdę jest koledż? Czy w Ameryce nastolatkowie też piszą maturę? Dlaczego studia uważa się tam za tak istotne? Jeśli to Cię ciekawi, to przeczytaj poniższy artykuł opisujący system szkolnictwa w USA napisany przez osobę, która zna go z pierwszej ręki – panią dr Holly Myers Shorrock, która jest badaczem reżimów panujących w Afryce Północnej i na Bliskim Wschodzie. Tekst, jak przystało na native speakera, jest w całości po angielsku:


US Education System

In the United States, we very seldom learn about the education system in other countries, unless we work or study in a specialized field. As I completed the research for my master’s degree, I found that it would have been helpful to know how certain education systems work. Here is a brief overview of the system in the U.S., just in case you find that you are in a similar situation. To help you understand how education works in the U.S., this overview will introduce the different phases of the education system as well as the types of primary/secondary schools that are mentioned frequently in news or portrayed in movies and television.

Primary and secondary

The U.S. education system has four phases. The first phase consists of primary and secondary school, which lasts for 13 years or “grades”. The first year, kindergarten, is not mandatory in some of the 50 states. To complicate matters, this phase in the U.S. actually consists of three different levels – elementary school, middle school, and high school. High school is almost always grades 9 through 12, but the cutoff for the other levels varies by location. Children begin attending the first phase when they are around 5 or 6 years old and usually graduate from high school when they are 18.

This first phase of the education system can be completed in numerous ways. Sometimes, parents wish to teach their children themselves, which is called “homeschooling”. Other students might attend an online school. Some children attend online schools for health or behavioral reasons, but many students and their families pick this type of school because it allows more flexibility for children to pursue time-consuming interests such as sports, acting, or travel.

Online and traditional schools in this phase of the system can be public, private, magnet, or charter schools. A public school is a free school that receives its funding from the state and federal governments, unlike a private school which charges tuition. Public schools operate within a “school district” and are governed by boards local to that district. A magnet school is a type of public school that focuses on a specific type of program, such as the performing arts or sciences. A charter school, on the other hand, is a type of publicly-funded school that operates under an agreement with the local community. It often serves students from multiple school districts.

The U.S., unlike some countries, does not have a standardized test that determines what specific subject/program or type of school (such as university or technical school) the students are allowed to pursue after they graduate from high school. Instead, we have a standardized test, the SAT, that supposedly measures a student’s general ability to perform university-level coursework. Most universities require applicants to take this test in order to be accepted, although more and more universities are eliminating this requirement. Other universities may require applicants to take different standardized tests, such as the ACTs.

About 10% of people in the U.S. choose to earn an Associate’s degree. Many high schools have vocational training programs that offer an associate’s degree in addition to a high school diploma. Usually, though, this type of degree is earned at a community college. For some people, this is their terminal degree, and they do not move on through the next phase of the system.

College and beyond

The next phase of the US education system is university, which is often referred to in the U.S. as „college” and „undergrad”. This phase usually lasts four years, although students may take more or less time to earn a degree. After a student satisfactorily fulfills all of his or her program requirements, they are allowed to graduate, and they receive a bachelor’s degree (similar to a baccalaureate) – either in arts or sciences (B.A. or B.S.). Schools can be either traditional schools or online schools. Approximately 30% of US citizens have attained this type of degree.

The third phase of the U.S. education system is called graduate school, which is sometimes shortened to just „grad” school. (When people who want to be doctors or lawyers go to graduate school, it is called „medical school” or „law school” but it is still a type of graduate school. The third phase consists of the Master’s degree and the doctorate. The Master’s degree, which 8% of U.S. citizens hold, usually takes two years to complete, although many people go to school part-time, so it can take much longer to complete the degree. Students can earn the Master’s degree as a terminal degree. They can also earn the Master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate. Others earn it as they pursue the doctorate.

It should be noted that not everyone who earns a doctorate has a Master’s degree. The doctorate is the culmination of school, and someone with this type of degree is considered to be an expert. Most doctoral degrees are PhDs. Doctors and lawyers also earn doctoral degrees, but their degrees are differ from PhDs. PhDs usually take a minimum of 5 years to complete and involve heavy amounts of research. Only 3% of citizens have a PhD.

A fourth phase, the “postdoc”, exists. This phase occurs when PhDs undergo guided mentorship to gain additional skills/knowledge. This phase varies from position to position.

Final thoughts

Higher education is becoming increasingly available, thanks in large part to the flexibility that technology permits. Even though education is great for both the society at large and the individual, it does present some problems. Because more people are obtaining bachelor’s degrees, college is often treated as an almost mandatory continuation of high school. Often, people must take out loans to finance their higher education and jobs that had previously required only a high school education now require a bachelor’s degree. So, people graduate with a bachelor’s degree and high levels of debt that they cannot easily or quickly pay off while the poorest members of society – who may not be able to attend college at all – are further marginalized and disadvantaged, because a bachelor’s degree is frequently a job requirement, especially for jobs that pay a living wage. Although education is a wonderful thing, it is important to acknowledge that increased availability of education can also exacerbate problems in a society. Perhaps as the larger society becomes more educated, we will be able to fix the problems that we create.

Obrazek wyróżniający: dewfall ze strony photopin cc

Comments

  1. This is a very good overall synopsis of education in the U.S. The level of dissatisfaction with the educational system is very high. I actually am one of the 8% of Americans with a Master’s Degree and it is in Education with an emphasis on Social Studies. The biggest challenge that we are facing in higher education is student loans. I believe the figure for total student loan debt is now over 1 trillion dollars. To give you an idea of the expense, I graduated in 4 years with a Bachelor’s Degree without any debt. For my Master’s, it took 1.5 years to complete and I graduated with over $40,000 US dollars in debt. Perhaps it is my fault for picking a major that doesn’t pay well (and subsequently, I am not employed as a teacher as it is) but to start your career $40,000 in debt at the age of 25 should probably be considered clinically insane. A solution needs to be discovered and soon or there will be a college ‚bubble’ that will certainly burst.

    One of my own personal critiques of the educational system is that it tells you what to think instead of how to think. Also, there isn’t enough credit given to improvement. For instance, let’s say that a student receives an F on a huge test early in the school year. That F is probably going to affect all of his future grades. Now, let’s say on his next test, he gets a B. That’s a HUGE improvement, but not enough credit is given to him because that F will still hurt his average. However, we can see that this student has shown a great deal of resiliency and ability to bounce back. Maybe he had a really bad day on the test day that he received the F, who knows. His resiliency is such a stronger trait than anything he will remember about the War of 1812. The school will not spend much time evaluating and investigating why the student made the F or how our instruction could be changed or improved to help the student learn better, instead we basically blame the student and move on to the next lesson. If the whole idea of school is to have students learn things, then why do we need to rush through lessons just so it is „covered” when it is clear that the students have not learned anything when they graduate. It’s just a really odd system and I don’t feel that it is helping American students learn how things really are. I could honestly go on for days about the things that we SHOULD be teaching in school but I’ll leave it at this for now.

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