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Chapter 9: Education in the United States

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1 Chapter 9: Education in the United States
American Culture Chapter 9: Education in the United States

2 The Establishment of Public Schools in America: Tocqueville’s Observations
Equality of opportunity - everyone deserves an equal opportunity to get a good education Schools open to citzens of all classes Paid for by taxes “common schools”

3 The Establishment of Public Schools in America: Tocqueville’s Observations
Tocqueville at first thought universal education would be a danger to society However, he saw it to be in harmony with American customs Noted teaching of vocational skills American Public Schools expanded to include high schools, colleges and universities (undergraduate, graduate)

4 The Educational Ladder
Preschool (age 3-4) Kindergarten (age 5) Elementary School (6 years) Middle School (2 years) High School (4 years) Afterwards, most students go to college

5 The Educational Ladder
College diploma = Bachelor’s degree This may be followed by Professional studies – law, medicine Graduate studies – Masters, Ph.D There is only one public system, which is open to all

6 The Educational Ladder
About 10% of children attend private Elementary / High Schools Most are religious – give religious instruction May have higher academic standards Also, “elite” private schools for people who think they’re better than everyone else Wealthier regions have more money to spend on education

7 Attending an American University
All college students pay tuition Wealthier students have more choices Loans and scholarships help some students Most have to work while they study Cost US$ 15,000 – 39,000 per year May attend local community colleges Most Americans have had some college education ~3000 Colleges and Universities

8 The Monetary Value of Education
American value education for its ability to gain a high paying job Especially - law, medicine Most new jobs “require” a college education or are very low paying Many people can now attend college from a distance

9 Educating the Individual
Emphasis on “critical thinking skills” rather than “raw facts” Students are encouraged to ask questions, think for themselves, express opinions in class (American values) Development of social and interpersonal skills through “extra-curricular activities” Especially sports – winning spirit Student government - Leadership

10 Racial Equality and Education
Despite “equality of opportunity” African Americans have generally received inferior educations (see last week) Segregated schools were not legal after 1954 Public schools in inner cities were compsed predominantly of African americans – high crime rates, social disorder

11 Racial Equality and Education
Government has introduced many schemes to try to “mix” children from different areas Generally, these did not work Schools are becoming more segregated

12 Racial Equality and Education
“Affirmative action” to give opportunities to minorities Makes up for past discrimination Some people have seen this as reverse dicrimination, which is also against the constitution

13 The Increasing Responsibilities of Public Schools
American schools are often expected to be responsible for many aspects of students lives Many “single parent” children have problems at school New immigrants may have poor educational background Some inmmigrant children do not speak English There are limits on the schools’ abilities to handle these problems

14 The Standards Movement
Generally, American stiudents don’t perform as well in some subjects Standards may not be high enough The Governmant has set standards for curricula This means annual tests for students May change American ideals of education

15 Multicultural Education
Subjects taught in schools have changed as the population has changed E.g. Historical textbooks no longer focus on Anglo-Saxon perspective Now have festivals to celebrate cultural diversity Some think this may fragment American Society (many educations instead of one education)

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