Different types of American schools: how to get and how much it costs - ForumDaily
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Different types of American schools: how to get and how much it costs

In the US, parents have a choice of where to give a child to study: to a public free school, a fairly expensive private, to a so-called devotional, for which both parents and the state pay, or even leave the child to study at home. ForumDaily studied the pros and cons of each of the above options.

Public schools

School years in the United States begin at the age of five or six. It is at this age that children go to the so-called Kindergarden, or “K” (pronounced “kay”). This is already part of free compulsory school education - the so-called public schools. The duration of schooling is 12 years.

School education for children up to 16-18 years (depending on the state) is compulsory. It is usually divided into several levels: 6 years of elementary school, 3 of the year of high school, and 3 of the highest year, or high school. But there are options 5-3-4 of the year, old-fashioned 8-4 and 6-6 years. When choosing a school with a plan 8-4, the child spends the first eight years in elementary school, and then goes to a high school for four years. 6-6 means that after six years of primary school a child enters a mixed high school.

The plan that schools offer is directly dependent on the instructions of the city’s education department and the preferences of the government of each particular state. It is difficult for us to imagine this, but there is not a single law on education, not even a single school curriculum in the United States. The government of the country gave the reins of schooling to the states, each of which has an education department with its own idea of ​​schools. City departments of education are subordinate to him, which control public schools.

Фото: Depositphotos

School rating

An indicator of the quality of education in a public school is its rating: it ranges from 1 to 10. Accordingly, the higher, the better. A number of factors influence the rating of schools: the amount of funding (money for schools comes from the state budget and city property taxes), student performance, test success, etc. The rating of a school in your area can be found on special websites:




School ratings are so important that they even affect the cost of nearby houses. In areas with good schools it is always significantly higher. The fact is that in the vast majority of cases you cannot choose a public school. The child will go to school, which is assigned to the area of ​​residence. Because of this restriction, some lucky owners of the “correct” addresses even make an illegal business - they rent out addresses to unfortunates who are not in the area of ​​the desired school.

However, in large cities and small overpopulated areas, there are often not enough children in high-ranking schools for all living in the district, and then these places are played in the lottery. In case of loss, the child is sent to the school where there are free places.

Applications for participation in the lottery must be submitted long before the start of the school year - in January or February, sometimes even in September - a year after admission. Lottery results can also come at different times - both in March and in August, a few weeks before the start of the school year. The exact deadlines for submitting documents and receiving a response should be obtained from your local education department.

Фото: Depositphotos

What an immigrant needs

To arrange a child to school for an immigrant who arrived even in the middle of the school year, a minimum of documents are needed:

- vaccination card translated by the parent himself;

— confirmation of place of residence (water or internet bill, rental agreement, etc.).

That's all. Confirmation of the legality of the child’s stay in the country is not required - school education is available to everyone. For children who go straight to secondary or higher school, a list of subjects with the number of hours is also not needed.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are something between a public and private school, they also have their own ratingd. The state allocates money for each student, but the school also collects contributions from parents. They are voluntary - the amount can range from several tens to thousands of dollars. The result is a kind of learning by sharing.

As a rule, the teaching system in such schools differs from the standard one - it could be a Waldorf school or Montessori. There are currently more than 1200 employees in the United States charter schools, in which almost 600 thousands of children study.

Private schools

Private schools are another fairly popular type of school in the United States. Training in them, of course, is paid.

The average cost in the country is about $9,5 thousand. ranking of the most expensive private schools In the first positions are states such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut - where, on average, tuition costs more than $20 thousand per year. In California, on average, a private school costs $12,5 thousand, but in the heart of Silicon Valley - in the city of Palo Alto - a private school will cost $26 thousand. Litchfield County, Connecticut, the most expensive in the field of private school education, is also impressive, with an incredible $46 thousand per year But for residents of Nebraska or Wisconsin, a private school will cost only $3-4 thousand a year.

Public vs. private school

Elena Odintsova came with her two daughters from Moscow to Palo Alto two years ago. The eldest, Dasha, had just turned four and a half years old - it was time for Kindergarden. Actually, the choice when moving to Palo Alto fell precisely because of the schools. The right to get into a good local public school had to be won in a lottery, and Dasha won it. A school with a rating of 9, primary school graduates pass all tests perfectly, classes are well equipped, highly educated teachers, an art focus - in a word, a dream. However, after a few weeks, Elena realized that she expected more from a school with such a rating: “They don’t teach children self-discipline at all. In addition, a lot depends on the environment. And if all the children go to school unkempt and ragged, it’s difficult for my daughter to adhere to any dress code.”

In Dasha's class, one teacher accounted for 30 students. Children, in principle, not forced to engage. Parents of other students hired private teachers to teach their children to read and write. By the middle of the second grade, Elena decided to transfer the child from a public school to a private one.

However, Dasha was not accepted into one of the popular networks of private schools - after a year and a half at a public school, she could not pass the entrance test. Elena did not give up, and, in the end, found a nice private school in a neighboring town, where they agreed to help and provide, as part of the regular fee, a teacher who would help Dasha catch up with the program.

Elena says that since October there has been a dramatic change in the girl. Dasha turned out to be a clean and disciplined child, not prone to being late. She wanted to learn and achieve success. The training program fully stimulated such changes. At the end of each week, the kids have a spelling test, and they also constantly write essays. As a working mother, Elena really likes the additional and inexpensive activities on school grounds after the end of the school day - tennis, chess, music breaks. In a word, there would be no happiness, but misfortune would help, Elena jokes now.

The choice between good and very good

Tatyana Abdikeeva arrived in San Francisco from St. Petersburg 7 years ago. I started looking for a private school for my youngest daughter, who was barely 2,5. Initially focused on private school. Went on a trip to a school for girls in one of the most prestigious areas of San Francisco. According to her, no innovations were introduced there, relying on the old tradition of separating girls and boys.

Tatyana had good impressions of the school itself: “The premises are wonderful, there’s nothing to complain about. A good library, classrooms have glass walls. Spacious, clean, lots of air. The girls wear uniforms, even their hairpins match. Of course it looks wonderful. Children express themselves through manicure.”

Tatyana also liked the teachers. However, she believes that the approach to education in this private school is completely standard. “I wanted to be shown how my child's education here would be broader and deeper than in a public or other private school. It looks like they don’t have anything like that,” Tatyana states. But since the school has good teachers, the children simply won’t be able to do poorly, she thinks. Moreover, there is one teacher for every seven children. For comparison: in a public school there are one or two teachers for 30 children.

Education in this school is worth $ 29 thousand per year. After the study tour, Tatiana thought and decided that there was no reason to pay such money here.

Next on her list was a German bilingual private school, where tuition costs $18,5 a year. For Tatyana, a big plus was that after graduation the children can speak both English and German perfectly. In addition, at the end of secondary school, children choose another language to study (Spanish or French), and in high school they can either choose a fourth language or deepen their existing knowledge. Upon completion, the school issues two diplomas: one American, the second German. With the latter, you can enter European universities. Tatyana liked almost everything about this school, and for now she has chosen this private school, but she still has time to think.

Certificate for home delivery

Another option to obtain a high school diploma in the United States is homeschooling. This type of free education is quite common - 3,4% of all schoolchildren (which is more than 1,7 million people) in the United States studying at home.

Alexey, the ten-year-old son of Ukrainian woman Elena Anikina, has been homeschooled for the second year. Elena and her husband came to Hayward, California, from Canada - Alexey was born there. The California public school near their home no longer suited Elena and Alexey by the end of the second grade. The morning began with the baby's tears - he flatly refused to go to school. When Elena began to figure it out, it turned out that Alyosha completed the tasks before everyone else, and the teacher forced him to solve the same examples in the second round. And then I gave them again as homework.

Elena thought about what to do. From friends she learned that children can learn at home, and decided to try this option. As a rule, all information on this type of education can be obtained from the local school district.

All necessary for home schooling Elena now provides a special schooldesigned for “homeworkers”. There is an excellent library where you can choose textbooks in all subjects. You can choose yourself and training program in subjects. Each program offers textbooks and workbooks.

Alexey has a weekly work plan. If something is not clear, Elena explains it to him. Once a month, mother and son go to report to school. The teacher-curator looks through the workbooks and talks about each subject. These students take a standardized test at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year.

Lena shares the advantages: “Firstly, we all get enough sleep. Secondly, dad has time to study with Alexey for an hour before work.” The child’s day is filled with interest groups: music plus choir, French, robotics, tennis, swimming, chess, drawing, science - on average two or three classes a day. Some of them are paid, some are free. The teacher-curator recommends spending four hours a day directly on mastering the school curriculum. Alexey can do it in three. Myself. “I hardly have to push him. Well, if only sometimes you threaten with school,” Elena smiles.


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