American Education System: History, Problems, and Comparisons

Along with helping you advance professionally and personally, education also enables you to make a positive impact on the creation of a more trustworthy society and a more harmonious world. But just as knowing the American education system is crucial, so is learning.

American Education System
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You can gain a better knowledge of what is currently happening in the educational landscape by studying the ins and outs of the American educational system. The history of education has seen a lot of significant advances. On the other hand, not every technique or program produced improved educational outcomes.

In this post, you’ll get to learn about brief history of American Education, problems that ever arose, and comparisons to other education system from various countries over the world. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

History of American Education System

When was the American education system created? It began with the establishment of Congregationalist and Puritan religious schools in the 1600s.

Their objective was to teach the upper-class youngsters of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire religion. Bibles, primers, and hornbooks in the form of wooden paddles were used to teach reading, writing, and math.

The boys of high social standing were groomed for potential leadership roles in colonial society through the system’s Latin Grammar Schools. The institutions, especially Harvard College, were focused on educating male students for admission to college.

Who is the father of American education? Horace Mann was a driving figure behind the creation of unified school systems. The Massachusetts native worked to create a broad curriculum that didn’t include religious education.

As the state’s superintendent of education at the beginning of the 19th century, Horace Mann started overhauling the Massachusetts educational system. Mann started going to schools, writing reports, and speaking out in favor of a free education for all kids.

Mann also supported the use of standardized tools and teacher development. His proposals led to the creation of free public schools with set curricula that were paid for by taxes and returned some local authority to the state.

More kids were being taught in public schools in America by 1890 than in any other country on Earth.

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American education system ages are typically divided into three levels or schools: elementary (5 to 10 years old), middle (11 to 13 years old), and high (14 to 16 or 18 years old). However, these age of entry to compulsory education in the U.S. varies from state to state.

The American Education System Problems

The K-12 education sector was dominated by teacher protests and walkouts in 2019, exposing pervasive and long-standing disinvestment concerns. Burnt-out teachers now realize they have value to offer other businesses and will be paid for it, as seen by the significant exodus of teachers since 2020.

These phenomena show that U.S. education system is in a state of serious decline. Is the American education system failing? No, but the system does need reform before it turns into a huge failure. But what is wrong with American education system?

Some of the major flaws in American education system today are discussed below:

1. Decreased Teacher Salaries

Teacher pay is by no means high, and in the majority of states, it has been slowly declining over the past few years. In fact, research reveals that between the 2009–2010 school year and the present, the average pay for public elementary and secondary school teachers decreased by close to 5%.

There are, of course, certain states where teacher pay have grown, and some teachers have seen an increase in benefits, but these increases may or may not be sufficient to offset generally low wages.

2. Deficits in Government Funding for Schools

The main problem now facing the American public education system is funding, which is a constant concern for schools. More than 90% of K–12 schools are supported by state and local taxes, primarily from sales and income taxes.

Funding, however, hasn’t grown in tandem with demand. Many states continue to provide financing that is less than what they did before to the Great Recession. Less money equals fewer programs, fewer teachers, and less resources.

3. Emphasis on Standardized Testing

One of the main issues in American education, according to many critics, is standardized testing. They contend that the pressure to achieve high test scores causes teachers to focus more on teaching to the test and less on non-tested areas like art.

4. Growing Problems with Student Poverty

Students from low-income families made up more than 50% of the student body at public schools in the United States. Comparing this to 38% in 2001, there has been a substantial growth.

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There’s a strong association between family income and student achievement as evaluated by standardized tests, and studies have shown that low-income students typically do worse than wealthy students.

5. Decline in School Safety

Numerous high-profile mass shootings have occurred in American schools recently, leaving scores dead and sparking heated discussions over school security. Teachers all throughout the country must figure out how to stop attacks and safeguard the lives of both pupils and staff.

Although the American public school system undoubtedly has problems, it’s still very much worth fighting for. The only thing anyone can do is adapt to the times, and there are some new trends in education that might help to address some of the problems mentioned above.

Comparing American Education System with Other Countries

Every country’s educational system is centered on predetermined goals. Some nations place a greater emphasis on social skills, some on the fine arts, and yet others on academics.

But there’s one thing that all countries have in common: Every student should be able to read, write, and understand basic math after completing the program.

However, it’s intriguing to learn how the educational system in America stacks up against that in other nations. The educational systems of Germany, Japan, and Australia will be mentioned below, and we’ll try to explain how they compare to the American system and in what ways.

German Education System

American schools and German schools have many notable differences. Many aspects of American students’ education are customizable, particularly at higher grade levels.

German students are unable to pursue as many of their personal interests in the classroom due to the heavily regimented nature of the curriculum. Despite sharing many of the same fundamentals with American students, German students’ educational pathways diverge earlier than those of American students.

Accessibility to colleges and universities varies significantly across these two countries. In Germany, only approximately one third of the population holds a college degree in their lifetime, compared to almost half in the U.S.

The fact that German universities are free to attend contributes to this in part. Every student in Germany who doesn’t have wealthy parents is even granted a loan for daily necessities.

Japan Education System

Both the U.S. and Japan have distinctive approaches to teaching their children. The educational system in the U.S. provides students with many possibilities to pick up skills they’ll need in the future. Many institutions offer courses for particular jobs that students might be interested in obtaining.

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For students who want to be ready for the real world, there’re still more useful classes available, such as Personal Finance and Economics. Although the U.S. educational system accomplishes amazing things to prepare its students for the real world, most states don’t require them to take these important classes.

Japan starts preparing its students for life in the real world early on. A student doesn’t take an exam till they’re 10 years old. Additionally, schools typically don’t hire any janitors or custodians because they want to teach their students how to take care of their own belongings and clean up after themselves.

While there’re many possibilities for students to master practical skills in the American educational system, learning the majority of these vital abilities isn’t a top priority for students. While many of the students in the U.S. place greater emphasis on practical life skills, Japan teaches its students character.

Australia Education System

The grading system used in American educational institutions combines class engagement, attendance, projects, and a ton of homework. In contrast to Australian schools, where they’re attempting to do away with homework completely, American students spend an average of 3–4 hours per night on their assignments.

Additionally, American schools administer standardized tests to each grade every year. To get into a good institution in the U.S., students must prepare for the SAT test and make sure they receive a high score on it.

In Australia, students don’t take the SAT. Nonetheless, the UMAT or GMAT (Undergraduate or Graduate Medical Admissions Test) is often used for medicine, dentistry, and a few other degrees.

Final Words

In the U.S., the educational system is crucial to both society and the economy. A distinctive feature of the country is its mandatory education system, which gives every child a solid public school education. After all, education is a key factor in determining one’s success in life beyond high school.

However, when compared to other countries, the U.S. is significantly different in terms of the expense of its education because it’s highly expensive and frequently drives students into debt.

Nevertheless, because it offers chances to earn the necessary degree, the U.S. continues to be appealing to students from all over the world. People who want to come to this country to study face challenges as a result of present government policies.

It causes analysts to worry that it would result in the American education system losing appeal, which would have a detrimental effect on the entire economy.

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