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Berlin - Small: In America

America, The Beautiful

America, the land of the free. Well, except education. 

RIght now there are 81.5 million students including kindergarden. Of those 17.5 million are attending post-seconday school including graduate school. 

Public school is free to all students between the ages of five and eighteen. There is also an alternative to public school. Parents can choose to enroll their children in private school for additional money per school year.The cost of public school is not too far from the cost of universities. This cost is in addition to uniforms, books, transportation and extracurricular activities.There is also the choice to be home-schooled.

However, after that there is a drastic change. High school graduates can choose from public and private colleges or universities. However, the price is one that is getting to be unbearable. 

Public University per year costs (as of 2010) were $27,967.

Private University per year costs (as of 2010) were $40, 476.

It is common knowledge that with education usually comes more opportunities. However, the task of paying for college is starting to be more stressful then the classes that need to be taken to obtain a degree. 

No Child Left Behind

Under President George W. Bush's time in office, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), was born. Proposed in 2001 by Bush, this was an act that would help disadvantaged students and continue to prepare them for their next step.

"NCLB supports standards-based education reform based on the premise that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills. To receive federal school funding, States must give these assessments to all students at select grade levels. The Act does not assert a national achievement standard. Each individual state develops its own standards.NCLB expanded the federal role in public education through annual testing, annual academic progress, report cards, teacher qualifications, and funding changes."

Along with No Child Left Behind came the birth of standarized tests. These tests are supposed to test out what needs to be taught and what shouldn't. In addition, it tests to make sure the student taking it can memorize. These kinds of tests don't measure the capacity of the students knowlegde. 

The No Child Left Behind Act has it's pros and cons. No child should have to go without an education. However, the way that students are tested isn't practical.


The American education system is broken up into three segments:

Elementary school: usually first through fifth grade

Middle/Junior High School: sixth through eigth grade

HIgh School: nine through twelth grade

Each of these steps are to prepare for the next segment and school. Every public school in America has the same segmented school. Howeverm the curriculum and requirements to move on are different from state to state. Private schools are also required to abide by these requirements from the state. 

The American school year is usually less then nine months out of the year. For Holiday break the average school receives two weeks from the mid to end of December through the first week of January. They receive five days off for Thanksgiving festivities. During the summer they are given two and a half months to usually do nothing, unless they are required to go to summer school to advance to the next grade. 

During the summer break, it is observed that a lot of the learning that happened throughout the previous school year is forgotten and needs to be retaught and refreshed at the beginning of every new school year. 

Also, unlike the Germans, Americans rely on uniformity to make sure the test scores are sufficient. It is also said that with uniforms, comes with less bullying.

Subject Guide

Various Classroom Pictures