About Public Schools

Here we cover the history of public schools, explain the various types and discuss their pros/cons. Learn more about technology on campus, health and nutrition issues, and the latest information related to a variety of student populations.
View the most popular articles in About Public Schools:
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Why Students and Schools Benefit from Foreign Language Programs
It’s clear there is currently a gap in language education. As of 2008, only 18.5% of K-12 students were enrolled in a foreign language class. Ask the experts and they all agree— schools with robust foreign language programs can bring students to the next level.
Ask the experts and they all agree— schools with robust foreign language programs can bring students to the next level.
 
Public schools that invest in teaching foreign languages, whether through a full-fledged program or just a few classes, are certain to see the benefit in their student body, extracurriculars, and overall reputation. Full language programs start at an early age, immersing children in language classes every year from K-12, with extracurricular clubs, field trips, and learning experiences to enhance their language education. 
 
It’s clear there is currently a gap in language education. As of 2008, only 18.5% of K-12 students were enrolled in a foreign language class. From 1997 to 2008, public and private elementary schools offering foreign language instruction decreased from 31% to 25%. These numbers are simply not acceptable.
 
 
There are many reasons why schools, even those at the most elementary levels, should institute a foreign language program into their core curriculum. Dr. Jennifer Austin, an associate language professor at Rutgers University, is an adamant believer in the benefits of language studies. “Researchers have found that there are lifelong cognitive and academic benefits to becoming bilingual.”
 
Robert Riger, Vice President and Director of Pimsleur Language Programs, believes foreign language is the gateway to the rest of the world. “At an age where students begin to form individual preferences, dreams, and set priorities, it’s a clear roadmap to the next step. For many, it’s a passport to global citizenship, to dreams of connection
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White Students are Now the Minority in U.S. Public Schools
Increasing birth rates among immigrant families from Asia and Central and South America, combined with lower birth rates among white families, means that for the first time in history, public school students in the United States are majority-minority. This shift in demographics poses difficulties for schools as they work to accommodate children of varying language abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.
It has been an ongoing trend for nearly two decades – while the total number of students in American public schools has risen, the percentage of those students who are white has steadily fallen. According to the Pew Research Center, in 1997, over 63 percent of the 46.1 million U.S. public school students were white. Today, white students comprise just 49.7 percent of the 50 million students enrolled.
 
These changes in the racial make-up of the nation’s public schools are reflective of where the overall population is headed. According to recent estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2060, the white population in this country is projected to fall by more than 20 million people, while the Hispanic population is set to double. Black and Asian populations are expected to increase as well, although at rates far slower than Hispanics. By 2043, the nation as a whole is projected to become majority-minority.
Public School Diversity
 
While the white student population has declined by 15 percent since 1997, according to Pew, both Hispanic and Asian populations have rapidly increased. In that same time frame, the number of Hispanic students has grown by 50 percent to 12.9 million students. The number of Asian students has also seen significant growth, jumping 46 percent to 2.9 million students. The African-American student population, which this fall will number 7.7 million, has remained relatively steady over the last twenty years.
 
Much has been made recently of the number of migrant
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The Right Kind of Universal Pre-K
For years there has been a push to universalize preschool in this country in order to provide all children with the leg up they will need in order to compete in a globalized economy. While approximately three-fourths of four year olds in America are involved in some kind of educational program, the United States still ranks only 25th out of the 34 most wealthy and upcoming nations in the world in terms of early childhood education, lagging behind the likes of Portugal and Mexico.
Despite the nation’s dismal ranking for early childhood education, there are signs that it is increasing in importance for American families. Just a decade ago, only 65 percent of four-year-olds were enrolled in preschool; today that number is 78 percent. It is a subject that has become politicized as well, with President Obama championing the cause a number of times during his presidency, most notably in his 2013 State of the Union Address. After that speech, the White House offered details of the president’s plan to greatly expand the availability and quality of pre-k programs, which include:
  • Expanding Early Head Start, which provides educational and health services to low-income and vulnerable children birth to three years of age;
  • Developing a cooperative effort between state and federal agencies to guarantee pre-k enrollment for children at or below 200 percent of the poverty line;
  • Build a corps of pre-k teachers that have the same level of credentials as those that teach K-12 students;
  • Extending the Nurse Family Partnership Program, which provides home visits from nurses to low-income families. Nurses help promote health and positive parenting strategies from the child’s birth through their second birthday.
Many state legislatures have enacted sweeping pre-k programs with great success – Georgia and Oklahoma among them. But the oddity of many state-based pre-k programs is that their success is far higher in states that generally have poorer performing public schools. Additionally, support for pre-k education seems to be much more robust in Republican-leaning states, especially those in the Deep
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‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Seeks to Give African-American Boys a Boost
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aims to improve academic opportunities for students of color, especially African-American boys.
It is no secret that youth of color, particularly black boys, face a mountain of obstacles to success. Black boys are more likely than their white peers to be suspended or expelled from school, more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be unemployed, in prison, and die at an early age. These are problems that school districts, cities, and states have sought to fix for years and years, but with only pockets of success. It is a bleak outlook, but one that the Obama administration seeks to change with the most comprehensive reform and aid effort yet.
About the Initiative
 
The overarching purpose of My Brother’s Keeper is to address gaps in educational and related services that persist for young men of color. The initiative is a cooperation between local, state, and federal agencies, private business, and non-profits to bring essential services to the nation’s neediest youth. In total, the initiative includes five primary goals:
  • Prepare Children to Learn – Provide support programs that foster intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth so children are prepared to begin school.
  • Boost Literacy – Support early learning initiatives that get children reading at grade level by age 8.
  • Help Kids Graduate from High School Prepared for College – Promote educational programs that prepare students for success in postsecondary environments and facilitate training for in-demand jobs.
  • Facilitate Workforce Readiness – Assist youth in finding quality jobs that allow them to support themselves and their
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Enrollment in Texas Public Schools Skyrockets
Fueled by immigration of Hispanics to Texas, the state’s school system continues to grow at a frenetic pace, with a current enrollment of more than five million students. In this article, we dig into the numbers to examine how the Texas school system is changing, and what these changes mean for the future.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the educational system. No state has experienced more growth in the number of K-12 students over the last decade than Texas. Although the majority of the growth is among the Hispanic student population, all ethnic groups except Caucasians experienced both numerical and percentage increases in enrollment during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. These increases in minority enrollment and decrease in white enrollment continues a trend that dates back to the 1980s.
 
Enrollment Reflects Increasing Diversity
 
According to the Texas Education Agency, over the last decade the state’s public school system added over 820,000 students, which reflects a 19 percent increase in total enrollment. When viewed longitudinally, the growth of enrollment in Texas is even more pronounced: Since the 1987-1988 school year, enrollment has increased by a whopping 1.85 million students, which represents growth of over 57 percent.
 
In the 2012-2013 academic year, Texas public school students were:
  • 51.3 percent Hispanic;
  • 30 percent white;
  • 12.7 percent African-American;
  • 3.6 percent Asian; and
  • 1.8 percent multi-racial.
These numbers are representative of the increasingly ethnic and cultural diversity of students enrolling in Texas public schools. The Hispanic student population surpassed the 50 percent mark in 2011 and continues to be the fastest-growing segment of Texas’ student population. Conversely, white enrollment, which has been decreasing for years, is projected to continue declining for the next several decades. In 2000, over 41 percent of Texas students were white, but that number now stands at just over 31 percent. By 2050, experts believe white students
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About Public Schools

Overview of Public Schools

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Types of Public Schools

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Technology on Campus

From eBooks to web cams, technology on campus continues to grow. Learn how the latest technology impacts your child’s education. Get tips on the best ways to integrate technology into education and stay abreast of the latest developments and challenges facing schools.

Health and Nutrition at School

From vending machines to Jamie Oliver, bed bugs to tuberculosis, we provide an in-depth look at health and wellness in public schools. Help your kids stay healthy on campus and learn about current health epidemics, vaccination requirements, physical fitness programs and the latest food initiatives.

Back to School

Learn more about preparing your child and wallet for a new school year. Inside you’ll find valuable advice to help your family prepare for the transition from swimsuits to school. While there is no tuition, public school education does not come without costs. Learn more about budgeting for a new school year and get great money saving tips.

Student Populations

The latest trends, laws and resources for a variety of student populations. Every child has different needs, and this section offers helpful information for LGBT, special education, gifted, low-income, and minority students.