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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Rigorous High School Gives Underprivileged Students Hope for Future
We take a closer look at Bard High School Early College to see how a more rigorous curriculum is challenging disadvantaged students to set their future sights high.
Photo Credit: bhsec.bard.edu
College is the future dream for many high school students, but that dream is more likely to become a reality for some students than others. Now, high school students in Newark have an option that can help them beat the odds and make that college dream a reality. Bard College has brought its proven track record of success to a Newark high school, offering students the chance to experience the rigors of college academics firsthand within the secure confines of a high school environment.
 
Bard High School Early College Newark
 
Bard High School Early College Newark (BHSEC Newark) is the latest in a series of college-based high schools created through Bard College. According to the BHSEC website, this school first opened in 2011 as a partnership between the college and Newark Public Schools. BHSEC Newark offers a rigorous, college-level curriculum combined with traditional high school academics that prepare students for life after high school.
 
What makes the Newark school unique is its commitment to enrolling students from a diverse range of backgrounds, giving students the chance to excel academically that might not have the chance otherwise. Students come from all Newark neighborhoods, including disadvantaged areas like Newark’s West Ward, where drugs and shootings are almost a way of life for the youth residents of the community. The New York Times reports that BHSEC Newark is positioned across the street from a tire shop and bail bond business, seemingly to breathe fresh life into a troubled neighborhood.
 
About BHSEC
 
BHSEC Newark
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A School Run by Students? Massachusetts High School Embraces New Model
We explore a new concept in on Massachusetts high school, where students choose their curriculum, homework assignments and classroom structure.
In the traditional school, curriculum is chosen by school board members and taught by faculty – usually standing in front of a classroom of students. Students can choose to engage in the lesson, or not, but they rarely have much say in what or how they learn. Until now. One high school in Massachusetts has set course on a whole new kind of learning adventure, where students choose the subjects and run the classroom as they see fit? Does it work? Let’s find out.
 
The Independent Project
 
Time recently reported on an innovative program taking place at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Massachusetts. The program, aptly dubbed the “Independent Project,” offers students a chance to determine how and what they study during school hours. The project was started by a student who became frustrated seeing his friends lose interest in class and simply stop making the effort to perform academically.
 
Sam Levin complained to his mother about the problem, who promptly suggested Levin start his own school. The high school student began with a garden on school property that was fully tended by students on a voluntary basis. When Levin saw how readily students put forth effort on a project all their own, he decided to expand the garden concept to other aspects of the school experience.
 
“I was seeing the exact opposite in school,” Levin told Time. “Kids weren’t even doing the things they needed to do to get credit. There was something at odds with students
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Comparing Private, Public and Charter Schools
We take a closer look at the pros and cons of three of the most popular education choices today – public, private and charter schools. Which is the best choice for your child?
Once children have graduated from diapers and baby food, the next big decision for parents becomes where to send their precious tots to school. There are many choices available to parents today, from the neighborhood school down the street to charter and private schools in the area. How does a parent know which school will be the best fit for his child? The choice is never easy, but it helps to weigh the pros and cons of each of these types of schools to see which might present the greatest benefit.
 
Cost
 
Of course, one of the first variables parents must weigh when comparing the various types of schools is cost. Public schools are “free” institutions by law, although they may charge fees and students may be required to provide their own supplies. Charter schools are also considered public schools, so there is no tuition cost assessed. However, private schools can – and do – charge tuition to students and their parents, and in some cases, those costs can be rather high.
 
According to a report at Fox News, the average tuition cost for private secondary schools during the 2007-2008 school year was around $10,500. Great Schools also cites statistics from the National Catholic Education Association that show while private parochial schools tend to charge lower tuition rates, the average tuition for these schools is still around $2,600 for elementary schools and nearly $7,000 for secondary schools.
 
Enrollment
 
Public schools are required to accept all students within that
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Who Oversees Public Schools?
We explore the various models of governance of public schools in the U.S. today, breaking down the responsibilities of the federal, state and local governments.
The governance of public schools is a rather complex issue that incorporates various government entities at the federal, state and local levels. In theory, these various levels should create a tapestry that addresses the needs of students at the most local level without sacrificing education quality across the country. While the model doesn’t always work as planned, the system of checks and balances does provide a mostly workable national education system that crosses state and district lines. Learn more about the basics of public school governance in the United States today.
 
Federal Oversight
 
The federal government is responsible for four basic functions in public education today, according to the U.S. Department of Education website. Those four functions include:
  • Policies related to Education Funding – These policies can promote certain education reform, by offering additional funding to states and districts that choose to abide by federal standards. EdSource explains that the current administration is attempting to do just that, by offering competitive grants through the Race to the Top program. States that fall in line with Race to the Top standards and recommendations stand to receive additional funding from Uncle Sam.
  • Collection of Data and Research – This information is used to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the current state of public education today. By identifying weaknesses in public education, states can draft new policies to close the gaps and improve education quality overall.
  • Identification of Problems in Education at the National Level – By shining the light on learning
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An Overview of Public School Services
Learn about some of the services available to students through the public school system that are especially helpful to low-income families.
Students in the public school system in the United States are eligible for a variety of services, depending on their needs. Under Title I, students in need are provided with additional assistance to promote their success in school and beyond. Title I funding is provided to more than 90 percent of the school systems across the country, with the money used in a variety of ways to help low-income students break the cycle of poverty with the tools they need for academic success.
 
What is Title I?
 
Title I is one of the oldest public education programs in the United States, as well as one of the largest. The program provides additional funding to school districts with a large population of low-income students to help students in this demographic meet the academic standards assigned by the state. The program was established as the Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and its purpose is to “ensure that all children have a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education,” according to the U.S. Department of Education website.

This brief video gives us an overview of Title I.
 

The Department of Education also lists strategies that should be implemented by local school districts to achieve that purpose with the provided funding, which include:
  • Meeting the educational needs of low-income and minority students
  • Holding schools and governments accountable for academic achievement of students
  •  Use of tools, assessments and instruction that are aligned with state standards
  • Closing
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About Public Schools

Overview of Public Schools

A comprehensive look at the U.S. public school system, including history, governing bodies, funding, and services. Compare private, public and charter schools. Learn more about Magnet school programs and get tips on choosing the right school for your child.

Types of Public Schools

Explore the different types of public schools, from charter to language immersion, and learn about the unique pros and cons of each type. Is a co-ed or single sex classroom best for your child? Charter school or magnet? Read expert advice and get valuable tips on the various public education programs available and how to choose what works best for your family.

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.