American Education
Mustafa Ergün
The United States of America (also referred to
as the United States, the U.S., the USA,
or America) is a federal constitutional
republic comprising fifty states and a federal
district. The country is situated mostly in central
North America, lie between
the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered
by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south.
At 9.83 million km2 and with over 310 million people, the
United States is the third or fourth largest country by total
area, and the third largest both by land
area and population. It is one of the world's
most ethnically diverse and multicultural
nations. The U.S. economy is the world's
largest national economy.
History of American Education
The Colonial Period
The Puritans in New England Primary purpose of education was to
maintain Protestant religious beliefs and ensure social stability – “the
good society.”
Grammar School Major emphasis on Latin and minor on Greek and
Hebrew, Greek and Roman writers.
Post-Revolutionary America Themes: Nationalism. Noah Webster’s (“Schoolmaster of
America”) spelling book replaced the New England Primer. Webster believed that in
addition to teaching reading and writing, his texts should produce good and patriotic
Americans, develop an American language, and create a unified national spirit.
Common School Movement 1830s and 40s Reflected a growing faith in the
power of schooling to solve the problems of society. Horace Mann - “father of
the common school”
National Education Association (NEA) The Committee of
Ten (1892) Recommendation 8 years of elementary
education, 4 years of secondary education
History of American Education
End of the 19th Century
The “Goal” Meritocracy
Social goal: each individual’s social and occupational position is determined by individual
merit, not political or economic influence
Equality of Opportunity
Under this system, it allowed an individual to find the best place in the economic system
in which to develop personal interests and abilities.
Science of Education
Measurement of intelligence, interests, and abilities
Vocational guidance: matching the student with an educational program and
future occupation
The Purposes of Education in American Democracy (1938-Educational Policies Commission)
The Imperative Needs of Youth of Secondary School Age (NASSP, 1944)
Education for All American Children (Educational Policies Commission 1948)
History of American Education
At least partially because of Sputnik (1957), science and science
education become important concerns in the U.S., resulting in the
passage of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) which
authorizes increased funding for scientific research and science
In 1964 the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities is
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) ("War on
Poverty") 1965
The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (1975)
1983 - The report of the National Commission on Excellence in
Education, A Nation at Risk, calls for sweeping reforms in public
education and teacher training.
1993 - The Massachusetts Education Reform Act requires a common
curriculum and statewide tests (Massachusetts Comprehensive
Assessment System).
School curricula, funding,
teaching, employment,
and other policies are set
through locally elected
school boards with
jurisdiction over school
districts with many
directives from state
In 2009, there were over 6.2 million
teachers in elementary and secondary
Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are usually made by
state governments.
The ages for compulsory education vary by
state. It begins from ages five to eight and
ends from ages fourteen to eighteen.
Education is divided into three levels: elementary school, middle school
(sometimes called junior high school), and high school (sometimes referred
to as secondary education). In almost all schools at these levels, children are
divided by age groups into grades, ranging from kindergarten up to twelfth
The American school year traditionally begins in August or September, after the
traditional summer recess. Children are assigned into year groups known as
grades. Children customarily advance together from one grade to the next as a
single cohort or "class" upon reaching the end of each school year in May or
The poor performance has pushed public and private
efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act.
According to government data, one-tenth of students are enrolled in
private schools. Approximately 85% of students enter the public
schools. Most students attend school for around six hours per day, and
usually anywhere from 175 to 187 days per year.
Schooling is compulsory for all children in the United States. Some
states allow students to leave school between 14–17 with parental
permission, before finishing high school; other states require students
to stay in school until age 18.
Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of
children are educated in this manner.
The poor performance has pushed public and private
efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act.
Doktora sonrası Çalışma ve Araştırma
Doktora veya İleri Düzeyde Profesyonel
Doktora Derece Çalışması
Yüksek Lisans Derecesi
Y.Lisans Derece Çalışması
Meslek Okulları (Tıp,
İlahiyat, Hukuk, vb.)
Lisans Derecesi
Mesleki Eğitim
Ön Lisans Derecesi veya Sertifika
Lise Diploması
4 Yıllık Liseler
Ön lisans ya da
Lisans 3. sınıf
Lisans Programları
Lise-2. kademe (Senior)
Birleşik Liseler
Sonrası Eğitim
Lise-1. kademe (Junior)
veya İlkokul
There are no mandatory public prekindergarten or
crèche programs in the United States. The federal
government funds the Head Start preschool program
for children of low-income families, but most
families are on their own with regard to finding a
preschool or childcare.
In the large cities, there are sometimes upper-class
preschools catering to the children of the wealthy.
Increasingly, a growing body of preschools are
adopting international standards such as the
International Preschool Curriculum.
Elementary school
Elementary school includes kindergarten through fifth grade (or
sometimes, to fourth grade, sixth grade or eighth grade). In
elementary school, basic subjects are taught, and students often
remain in one or two classrooms throughout the school day, with the
exceptions of physical education, library, music, and art classes.
The school district selects curriculum guides and textbooks
that are reflective of a state's learning standards and
benchmarks for a given grade level. While the concept of State
Learning standards has been around for some time, No Child Left
Behind has mandated that standards exist at the State level. No Child
Left Behind focuses on reading and math as primary targets for
improvement, other instructional areas have received less attention.
Public Elementary School teachers typically instruct
between twenty and thirty students of diverse learning
Elementary school
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, all American states
must test students in public schools statewide to ensure
that they are achieving the desired level of minimum
education; students being educated at home or in private
schools are not included.
The act also requires that students and schools show
"adequate yearly progress."
Home schooling
Many select moral or religious reasons for homeschooling
their children (singular needs or disabilities, social
pressures of schools…). In 2007, approximately 1.5 million
children were homeschooled. This was 2.9% of all children.
Opposition to homeschooling comes from varied sources, including
teachers' organizations and school districts. Opponents' stated
concerns fall into several broad categories, including fears of poor
academic quality, loss of income for the schools, and religious or social
extremism, or lack of socialization with others.
Secondary education
In the United States, secondary education usually covers
grades 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 through 12.
Middle school and Junior high school include the grade
levels intermediate between elementary school and senior
high school. "Middle school" usually includes sixth, seventh
and eighth grade; "Junior high" typically includes seventh
through ninth grade.
Senior high school is a school attended after junior high
school. High school is often used instead of senior high
school and distinguished from junior high school. High
school usually runs either from 9th through 12th, or 10th
through 12th grade. The students in these grades are
commonly referred to as freshmen (grade 9), sophomores
(grade 10), juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12).
Secondary education
Basic curricular structure
Students are required to take a certain minimum number of
mandatory subjects, but may choose additional subjects
("electives") to fill out their required hours of learning.
Mandatory subjects: Science (biology, chemistry and physics),
Mathematics (algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics), English, Social
sciences (history, government / economics courses), Physical education.
Electives: Computers, Athletics, Publishing, Performing Arts/Visual Arts,
Foreign languages…
Many high schools provide Advanced Placement (AP) or
International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These are special
forms of honors classes where the curriculum is more
challenging and lessons more aggressively paced than
standard courses.
Secondary education
During high school, students (usually in 11th grade) may
take one or more standardized tests depending on their
postsecondary education preferences and their local
graduation requirements. In theory, these tests evaluate the
overall level of knowledge and learning aptitude of the
students. The SAT (formerly Scholastic Aptitude Test and
Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT (abbreviation of
American College Testing) are the most common
standardized tests that students take when applying to
college. A student may take the SAT, ACT, or both
depending upon the post-secondary institutions the student
plans to apply to for admission.
Education of students with special needs
Students with special needs must have the opportunity to be
with typically developing peers in the mainstream school. For
example: recess, cafeteria, assemblies, hallways, regular
classes, etc. This process is known as mainstreaming.
Students with special needs attend special schools only if
their need for very specialized services makes
mainstreaming impossible.
To more clearly identify special needs students, the federal government
defined thirteen categories of special needs. These included autism,
deaf-blindness, deafness, hearing impairment, mental retardation,
multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment,
serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disability, speech or
language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.
the students aged 6 through 21 who received special education in the 20062007 school year
Teacher Training
Elementary School teachers are trained with emphases on
human cognitive and psychological development and the
principles of curriculum development and instruction.
Teachers typically earn either a Bachelors or Masters
Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
Certification standards for teachers are determined by
individual states, with individual colleges and universities
determining the rigor of the college education provided for
future teachers. Some states require content area tests, as
well as instructional skills tests for teacher certification in
that state.
Undergraduate Education
• Approximately 1700 institutions grant
at least one graduate degree
• Approximately 282 institutions award
at least 20 doctorates per year
• 674 award at least 50 master’s
degrees and/or fewer than 20
• Remainder of degrees are from
primarily baccalaureate institutions
There are 4,352 colleges,
universities, and junior colleges
in the country. In 2008, 36% of
enrolled students graduated from
college in four years. In 2009, a
record high of 40% of 18-24 year
olds were enrolled in college.
Most colleges in the U.S. follow the semester system:
Average 16 weeks long. Fall and Spring semesters. Maybe Summer semester,
8-12 weeks long.
Some colleges in the U.S. follow the quarter system: Academic year is divided
into four quarters of about 10 weeks each. May be some variation in the
summer quarter.
A few colleges follow a trimester system, with three terms per year, about 12
weeks per term.
Academic year begins in the Fall (August or September).
Undergraduate Education
Admissions criteria involve the rigor and grades earned in
high school courses taken, the students' GPA (Grade Point
Average), class ranking, and standardized test scores (Such as
the SAT or the ACT tests). Most colleges also consider
more subjective factors such as a commitment to
extracurricular activities, a personal essay, and an
bachelor's degree in a field of concentration known as a
double majors
The most common method consists of four years of study leading to a Bachelor
of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), or sometimes another bachelor's
degree such as Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Social Work
(B.S.W.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.,) or Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.)
Five-Year Professional Architecture programs offer the Bachelor of Architecture
Degree (B.Arch.)
Undergraduate Education
Some students choose to attend a community college for two years prior to
further study at another college or university.
Community colleges may award Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science
(AS) degree after two years.
Some community colleges have automatic enrollment agreements with a local
four-year college, where the community college provides the first two years of
study and the university provides the remaining years of study, sometimes all
on one campus.
Graduate Education
Graduate study, conducted after obtaining an initial degree and sometimes
after several years of professional work, leads to a more advanced degree such
as a master's degree, which could be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science
(MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), or other less common master's
degrees such as Master of Education (MEd), and Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
Entrance into graduate programs usually depends upon a student's
undergraduate academic performance or professional experience as well as
their score on a standardized entrance exam like the Graduate Record
Examination (GRE-graduate schools in general), the Medical College Admission
Test (MCAT), or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
After additional years of study and sometimes in conjunction with the
completion of a master's degree and/or Ed.S. degree, students may earn a
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or other doctoral degree, such as Doctor of Arts,
Doctor of Education, Doctor of Theology, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of
Pharmacy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Osteopathy, Doctor of
Podiatry Medicine, Doctor of Psychology, or Juris Doctor.
Graduate Education
2.5 million graduate students
• 25% are doctoral
• Approximately 60,000 doctorates awarded
• Median TTD (total time to degree, time to completion of the
doctorate degree) 8.5 years for all disciplines
• 30% of doctoral students complete a
Basic Distinctions in U.S. Post-secondary Institutions
Junior Colleges
Community Colleges
Liberal Arts College
Comprehensive University
Bachelor’s only
Graduate degrees
Research Institution
Yararlanılan Kaynaklar
Boers, David. (2007), History of American education,
Şahin, S. (2009). Amerika Birleşik Devletleri Eğitim Sistemi. S. Ada & N.
Baysal (Ed.), Eğitim yapıları ve yönetimleri açısından çeşitli ülkelere bir
bakış (s. 115-133). Ankara: Pegem Akademi
Ergün, M. (1985). Karşılaştırmalı Eğitim [Elektronik versiyon]. İnönü
Üniversitesi Malatya
Güçlü, N. ve Bayrakçı M. (2004). Amerika Birleşik Devletleri Eğitim
Sistemi ve Hiçbir Çocuğun Eğitimsiz Kalmaması Reformu. Gazi
Üniversitesi Kırşehir Eğitim Fakültesi, Cilt 5, Sayı 2, s. 51-64
The National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983). A Nation at
 adresinden 12.10.2009
tarihinde ulaşıldı.
History of education in the United States.
Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform.