The US School System
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
If you are new to the States, you might not be familiar with their school systems. We’d like to help you become better informed since schools are often the number one priority for a moving family. So much that families in the US often choose the location of their new residence based on the quality of the nearby school district. Luckily, there are many alternatives within the Miami school system.
Let’s explore the choices a parent has:
Public Schools Public schools receive funding from local, state, and federal government funds. They are required to admit students who live within their district and are free to attend.
Private Schools Private schools get their funding from private organizations and private individuals. They can choose the students that they admit. They have their own criteria for admission and are often costly.
Public School’s Pros:
● Public school teachers are required to be certified by the state.
● Students of public schools often live nearby.
● The education is free.
Public School’s cons:
● Classes often have a high number of students.
● Sometimes teachers focus more on the students passing the standardized tests than the student’s real learning of the subject.
● Public schools do not always offer programs for academically advanced students or for students who have learning challenges.
A charter school is indeed part of the public school system, receives tax money but can also receive private funding. Charter schools enjoy more freedoms than regular public schools as they are not bound by school boards and are not scrutinized by governmental authorities. Many charter schools specialize in areas like arts or technology. The classes are smaller, the attention is more individualized than in the traditional public school. Families do not have to live in the neighborhood for their child to attend.
Magnet Schools A magnet school is a public school that offers a high academic standard. Often they specialize in a particular area of academia. The students have to apply and meet the school’s academic standards.
So what to choose? Things you should consider:
● Transportation. The public school has to provide transportation if you live in the district while some charters and magnet schools do not provide transportation if you do not live in the district.
● Your child’s needs: If you have a gifted child or a child with learning disabilities, you should carefully study your options and consider a school that best focuses on how to provide an education for your child.
● Placement: Many charter and magnet schools only accept a limited number of students which means you have to apply to attend. If the school does not have an opening, you might have to join a waiting list for your child to be accepted.
We advise that you visit the schools you are considering. You will get a more accurate sense of the school, the students it attracts and the teachers. The more information you have, the better decision you will make.