History UsefulNotes / AmericanEducationalSystem

18th Aug '16 7:25:17 AM Morgenthaler
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Each school district will have its own School Board. The ''number'' of boards is set at the state level -- some have one per county, some have one per city, some major cities have one for the whole metro area, {{Hawaii}} has one school district and board for the entire state, and [[HollywoodNewEngland Vermont]] has (depending on how you count two schools of different grade levels that share a campus and part or all of their identity) more school boards than public schools [[note]]Vermont's public schools, incidentally, are some of the most highly-rated in the country, perhaps due to the fact that community oversight is on them around the clock.[[/note]]

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Each school district will have its own School Board. The ''number'' of boards is set at the state level -- some have one per county, some have one per city, some major cities have one for the whole metro area, {{Hawaii}} UsefulNotes/{{Hawaii}} has one school district and board for the entire state, and [[HollywoodNewEngland Vermont]] has (depending on how you count two schools of different grade levels that share a campus and part or all of their identity) more school boards than public schools [[note]]Vermont's public schools, incidentally, are some of the most highly-rated in the country, perhaps due to the fact that community oversight is on them around the clock.[[/note]]
12th Aug '16 8:16:04 PM nombretomado
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Fraternitiess choose their new members once or twice a year, always in the fall and, more rarely, in the spring. The application process is called ''rushing''. An applicant will choose to rush anywhere from one to several frats, who will then accept or reject the applicant. Once selected, the new member is called a ''pledge''; he or she may be subject to a difficult, dangerous, and/or embarrassing {{initiation ceremony}}. These ceremonies are another sticking point between frats and college administrations, as they have been known to devolve into hazing and outright abuse (as famously portrayed in ''AnimalHouse'').

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Fraternitiess choose their new members once or twice a year, always in the fall and, more rarely, in the spring. The application process is called ''rushing''. An applicant will choose to rush anywhere from one to several frats, who will then accept or reject the applicant. Once selected, the new member is called a ''pledge''; he or she may be subject to a difficult, dangerous, and/or embarrassing {{initiation ceremony}}. These ceremonies are another sticking point between frats and college administrations, as they have been known to devolve into hazing and outright abuse (as famously portrayed in ''AnimalHouse'').
''Film/AnimalHouse'').
9th Aug '16 8:48:03 AM drwhom
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School funding is both complicated and politically sensitive. The US has the highest per-pupil spending for schooling in the world. A large part of funding of schools is based on property taxes for the area where the school is located. If you guess that means school districts in poor areas have a lot less money than those in rich areas, you'd be absolutely correct. Even worse, the gap is self-creating: the quality of local public schools is by ''far'' the most influential criteria on the cost of housing and real estate, and thus property tax, in any given area. In fact, many rich suburbs and gated communities were created partly because parents wanted their kids to have the best free education money could buy, and bought it. To help keep things in balance, some courts have ordered various corrective remedies, such as taking all the money in the state and averaging it out. In some places, the state will add money, taken from the general fund or from other taxes. Some states use whatever funds come from the state lottery. And some will use federal grants based on other criteria. A few states use alternate taxes, such as income taxes (in Ohio, using property taxes to fund schools has been ruled illegal per the state constitution.)

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School funding is both complicated and politically sensitive. The US has the highest per-pupil spending for schooling in the world. A large part of funding of schools is based on property taxes for the area where the school is located. If you guess that means school districts in poor areas have a lot less money than those in rich areas, you'd be absolutely correct. Even worse, the gap is self-creating: the quality of local public schools is by ''far'' the most influential criteria on the cost of housing and real estate, and thus property tax, in any given area. In fact, many rich suburbs and gated communities were created partly because parents wanted their kids to have the best free education money could buy, and bought it. To help keep things in balance, some courts have ordered various corrective remedies, such as taking all the money in the state and averaging it out. In some places, the state will add money, taken from the general fund or from other taxes. Some states use whatever funds come from the state lottery. And some will use federal grants based on other criteria. A few states use alternate taxes, such as income taxes (in Ohio, using property taxes to fund schools has been ruled illegal per the state constitution.)
) State aid allows school systems in some poorer areas, notably some in Maryland and New Jersey, to spend far more per pupil than school systems in some wealthier areas; however, the promised improvement in school outcomes has not occurred.
30th Jun '16 10:15:54 AM ScrewySqrl
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Grades out of 100% translate into a letter grading system. Passing grades are A, B, C, and D, although some districts do not use the D grade. A failing grade is an F. Plus and minus are used to show distinctions between grades; some students and their parents are [[AluminumChristmasTrees surprised to find]] that there's such a thing as an F- (usually a grade of 50 or below). A student's grades in high school translate into a grade point average, or GPA, according to a formula. By most systems, the highest GPA possible is a 4.0. [=GPAs=] are of great interest to colleges; they also determine class rank. The two students with the highest class ranks are the valedictorian and salutatorian, who usually have to make a speech at graduation.[[note]]Students who earn these positions will probably regard it as "GET to make a speech" instead, though it's possible for bookish-but-exceptionally-shy students to dread the traditional graduation speech... while those who are in no danger of being in that position probably dread them also, but for different reasons.[[/note]]

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Grades out of 100% translate into a letter grading system. Passing grades are A, B, C, and D, although some districts do not use the D grade. A failing grade is an F. Plus and minus are used to show distinctions between grades; some students and their parents are [[AluminumChristmasTrees surprised to find]] that there's such a thing as an F- (usually a grade of 50 or below). A student's grades in high school translate into a grade point average, or GPA, according to a formula. By most systems, the highest GPA possible is a 4.0. [[note]]Advanced Placement classes (college level classes taken to get an early start on college classes) often get +1 to the basic GPA score for each letter, making a 5.0 unlikely, but possible.[[/note]] [=GPAs=] are of great interest to colleges; they also determine class rank. The two students with the highest class ranks are the valedictorian and salutatorian, who usually have to make a speech at graduation.[[note]]Students who earn these positions will probably regard it as "GET to make a speech" instead, though it's possible for bookish-but-exceptionally-shy students to dread the traditional graduation speech... while those who are in no danger of being in that position probably dread them also, but for different reasons.[[/note]]
29th Jun '16 2:21:56 PM LaptopGuy
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For many students, while they may have had rudimentary classes in grade school, high school will be the first time they take a serious foreign language course. They are offered in all high schools, because most colleges have a foreign-language requirement. Spanish and French are the two standards; other popular options include Italian, German, and Chinese (given the large ethnic communities with those backgrounds). Foreign language classes are fairly expensive, what with audio tapes and whatnot, so the number of languages a school offers is a decent gauge of how much funding it has. Modern foreign language education got its start in UsefulNotes/{{Florida}} (particularly UsefulNotes/{{Miami}}) in TheSixties, when UsefulNotes/{{Cuba}}n exiles sought to have their children learn Spanish in school; before that, there was a period from UsefulNotes/WorldWarI (when anti-[[UsefulNotes/ImperialGermany German]] paranoia saw the effective destruction of German-American culture) to the early '60s when foreign languages were not taught in public schools in any form, and in fact speaking anything other than English in the classroom was seen as unpatriotic and a sign that one was rejecting assimilation.

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For many students, while they may have had rudimentary Spanish classes in grade school, high school will be the first time they take a serious foreign language course. They are offered in all high schools, because most colleges have a foreign-language requirement. Spanish and French are the two standards; other popular options include Italian, German, and Chinese (given the large ethnic communities with those backgrounds). Foreign language classes are fairly expensive, what with audio tapes and whatnot, so the number of languages a school offers is a decent gauge of how much funding it has. Modern foreign language education got its start in UsefulNotes/{{Florida}} (particularly UsefulNotes/{{Miami}}) in TheSixties, when UsefulNotes/{{Cuba}}n exiles sought to have their children learn Spanish in school; before that, there was a period from UsefulNotes/WorldWarI (when anti-[[UsefulNotes/ImperialGermany German]] paranoia saw the effective destruction of German-American culture) to the early '60s when foreign languages were not taught in public schools in any form, and in fact speaking anything other than English in the classroom was seen as unpatriotic and a sign that one was rejecting assimilation.



At many high schools, particularly [[TeenGenius motivated]] or [[MeddlingParents pressured]] students are permitted to take a subset of college courses. These courses are dubbed "dual enrollment" as the student can apply the class towards both their high school and college diplomas. These courses are often taken remotely, but certain programs exist that may allow students to actually spend part of their day on a local college campus. Though rare, occasionally a student will end up receiving an Associate's Degree before their high school diploma.

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At many high schools, particularly [[TeenGenius motivated]] or [[MeddlingParents pressured]] students are permitted to take a subset of college courses. These courses are dubbed "dual enrollment" as the student can apply the class towards both their high school and college diplomas. These courses are often taken remotely, but certain programs exist that may allow students to actually spend part of their day on a local college campus. More common, however, is cases of a college class being taught on the high school campus. Though rare, occasionally a student will end up receiving an Associate's Degree before their high school diploma.



It is the rule, not the exception, for a high school to have sports programs. School athletes tend to be at or near the top of the PopularityFoodChain, especially if they're on a winning team. A sizable chunk of a school's budget will be devoted to supporting its athletic programs, much to the ire of teachers and the more academically inclined. Student athletes are nominally required to maintain a certain GPA in order to stay on the team, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that student athletes have better than average disciplinary records and academic performance. However, there is often a lot of pressure placed on teachers from coaches, the administration, and the community to give athletes special favors in the grading department. Sometimes, even school districts will be redrawn in order for a high school to get at a hot prospect for its team. All of this is especially true in rural communities, where the high school football field or basketball court is often, along with [[AmericanChurches the church]], one of the main focal points of community life (as seen in ''FridayNightLights''). The most popular sports at the high school level are usually [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball football]] and UsefulNotes/{{basketball}}, although most schools also have [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball soccer]], UsefulNotes/{{ice hockey}} (mostly in New England and the Great Lakes states), wrestling, volleyball (mostly a girls' sport in the US, with California a partial exception), lacrosse (mainly in the eastern states), baseball and track programs.

Most schools offer both boys' and girls' sports. This is due to Title IX, a law passed in 1972 which mandates that schools offer sufficient athletic opportunities to female students. Controversy arises from the fact that schools with limited budgets are often forced to cut boys' sports in order to establish and maintain equivalent girls' sports programs (the general perception, more often than not, is that boys' sports are more worthy of attention). The benefit is that programs and opportunities for girls (and for women in college) have become dramatically better, and the results play out on the international stage — the United States is a powerhouse in international women's sports. For example, while the US men's national soccer team has long been viewed as a joke by the rest of the world (although nowadays, it's seen as a middle-tier team), the women's soccer team has won three FIFA Women's World Cups and four Olympic gold medals in the last twenty years. The main sports for female athletes tend to be basketball, soccer, softball, track, volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse (again, especially in the eastern US), ice hockey (again, mostly in its US heartland of the northern tier of states) and, of course, [[TheCheerleader cheerleading]].

For the record, the status of cheerleading as a legitimate sport is a point of controversy in many school districts. On one hand, there are those who feel listing it as a sport is an excuse for schools to de-fund other women's sports programs while still maintaining compliance with Title IX. On the other hand, there are those who feel that not calling it a sport is an insult to the strenuous activity that cheerleaders do and the risk that they put themselves in — statistically, cheerleading is the most dangerous athletic activity in high schools, even more so than football.[[note]]''You'' try landing all those flips without breaking your neck.[[/note]] Some schools dodge the issue entirely by making their cheer squads co-ed, though there is a strong stigma against male cheerleaders in such schools — oftentimes, they're stereotyped (unfairly) as either AmbiguouslyGay or, conversely, having joined the squad just to [[AllGuysWantCheerleaders get laid]].

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It is the rule, not the exception, for a high school to have sports programs. School athletes tend to be at or near the top of the PopularityFoodChain, especially if they're on a winning team.team and the sport they play is basketball and/or football. A sizable chunk of a school's budget will be devoted to supporting its athletic programs, much to the ire of teachers and the more academically inclined. Student athletes are nominally required to maintain a certain GPA in order to stay on the team, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that student athletes have better than average disciplinary records and academic performance. However, there is often a lot of pressure placed on teachers from coaches, the administration, and the community to give athletes special favors in the grading department. Sometimes, even school districts will be redrawn in order for a high school to get at a hot prospect for its team. All of this is especially true in rural communities, where the high school football field or basketball court is often, along with [[AmericanChurches the church]], one of the main focal points of community life (as seen in ''FridayNightLights''). The most popular sports at the high school level are usually [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball football]] and UsefulNotes/{{basketball}}, although most schools also have [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball soccer]], UsefulNotes/{{ice hockey}} (mostly in New England and the Great Lakes states), wrestling, volleyball (mostly a girls' sport in the US, with California a partial exception), lacrosse (mainly in the eastern states), baseball and track programs.

Most schools offer both boys' and girls' sports. This is due to Title IX, a law passed in 1972 which mandates that schools offer sufficient athletic opportunities to female students. Controversy arises from the fact that schools with limited budgets are often forced to cut boys' sports in order to establish and maintain equivalent girls' sports programs (the general perception, more often than not, is that boys' sports are more worthy of attention). The benefit is that programs and opportunities for girls (and for women in college) have become dramatically better, and the results play out on the international stage — the United States is a powerhouse in international women's sports. For example, while the US men's national soccer team has long been viewed as a joke by the rest of the world (although nowadays, it's seen as a middle-tier team), the women's soccer team has won three FIFA Women's World Cups and four Olympic gold medals in the last twenty years. It's saying something when there aren't that many well-known male American soccer players but also few big-name female footballers from outside the U.S. The main sports for female athletes tend to be basketball, soccer, softball, track, volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse (again, especially in the eastern US), ice hockey (again, mostly in its US heartland of the northern tier of states) and, of course, [[TheCheerleader cheerleading]].

For the record, the status of cheerleading as a legitimate sport is a point of controversy in many school districts. On one hand, there are those who feel listing it as a sport is an excuse for schools to de-fund other women's sports programs while still maintaining compliance with Title IX. On the other hand, there are those who feel that not calling it a sport is an insult to the strenuous activity that cheerleaders do and the risk that they put themselves in in, and that they don't have the protections given to other athletes — statistically, cheerleading is the most dangerous athletic activity in high schools, even more so than football.[[note]]''You'' try landing all those flips without breaking your neck.[[/note]] Some schools dodge the issue entirely by making their cheer squads co-ed, though there is a strong stigma against male cheerleaders in such schools — oftentimes, they're stereotyped (unfairly) as either AmbiguouslyGay or, conversely, having joined the squad just to [[AllGuysWantCheerleaders get laid]].
25th May '16 9:11:58 PM KYCubbie
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Some states, notably Texas, have school districts that are organized and act independent of municipal governments. This is done to prevent conflicts of interest between schools and cities and also for demographic reasons. It often leads to Gerrymandering, either for political, demographic, or (usually) for [[SeriousBusiness varsity sports]] reasons. On the other hand, Virginia has no "school districts" as such—public K–12 education is operated by a subdivision of a local government (city, town, or county) known as a "school division" (though, like the rest of the country, Virginia has local school boards).

to:

Some states, notably Texas, have school districts that are organized and act independent of municipal governments. This is done to prevent conflicts of interest between schools and cities and also for demographic reasons. It often leads to Gerrymandering, either for political, demographic, or (usually) for [[SeriousBusiness varsity sports]] reasons. On the other hand, Virginia has no "school districts" as such—public K–12 education is operated by a subdivision of a local government (city, town, or county) known as a "school division" (though, like the rest of the country, Virginia has local school boards).
boards).[[note]]The main difference between a Virginia school division and a school district in the rest of the country is tax-related. In the rest of the country, school districts have the authority to levy taxes. Virginia law gives no taxing power to its school divisions—any school-related taxes are levied by the local government, with the funds then provided to its school division.[[/note]]
25th May '16 9:05:35 PM KYCubbie
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Some states, notably Texas, have school districts that are organized and act independent of municipal governments. This is done to prevent conflicts of interest between schools and cities and also for demographic reasons. It often leads to Gerrymandering, either for political, demographic, or (usually) for [[SeriousBusiness varsity sports]] reasons. On the other hand, Virginia has no "school districts" as such—public K–12 education is operated by a subdivision of a local government (city, town, or county) known as a "school division".

to:

Some states, notably Texas, have school districts that are organized and act independent of municipal governments. This is done to prevent conflicts of interest between schools and cities and also for demographic reasons. It often leads to Gerrymandering, either for political, demographic, or (usually) for [[SeriousBusiness varsity sports]] reasons. On the other hand, Virginia has no "school districts" as such—public K–12 education is operated by a subdivision of a local government (city, town, or county) known as a "school division".
division" (though, like the rest of the country, Virginia has local school boards).
20th Feb '16 9:43:40 PM GrammarNavi
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College sports are SeriousBusiness in the United States, a multi-billion dollar enterprise with considerable investment by the television {{networks}}, the professional leagues and corporate sponsors. Some schools have teams so successful that the reputation of the team is stronger than that of the school it plays for. Playing well for a big team is often a surefire way to get noticed by the professional leagues. Schools with sports programs in NCAA Divisions I and II (but not Division III) are allowed to employ athletic scholarships — in exchange for a student playing on the team, the school will pay for that student's education, often in full. Big sports schools have "recruiters" that are sent to high schools (and sometimes even [[http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/13-year-old-commits-to-USC-and-pancakes-for-b?urn=ncaaf,217861 middle schools]]) to entice promising players to come and play for their team. College sports often produce rivalries comparable to the EnglishPremierLeague — witness the vitriol slung between fans of Ohio State and Michigan (called the greatest rivalry in North American sports by Creator/{{ESPN}}), or Duke and UNC, or Auburn and Alabama, or UCLA and USC, or...

to:

College sports are SeriousBusiness in the United States, a multi-billion dollar enterprise with considerable investment by the television {{networks}}, the professional leagues and corporate sponsors. Some schools have teams so successful that the reputation of the team is stronger than that of the school it plays for. Playing well for a big team is often a surefire way to get noticed by the professional leagues. Schools with sports programs in NCAA Divisions I and II (but not Division III) are allowed to employ athletic scholarships — in exchange for a student playing on the team, the school will pay for that student's education, often in full. Big sports schools have "recruiters" that are sent to high schools (and sometimes even [[http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/13-year-old-commits-to-USC-and-pancakes-for-b?urn=ncaaf,217861 middle schools]]) to entice promising players to come and play for their team. College sports often produce rivalries comparable to the EnglishPremierLeague UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague — witness the vitriol slung between fans of Ohio State and Michigan (called the greatest rivalry in North American sports by Creator/{{ESPN}}), or Duke and UNC, or Auburn and Alabama, or UCLA and USC, or...
10th Jan '16 4:56:29 PM phoenix
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It is the rule, not the exception, for a high school to have sports programs. School athletes tend to be at or near the top of the PopularityFoodChain, especially if they're on a winning team. A sizable chunk of a school's budget will be devoted to supporting its athletic programs, much to the ire of teachers and the more academically inclined. Student athletes are nominally required to maintain a certain GPA in order to stay on the team, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that student athletes have better than average disciplinary records and academic performance. However, there is often a lot of pressure placed on teachers from coaches, the administration, and the community to give athletes special favors in the grading department. Sometimes, even school districts will be redrawn in order for a high school to get at a hot prospect for its team. All of this is especially true in rural communities, where the high school football field or basketball court is often, along with [[AmericanChurches the church]], one of the main focal points of community life (as seen in ''FridayNightLights''). The most popular sports at the high school level are usually [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball football]] and UsefulNotes/{{basketball}}, although most schools also have [[TheBeautifulGame soccer]], UsefulNotes/{{ice hockey}} (mostly in New England and the Great Lakes states), wrestling, volleyball (mostly a girls' sport in the US, with California a partial exception), lacrosse (mainly in the eastern states), baseball and track programs.

to:

It is the rule, not the exception, for a high school to have sports programs. School athletes tend to be at or near the top of the PopularityFoodChain, especially if they're on a winning team. A sizable chunk of a school's budget will be devoted to supporting its athletic programs, much to the ire of teachers and the more academically inclined. Student athletes are nominally required to maintain a certain GPA in order to stay on the team, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that student athletes have better than average disciplinary records and academic performance. However, there is often a lot of pressure placed on teachers from coaches, the administration, and the community to give athletes special favors in the grading department. Sometimes, even school districts will be redrawn in order for a high school to get at a hot prospect for its team. All of this is especially true in rural communities, where the high school football field or basketball court is often, along with [[AmericanChurches the church]], one of the main focal points of community life (as seen in ''FridayNightLights''). The most popular sports at the high school level are usually [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball football]] and UsefulNotes/{{basketball}}, although most schools also have [[TheBeautifulGame [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball soccer]], UsefulNotes/{{ice hockey}} (mostly in New England and the Great Lakes states), wrestling, volleyball (mostly a girls' sport in the US, with California a partial exception), lacrosse (mainly in the eastern states), baseball and track programs.
22nd Dec '15 8:33:29 PM KYCubbie
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Fraternities often have nicknames: Delta Delta Delta, for example, will probably be called "Tri-Delt". They always have reputations (e.g. "mostly Hispanic women", "mostly biology students", [[BreadEggsMilkSquick "mostly alcoholic date-rapists"]]), and they almost always have rivalries and/or partnerships with other fraternities. They are almost always single-sex organizations (hence the delineation between fraternities and sororities), and until ''very'' recently, were just as likely to be all people of the same race or ethnic group. There ''are'' some coed Greek organizations (sometimes called "societies"), but these are pretty rare. Fraternities and sororities have developed a reputation for [[WackyFratboyHijinx partying and drinking alarming quantities of alcohol]], especially if they are not affiliated with a particular professional or religious attachment. This is largely TruthInTelevision, and has caused some college to ban all Greek organizations from the campus. Remember, college is where many Americans will be both 1) exposed to alcohol and 2) away from parents or other authority figures who are likely to enforce the 21-year-old drinking age mandated by law. Furthermore, any American college student who waits until 21 to drink was actively trying to avoid it — anyone who wants to drink at college is going to have no trouble finding an of-age buddy to buy them beer.

to:

Fraternities and sororities often have nicknames: the real-life sorority Delta Delta Delta, for example, will probably be is typically called "Tri-Delt". They always have reputations (e.g. "mostly Hispanic women", "mostly biology students", [[BreadEggsMilkSquick "mostly alcoholic date-rapists"]]), and they almost always have rivalries and/or partnerships with other fraternities. They are almost always single-sex organizations (hence the delineation between fraternities and sororities), and until ''very'' recently, were just as likely to be all people of the same race or ethnic group. There ''are'' some coed Greek organizations (sometimes called "societies"), but these are pretty rare. Fraternities and sororities have developed a reputation for [[WackyFratboyHijinx partying and drinking alarming quantities of alcohol]], especially if they are not affiliated with a particular professional or religious attachment. This is largely TruthInTelevision, and has caused some college to ban all Greek organizations from the campus. Remember, college is where many Americans will be both 1) exposed to alcohol and 2) away from parents or other authority figures who are likely to enforce the 21-year-old drinking age mandated by law. Furthermore, any American college student who waits until 21 to drink was actively trying to avoid it — anyone who wants to drink at college is going to have no trouble finding an of-age buddy to buy them beer.
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