Education in the US, this is a trip within your system. All children, regardless of their immigration status, are entitled to free public education from kindergarten through twelfth grade, including special education.
The United States has a decentralized school system, which means that the role of the central government in educational policy is limited, unlike other countries, and most of the laws that regulate education vary according to the state where the school is located. school.
Education is compulsory starting between five and eight years of age and up to 16 or 18 years, depending on each state.
Through these ages there are several educational levels: initial education, preschool, primary, intermediate and secondary. Each school year corresponds to a ‘grade’.
What are the degrees of education
Children can attend an early education or daycare program between zero and three years of age, all four can enter a preschool program, five at kindergarten and then enter elementary school, or elementary school in English , which goes from the first to the sixth grade.
For seventh and eighth grade students attend middle school in English, and after graduation enter high school or “high school”.
In high school they take the last four grades: ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth, and obtain their high school diploma between 17 and 18 years of age.
Education is more or less general up to that point and then young people have the option to learn a trade and obtain a professional degree or enter college or university to continue higher education.
It is only compulsory and free between kindergarten and twelfth grade.
This program, which was created more than 50 years ago, aims at the cognitive, social, emotional and physical development to prepare children (from 0 to 5 years old) to enter school so that they are ready to learn.
The Department of Education has a directory of state education agencies where you can check which states provide early and preschool education, as well as any other questions about kindergarten through twelfth grade education.
Basically there are two types of schools: public and private.
Public schools are free and are financed by paying federal and local taxes.
It is important to know that all children, regardless of their immigration status, are entitled to free public education from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
It is illegal for a school official to ask for proof of US citizenship to admit a young person to school.
When registering a student, a parent may be asked to provide the child’s medical records and proof of immunizations, documents proving the child’s identity, such as a birth certificate or proof that the child lives in the school district.
At no time should school officials use these documents to prove whether a child is a US citizen or not.
Types of public schools
– Traditional neighborhood schools: admit students who live within a certain territorial limit near the school. Each public school district establishes its own rules and limits for each school and it is advisable to consult with the district about which school is each child’s home according to their residential address.
School districts sometimes change the boundaries for neighborhood schools to balance enrollment, so parents should never assume that if they reside on the street where a school is located their child will be automatically assigned to that school.
– Charter schools: These are public schools that can recruit students from outside their own school district and have more leeway in their administrative functioning and teaching methods. Therefore they can be more innovative and respond better to the needs of their students than regular public schools. They are required to have better academic performance. They are governed by an agreement (charter) signed with school boards, which establishes its mission, teaching methods, evaluation and measurement of results.
Your child can attend any charter school in their district, or outside their district, as long as they meet the requirements that are requested and space is available. Charters that are in high demand usually allocate spaces by lottery.
– Magnet Schools: They usually have a particular focus, such as art or technology, or follow an organizational structure different from traditional schools, such as mixing different grades within a classroom. They may also operate at a specific time throughout the year and are not governed by neighborhood boundaries, but attract students from across the school district and must accept students on a non-discriminatory basis.
Private schools are administrated by entities that can be secular or religious, they select who they allow to enter and they are maintained with the payment of parents’ fees, donations or aid from the private sector.
Types of private schools
– Traditional private schools: They do not receive funds from the state. They establish their own admission criteria. Student families pay tuition or, in some cases, students receive scholarships to attend. Teachers, principals, administration advisors (and sometimes parents and students) decide the study plan, the teaching methodology and the registration requirements. There are religious women and laity. Private schools are not required to hire credentialed teachers or publish the qualified results of their tests.
– Alternative schools: These are schools whose educational philosophies are different from traditional programs. In general, alternative schools have small classes, a social and emotional development curriculum and an academic curriculum marked by their own pace. Some examples are the Montessori schools, which stimulate the independence of children and learning at their own pace, and the Waldorf schools, which emphasize creativity and the implementation of manual skills.
– Homeschooling: Another option is for parents to teach their children at home instead of sending them to a public or private school. Each state has different laws that govern education in the home. Parents can act as teachers or hire private tutors for a specific subject, and they can sit down to teach math and science by following a printed curriculum. Many communities have organizations that help homeschooling families by providing study programs and opportunities to meet other educators in the home.
Children with disabilities are also entitled to special education, which focuses on an individualized service to help them learn together with their peers without disabilities as much as possible.
If a child qualifies for special education he will receive individualized instruction and other key resources at no cost. The specialists who work with the child will focus on their strengths as well as their challenges. And parents will be important members of the team that decides what they need to make progress in school.
The first step in finding out if a child has a disability is to contact the principal of your school or special education, explain concerns about the child’s educational performance, and ask the school to conduct an evaluation under the IDEA as soon as possible.
IDEA is the federal law that defines and regulates special education. The law requires public schools to provide special education services for children who meet certain criteria and vary in age from 3 to 21.
Children under 3 can get help through IDEA early intervention services and can be very important in helping the young child develop and learn.
How to enroll a child in school?
Remember that all children, regardless of their immigration status, are entitled to free public education from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
To register a child at school you must ask about the process in the school district, call the school or go to the place personally.
Many school districts will ask you to apply for admission to more than one school by filling out a common application. Find out in your district what your policy is.
– Proof of age and identity: School authorities can ask for a birth certificate or other reliable document confirming the child’s identity and age (passport, school identification card, school record, report card, identification) military, hospital birth certificate, adoption record or baptism certificate). Some schools may also ask for a Social Security card or number, although providing this information is strictly voluntary and not having a Social Security number is not a reason to deny a child’s enrollment.
Proof of residency: You may be asked for a driver’s license, voter registration card, utility bill, rental agreement, tax return, proof of ownership (including a mortgage statement) or any other official document showing your name and direction. School officials must not use these documents to prove whether a child is a US citizen or not. Nor can they deny enrollment to a homeless child who can not provide documents proving their residential address.
– Vaccination records: Confirm with the school district what immunizations your child requires to be admitted to school.
– Vision and dental check-up: Some schools require vision and dental check-ups at certain ages.
-Registration and emergency forms: You may have to fill out registration forms and emergency medical authorizations.
– Auditions and Portfolios: Some schools with specific focuses (charter or magnet) require students to demonstrate their talent in performing or visual arts. It is usually an audition or the presentation of a portfolio of works.
– Private schools: Many private schools require an application form, teacher recommendations and past report cards. Some schools require interviewing your child and taking an assessment test.
For more specific information about the states visit the directory of state educational agencies prepared by the Department of Education or ask in your school district.
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