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What are Public Schools?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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Public schools can be very different types of educational institutions, depending on the country being discussed. In most of the world, a public school is an educational institution run and funded by the government, usually through taxes. In the United Kingdom and related commonwealths, public schools are actually independent or private institutions that are run by organizations other than the government.

With the exception of the UK model, public schools are a result of the concept that a government has some responsibility for the education of its citizens. In consequence, most public schools are free to attend, or charge only a small materials fee. Countries follow very different schooling models, yet most provide public education throughout childhood and into the later teenage years.

Some countries, such as Denmark, also provide free university education to students that are citizens, while many others have some sort of partially government-subsidized university program. In the United States, the government operates hundreds of state colleges, yet students are required to pay tuition and other fees. Although there are some government loan and financial aid programs available to US students, many experts believe that the failure to properly subsidize state-run universities will lead to a less-educated public as well as creating a large number of young adults with considerable loan debt.

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In the United Kingdom, a public school is defined as the exact opposite form of institution. Public schools throughout the UK, Wales, Northern Ireland, and former UK territories such as India and Pakistan are privately-funded schools that often charge high tuition fees and set high admission standards. Tuition for UK model public schools often includes room and board, and many of the students live at the school during term. Many public schools in the UK feature impressive academic histories as well as a long tradition of family attendance over generations.

Australia features an interesting blended form of public schools, drawing from both British heritage and the more common concepts of public education. While schools are paid for by the government, academically advanced students can apply to accelerated programs called government selective schools. These institutions are comparable to college-prep schools and feature highly competitive atmospheres. For those unable or uninterested in accelerated education, the Australian government also operates general public schools as well.

In most countries where public education is common, schooling is compulsory to a certain age or grade level. To become a public school teacher, most countries require certain degrees from accredited universities, as well as good public standing. Governments often keep tabs on the public education system through the use of system-wide standardized tests. These tests, though highly controversial in determining intelligence or ability, do serve as an indication of basic skills such as literacy and simple mathematics.

The advantages of a public school system are evident in principle, if not always in practice. A country with an educated population is meant to increase skill level in the work force and improve public debate. Informed citizens may be more likely to make carefully thought out decisions regarding the future of the country. Whether most societies are actually achieving the lofty goals of public education is somewhat questionable, but nevertheless most experts agree that these goals are vital to the well-being of the state.

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suntan12
Post 4

Sneakers41-I have to say that children that attend public school and perform well get perks that other students do not have access to.

For example, in Miami children that perform well in high school are entitled to attend the local community college as a dual enrollment student and get to complete their high school studies along with their first two years of college.

They graduate with a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts degree. They are also entitled to participate in special scholarships for public school students.

sneakers41
Post 3

Moldova- There are a variety of K12 public schools. Aside from the traditional public schools, there are charter schools and even virtual schools.

Virtual public schools allow students to earn credits for taking courses in their home rather than attending classes in a traditional setting.

This gives parents another option when educating their children and can be a good option if the local school is deemed unsafe.

Many public schools face safety concerns and parents have considered this option. Home schooling as a movement has grown tremendously due to the parent’s growing dissatisfaction with the public school system.

Many seek more control over their child’s curriculum but may not be able to afford the private school tuition.

Moldova
Post 2

Latte31-

I have seen that site. You can search for schools regarding city or zip code and there is information regarding private schools as well. There is also a forum in which you can talk to other parents as well as a real estate feature that allows you to see homes in your target school’s area.

For example, the Weston public schools in Weston, Fl all rated a score of a 10 which is the highest possible rating.

You can also look at Westwood public schools, Clayton County public schools, Gwinnett County public schools, Henry County public schools, or even Boston public schools. The list is endless with respect to public elementry schools and high schools.

latte31
Post 1

A great site to find public schools in your area is greatschools.org.

This site offers information regarding the standardize test ratings as well the overall rating that the site gives the school.

The best feature however offers parental feedback which not only lets you see the rating the parents gave the school, but you also get to see the exact comments that the parents posted regarding the school.

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