Cultural and historical reasons have led to a highly decentralized and diversified education system in the American Republic. There are no federal or national institutions save for the military academies, and within most states control of local school districts is devolved to a locally elected school board of non-professionals. Thus, the exact methods, curricula, standards, and practices in education vary from district to district and from state to state. Elementary and secondary education is funded by state or local governments and free to the student; slightly more than 11% of the national student population is enrolled in private education, which range from independent boarding schools to parochial schools operated by Catholic dioceses and orders to schools operated by for-profit consortia. A growing number of students are also home-schooled by their families or private tutors. In most states, education begins at age 5, when children are enrolled in kindergarten. Kindergarten is followed by first grade and then four or five more years of elementary school. After elementary education, students enroll in so-called middle school or junior high school, which encompasses grades 6-8, 7-8, or 7-9 depending on the local practice. High school, i.e. senior high school follows for grades 9-12 or 10-12 depending on the local practice. The high school years are also referred to as freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. Starting in 2002, students are required to take periodic standardized achievement tests to be used to rate their performance and that of their schools and districts. K-12 education reformers have succeeded in different areas at creating charter schools, which release a school from certain regulations under a contract to exceed performance; magnet schools, which draw students from a wide area to focus on a particular subject; and school choice programs, in which parents are permitted to select the school their child will attend. During the eleventh or twelfth grades, students intending to pursue higher education apply to postsecondary institutions and take a battery of national examinations known by their initials, such as PSAT/NMSQT, SAT/SAT II, ACT, ASVAB, ELPT, AP, CLEP, and IB. For those who do not, education is typically compulsory between the ages of 6 or 7 and 16. Those without a high school diploma can complete a course known as the GED as adults, which is considered equivalent. Most students continue to post-secondary education, generally referred to as college (i.e. the stage of education, regardless of whether the institution is named a "college," "university," or "institute"). All states sponsor subsidized universities or specialized college systems, and there exist a substantial number of private institutions. The federal government sponsors a number of financial aid programs for higher education in the form of loans, grants, work-study, community service grant, and military service grant programs. In the case of a junior college or community college, the student enrolls in a two-year proram resulting in an associate's degree, usually resulting in certification in a career field. Larger colleges and universities grant bachelor's degrees (e.g. A.B., B.S.) after a 4-year program, although some specialized degrees (e.g. B.Arch, B.F.A.) are stipulated to be 5-year programs. Post-graduate education for masters, doctorate, or professional degrees such as the M.D., J.D., or Ph.D. is supported by the university systems and in some cases by specialized institutions. Continuing education programs are sponsored by many institutions, and cooperative extension programs are required of "land grant" and "sea grant" universities which received land or funding from the federal government at their founding. The U.S. claims a literacy rate exceeding 97%.
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AOL Real Estate: Schools
Directory of public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities with information on enrollment, staffing and student demographics.
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Department of State
Includes coverage of International Visitor Program, Fulbright Program, Office of English Language Programs, Educational Information and Resources Branch, International Exchanges, and related programs.
College For Every Student
A nonprofit, national organization dedicated to bettering the nation's schools through outside funding and community involvement.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Seeks (CHCI) to link higher education resources with Hispanics throughout the United States. CHCI's mission is to develop the next generation of Latino leaders.
Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)
A civilian agency of the U.S. who oversees all oversea schools in military bases.
Education Law Association
Nonprofit, nonadvocacy organization that provides unbiased information about current legal issues affecting education in schools, colleges, and universities.
Weekly news on American education issues. Searchable archives.
The U.S. alumni membership organization which supports and promotes the Fulbright Program of international educational and cultural exchange
Global SchoolNet Foundation
Provides online collaborative learning through projects, communication tools and professional development.
The Guardian - US Education
Collected news, analysis and commentary relating to education in the United States.
Serves children with varying degrees of disabilities through Heartspring School, the Growing Place and the Hearing Center. Details on national and regional programs based out of Wichita, Kansas.
Huntington Learning Centers
Nationally franchised tutoring and enrichment programs searchable by zip code. Franchise and affiliate inquiry forms.
National Center for Education Statistics
NCES collects, analyzes and makes available data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.
National Center for Science Education
Clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and certain other theories out.
National Education Goals Panel (NEGP) Archives
The NEGP was a bipartisan and intergovernmental body of federal and state officials created in July 1990 to assess and report state and national progress toward achieving the National Education Goals. Though dissolved in 2002, its publications and findings are archived here on this site.
National Head Start Association
A private not-for-profit membership organization representing the many participants.
National Public School District Locator
Enter search data for a county or city to locate information on the school district including a list of schools.
National Rural Education Association
Organization of rural school administrators, teachers, board members, regional service agency personnel, researchers, business and industry representatives and others interested in maintaining the vitality of rural school systems across the country.
Pennsylvania - Timothy School, The
An approved private non-profit day school in Berwyn serving children diagnosed with autism or pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
Rate My Teacher
A site that allows students to anonymously grade their teachers
Northeastern University program that prepares engineers, scientists, and other individuals with science backgrounds to assist middle school science teachers with teaching the physical sciences.
Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Network
Provides information from research and practice to those involved in educational improvement at the local, state, and regional levels.
School Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
National program, funded by the EPA, that provides information for school administrators, teachers, parents and pest control technicians on reducing pests in schools while reducing the amount of pesticides.
Find out about delays and closings of schools in numerous states.
Teaching Resource Center
Provides classroom teachers, administrators, and parents with affordable, innovative teaching materials and books for reading and math.
Two Worlds United Educational Foundation
Study abroad and student exchange programs for students and teachers who wish to travel or study an academic year, semester or summer abroad. FAQs, educational facts, program details, and contacts are provided.
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