Today, while riding on BART, I read the book Understanding American Schools by Anne Copeland and Georgia Bennett. This book helps parents of school-age children understand the American educational system. It provides information about different types of schools, the structure of the school system, the academic curriculum and grades, your role as a parent, and daily customs in the classroom, to name a few of the topics covered.
I found it interesting to read about what American teachers value and to think about how these values carry into adulthood. For example, American teachers (in general) believe that individualism is good and should be taught. They encourage every child to be unique and highly value any sign that a child thinks for him or herself. Children often will be encouraged to express their opinions even if they differ from the teacher’s opinion. American teachers also believe that children should be “well-rounded.” This means that getting good grades is only a part of being a good student. Being “well-rounded” means doing extracurricular activities (non-academic activities, like sports, art, music and community service), being a good friend, and being a happy and friendly person.
So, if you need answers to questions about the American school system from pre-school through high school, I recommend this book.