A school is an educational establishment designed to offer learning environments and learning spaces for the education of children under the guidance of qualified teachers. Generally, all states have systems of public elementary schooling, which may be compulsory or not. In these systems, children progress through a sequence of primary schools, attended by teachers who are appointed for the particular post. At the end of the school year, they proceed to secondary schools, where they complete their further education. The process of progression from primary to secondary school and from secondary to tertiary school is known as the education process.
In the United States, public schools receive public funding based on the ability of a district to levy taxes. Because of this funding system, public schools have a curricular program that is mandated by state law. Curriculum in many schools is determined by the local educational authority. The majority of public schools in the United States follow a policy of academic accountability, based on the idea that students must be held accountable for their academic performance and the progress of each individual student, especially during their critical early years. These schools are required to establish and maintain comprehensive school policies that outline their academic curriculum, policies concerning discipline, and procedures for addressing behavior problems and concerns. All public schools must provide services that are essential to the education of their students, such as special education programs, physical education programs, English language arts programs, and access to the gifted and talented programs.
One alternative method of educating young people is the education through the provision of education through home schooling. There are different types of home schooling, including both public and private schools that operate according to the policies of the state. Homeschooling is a process in which the parents, guardians, or teachers involved in the education of a child select a specific curriculum, or a variety of curriculum, and use this curriculum to teach the child to an extent not typical for his/her age and surroundings. Parents who home school their children believe that it is more effective to teach children at their own pace, and therefore, are able to mold and shape the learning environment to ensure that it fosters growth and development. Although most states do not require that homeschool programs meet state requirements for accreditation, some states do have minimum standards that must be met. The National Association of School Psychologists has identified several benefits for home schooling families, such as socialization, increased self-confidence, and self-esteem, and greater self-control.
Another type of education program is provided through the public school system. Charter schools are public schools that are privately funded and operated by a privately owned company, or by a governmental agency, rather than by the local government. Charter schools are highly public, as they are funded either by fees paid to the public school system, or by a combination of fees and donations. In some cases, charter schools are publicly funded, but have separate financial infrastructures. For these reasons, charters have attracted a diverse range of students, from families who would not otherwise have considered enrolling their children in public schools, to students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and other extracurricular interests.
Magnet Schools are typically located within a school district, or within a specific geographic area. The schools generally have similar characteristics, such as age-specific tuition rates, uniformity in terms of academic and extracurricular activities, strong leadership, and similar student cultures. Most magnet schools are subject to a desegregating policy, and are almost all “parochial,” i.e., they are located within a defined area in the country or in a specific part of the world. Some parochial schools are Historically Black Colleges or Universities. These schools tend to attract students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and other unique qualities, and who live and attend in the area where they receive their education.
As compared to their traditional public and charter school counterparts, magnet schools generally provide more individualized attention to each student. In some cases, they also provide the opportunity for families to form very strong bonds with their students. This is because the curriculum is very carefully planned and based on the talents, interests, talents, work experience, personality, and academic needs of the students themselves. Because of this focus and flexibility, magnet schools afford students the opportunity to develop professionally, socially, ethically, and intellectually, which can often be difficult for a student to achieve in a traditional public school environment.