Talk:Education in the United States

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Former good article Education in the United States was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Class photo[edit]

Does the high school class like to see their picture on Wikipedia without being asked? Who is the photographer anyway, their teacher, a random stranger that passed by the classroom? And he gives it away, free to use (despite what Wikipedia claims), without caring about the privacy of the students? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Soapboxing in Secondary Education Section[edit]

I have removed the following paragraph from "Secondary Education":

The time investment and high cost of post-secondary education is of great concern for a great many people. Integrating high school, college, and vocational training is a solution worth pursuing. High achieving students are bogged down with redundant classes and rising educational costs. The same can be said of high schools trying to staff and fund more specialized programs for their students. Bachelor’s degrees are taking longer to complete and the costs have skyrocketed over the past few years and show no sign of relenting. Combining the more difficult high school programs with the lower level college programs and offering vocational programs to those not going to continue with an academic degree offer a way to solve some of these problems.

Seems like somebody is soapboxing here - it needs serious work to be brought back into line. It makes various claims about the education system without any sources - if whoever put it in there wants to put it back with the proper sources they are more than welcome. Prawn Skewers (talk) 10:15, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Education index of 99.9[edit]

"The United Nations assigned an Education Index of 99.9 to the United States, ranking it number 1 in the world, a position it shares with about 20 other nations.[1]"

- not true, at least not true according to the link given to support this claim. Education index for the US is 0.97 (which is a good result, but not number 1 in the world).

I remove this statement until valid evidence is provided. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:39, 28 May 2007‎ (UTC)


I would suggest adding information under curriculum issues information on the achievement gap and English language learners. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:31, 18 January 2005‎ (UTC)

Percents that don't Add Up[edit]

The current second paragraph of the the article has information that the cited source does not explicitly state. The line reads

"Private schools are generally free to determine their own curriculum and staffing policies, with voluntary accreditation available through independent regional accreditation authorities. "88% of school-age children attend public schools, 9% attend private schools, and nearly 3% are homeschooled."

The source of the information (National Center for Education Statistics, Back to School Statistics) never gives any of these percents in the article. This is the relevant paragraph from the page:

"In fall 2014, about 49.8 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 35.1 million will be in prekindergarten through grade 8 and 14.7 million will be in grades 9 through 12. An additional 5.0 million students are expected to attend private schools. The fall 2014 public school enrollment is expected to remain near the record enrollment level of fall 2013."

Notice that the paragraph does not mention homeschooling at all. It is likely that the "3%" statistic came from the Homeschooling page of the National Center for Education Statistics:

"Approximately 3 percent of the school-age population was homeschooled in the 2011–12 school year." This page should be cited as well in order to prevent confusion. I would chance a guess and say that the last editor came up with the percents by the following:

49.8 million students attending public elementary and secondary schools + 5.0 million attending private schools = 54.8 million students

5 million privately enrolled students ÷ 54.8 million total enrolled students ≈ 9.1% of students attend private schools

100% of students − ≈9% Private − 3% Homeschooled = ≈88% of school-age children attend public schools

To summarize, the paragraph has these issues:

  • It fails to cite a correct source for the "3%" statistic. I suggest citing the National Center for Education Statistics Homeschooling page.
  • The percents given are not actually from the source. They were probably arrived at algebraically
  • The percents (88, 9, and 3) all add to 100%. That would mean that 100% of school-aged children are schooled in some way. What about the children who are school-aged but don't attend school, such as high school dropouts?
  • It is inaccurate to say these are percents of school-aged children (except for the 3%) because the other two numbers are about children who are in school. They are not the same thing. That's the reason why the total is incorrectly 100%.
(not sure where to answer this with extra subsection below which is signed by the author.
Anyway, I agree generally. I would like to point out that some students are double enrolled, so the totals should come to more than 100%, another giveaway that the figures have been "forced." The double enrollment is generally home schoolers also enrolled in public schools, but private schools may have some double enrollees. In a minority of states there is no anti-Catholic constitutional amendment, and a parochial school student could enroll in a class not offered by his/her school of first choice. Student7 (talk) 21:38, 23 February 2015 (UTC)


"Homeschooling." National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

"Back to School Statistics." National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. (talk) 22:29, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Headings and ordering[edit]

I have reworked to headings into a structure which should be clear, and have done a small amount of reordering (to keep K-12 funding with K-12 etc). I haven't added to removed any content. PeterEastern (talk)

Middle school, usually and sometimes[edit]

Middle school provides one case of a general problem, perhaps the most severe case. This article shows a flow chart with age and grade scales in the margins. Its "middle school" covers grades 5 to 8; students enter after grade 4 and enter high school beginning grade 9. A subsequent chart shows middle school covering 5-8 or 6-8 with "junior high school" beginning grade 6 or 7. Meanwhile our article middle school says "Usually, Middle School starts in the seventh grade. Some of the middle schools start at the sixth grade." --says prominently, for that is a whole paragraph in section United States.

Do we --perhaps in some US and/or Education wikiproject or task force-- have numerical data about the official usages, counting either students or jurisdictions? Do we know which or even how many states have uniform school classification terminology or organization, rather than vary by district?

We should convey the size of such minorities (I feel sure in this case) as middle school beginning in grade 5 or grade 7. Minorities of some small size may be relegated to footnotes that use language such as "less than 10%".

The same holds for school-entering ages. Do we have numerical data about delaying first grade until after children's sixth birthdays (72 months)? Or routinely taking first grade students who are, say, 68 months old. Th

Prose and illustrations should mainly --or wholly, with footnotes for small minorities-- cover large-majority terminology and organization.

--P64 (talk) 19:16, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Good point. I am so sick of seeing ages and grades changing for middle school.
Ed Secy says 10-15. A little longer than I would have liked, but sticks to grade eight as the end year. Don't look for much else in speech, it doesn't cover what we want.
Last line of this thing contains grades, but I don't know how RS it is
This one lists ages 11-14 for middle school which sounds more realistic to me.counter drug oriented:
Confirms the grade 6-8 statement. Says 11-13:
I skipped some interesting looking pdf documents because I can't seem to read those efficiently any more.
Bottom line. Grade composition confirmed. No allowance for "minority" of schools starting in grade five. Age composition bracketed but hardly confirmed. Nothing on skew for younger or older students.
I agree we need to nail this down. We need good cites. Student7 (talk) 22:33, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Can someone take a look at the article for Middle School as well? Both of these pages say Middle School starts with Grade 6 and indicates that private schools also follow the same model. I grew up in Dallas in the 80s and 90s, graduated in 1999. I only went to public school for 1st grade, and private school up until I graduated. Most private schools around here have Middle School grades as 5-8. There needs to be a paragraph (in the United States section of the Middle School page) and on here that states many schools also have middle school starting with grade 5. The Middle School article seems to focus on public schools. Since I went to private school, I didn't really use the term "Junior High," though it could be used in reference to grades 7 and 8 or 7-9. I started attending my private school from 5th grade - that was Middle School (Grades 5-8). Our High School was called "Upper School" and referred to Grades 9-12. Junior Varsity was usually 9th and 10th graders, and Varsity was 11th and 12th - unless you were super athletic, then as a freshman or sophomore you could join the Varsity teams. I think we need to clarify the age ranges. They vary from school to school and city/state to city/state, but the way the two articles are worded make it seem as if Middle School always starts at Grade 6 - which is not true. CreativeSoul7981 (talk) 17:28, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Not quite a comprehensive answer. The first two junior high schools that came up on a Google search both go to eighth grade: 1, 2. I'm not going to bother to search further; obviously, the terms are very fluid. HGilbert (talk) 14:27, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Kind of proves the point, doesn't it? Two old school districts with the original buildings housing 9th grade, but no longer.
In my hometown, there is a building labeled "(Village) Academy." The original 19th century building was for students preparing (individually) for college exams. Tutors were available. There was no "class assignment." In the 20th century, this became the local high school, which outgrew the building and moved. The Elementary school stills calls itself "(Village) Academy!" So do the administrators collude on wrongful naming? Yes! Student7 (talk) 23:26, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Note that without much trouble, I found correctly named Junior High school at the top of a search (has ninth grade): And a department of education (not sure which one) deliberately distinguishing between middle schools and junior high schools. If they are identical, why make the distinction? Student7 (talk) 19:05, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

The racial achievement gap and citing Richard Murray[edit]

"The racial achievement gap is complicated by issues of social class, institutional racism, and civil injustice, yet some multivariate analyses have shown that it exists independently of these factors both in the United States and world-wide." The second clause in this sentence is misleading and inappropriately-worded. The two authors' methods and interpretations of their own data are so controversial and widely-contested that I don't think it's suitable to claim that they actually show anything. Other studies provide alternative explanations to the racial achievement gap that perhaps don't directly rebuke but powerfully contradict Richard Murray and Richard Lynn, yet the paragraph on racial achievement differences presents only one source where an alternative theory can be found. In my opinion, this shows bias towards one group's theory. I only changed the wording in one sentence but will make a Wikipedia account and return to add more information. (talk) 05:03, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

When material like this by recognized scholars is nonetheless controversial, as I agree it is here, the appropriate thing is to report accurately both on the original research and the controversy. To turn an "analysis" into a "claim" is to misrepresent their methods. But we can link to the controversy, on the page about their work. HGilbert (talk) 21:21, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
To say that they "have shown" something through analysis is to claim something, and that's exactly where the controversy lies. No one questions their analysis. The question is in their interpretation of it and whether it provides actual evidence for their conclusions. I'm not averse to having them included; I said the wording is misleading and inappropriate. (talk) 14:25, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Somehow, the article must represent a statistical result as having a different objectivity than an opinion. I have tried an alternative wording, which may not be perfect. Can we find the middle ground? HGilbert (talk) 17:52, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I'm satisfied with the new wording. I'd like to come and add a few other theories, but I'm very busy and this is not at the top of my priorities. Thank you for being willing to strike a compromise. (talk) 23:34, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I still feel that some reference to the statistical results should be made. It is misleading to call data collection and analysis a "claim". It would be helpful to have a third opinion. HGilbert (talk) 00:06, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Sexist sentence[edit]

"Parents and educators are concerned about how to motivate males to become better students", Implying that any gender is better or worse is simply unacceptable. Bumblebritches57 (talk) 23:48, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Article gives adequate, cited context. What change are you proposing to improve the article? Are you suggesting that the citation is not WP:RS? Student7 (talk) 19:28, 2 January 2015 (UTC)