Are all US high school students taught the same things? This question often arises as a result of educational reforms in other countries. In the US, the curriculum is broad and students are expected to study English, math, science, foreign languages, history, art, music, physical education, and more. This does not, however, mean that all US high schools teach the same thing. In many ways, the curriculums of different countries vary dramatically, despite the same basic requirements.
The American education system is not without its own problems. For example, students in private schools get individualized attention and smaller class sizes. In private schools, parents expect results; in public schools, students must learn things on their own, learn to advocate for themselves, and do well in school. Students who have bad grades are often not motivated to go to school and learn. Standardized testing also destroys students’ creativity.
While many Americans believe that the standard course curriculum focuses on math and Romanticism, in reality, they aren’t. In fact, only 17 states mandate personal finance classes, which are essential for future financial security. Personal finance education, for example, is one of the seven most important subjects to learn in school. The current system focuses on algebra and Romanticism, rather than more life-critical skills.
While arbitrary learning chunks are still the mainstay of high school education, other reforms have been implemented. Some schools have incorporated reorganized yearly schedules and extended instructional periods. Likewise, mixed-age classes are common, where students spend two years with one teacher. Some schools have also rejected ability groups, recognizing that current standardized tests do not measure a wide range of abilities and learning styles.