This unit will be designed for middle school students. It will be taught to eight grade students. The purpose of this unit is twofold. First, it will explore education on a national, state and local level, and second it will help students develop and enhance their problem solving skills in mathematics, pre-algebra and algebra I.
To study American education is to study an incredibly vast and variegated enterprise. So immense is this activity that, including students and teachers, it presently involves more than one fourth of the nation’s population and costs the American people some 27 billion dollars every year.
There are few Americans whose lives have not been profoundly affected by the experience of attending school, whether for the purpose of learning their “ABC’s” or for undertaking advanced post-graduate research. The experiences of academic discipline, group interaction, and emotional adjustment that most Americans share during their school years constitute some of the most ultimately important influences in the shaping of the national character.
Education draws upon many different fields of human knowledge for aid in its endeavors. It takes from these areas appropriate understandings, skills, knowledge, and appreciations, and uses them to do its job more effectively. In addition, education has developed its own body of knowledge through research, experimentation, and careful thinking about its own problems.
Elementary schools, in their form and organization, are as varied as the people and communities supporting them. At no other level are American schools more functional or more adapted to the circumstances of the local communities.
While secondary education has become somewhat standardized into a few areas such as the academic, the vocational, and the comprehensive, higher education remains more diversified. One of the functions of the high school is to give young people the opportunity to associate with each other, thereby obtaining a certain degree of cultural unity as well as a general education. Individual needs, interests, and vocational objectives are included, but within a basic pattern that is unifying. Whatever else the child may be or become, he leaves the secondary school as an American citizen, shaped in the mold of basic American values. When this young person enters college, this unifying process continues at least during the freshman and sophomore years, but since the main function of higher education is diversity, professional preparation and orientation, the young adult must be offered a great variety of opportunities to study, to learn, and to develop skills.