Education in the United States 


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Education in the United States



Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory.

The ages for compulsory education vary by state. It begins from ages five to eight and ends from ages fourteen to eighteen.

School grades

Most children enter the public education system around ages five or six. The American school year traditionally begins in August or September, after the traditional summer recess. Children are assigned into year groups known as grades, beginning with preschool, followed by kindergarten and culminating in twelfth grade. Children customarily advance together from one grade to the next as a single cohort or "class" upon reaching the end of each school year in May or June, although developmentally disabled children may be held back a grade and gifted children may skip ahead early to the next grade.

The American educational system comprises 12 grades of study over 12 calendar years of primary and secondary education before graduating and becoming eligible for college admission.

After pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, there are five years in primary school (normally known as elementary school). After completing five grades, the student will enter junior high or middle school and then high school to get the high school diploma.

The U.S. uses ordinal numbers for naming grades, unlike Canada and Australia where cardinal numbers are preferred. Thus, Americans are more likely to say "First Grade" rather than "Grade One".

Typical ages and grade groupings in public and private schools may be found through the U.S. Department of Education. Many different variations exist across the country.

 

Harvard University

Harvard University is an American private Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature.

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College) chartered in the country. Harvard's history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Harvard was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard. Although it was never formally affiliated with a church, the college primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy.

Harvard's curriculum and students became increasingly secular throughout the 18th century and by the 19th century had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites.

Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's forty year tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a centralized research university, and Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war.

The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College. Drew Gilpin Faust was elected the 28th president in 2007 and is the first woman to lead the university.

Harvard has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world, standing at $32 billion as of September 2011.

The university comprises eleven separate academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area. Harvard's 210-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 km) northwest of downtown Boston. The business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in Allston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are located in the Longwood Medical Area.

As of 2010, Harvard employs about 2,100 faculty to teach and advise approximately 6,700 undergraduates (Harvard College) and 14,500 graduate and professional students. Eight U.S. presidents have been graduates, and 75 Nobel Laureates have been student, faculty, or staff affiliates. Harvard is also the alma mater of sixty-two living billionaires, the most in the country. The Harvard University Library is the largest academic library in the United States, and one of the largest in the world.

Elton Mayo

George Elton Mayo (1880 - 1949) was an Australian psychologist, sociologist and organization theorist.

He lectured at the University of Queensland from 1911 to 1923 before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, but spent most of his career at Harvard Business School (1926 - 1947), where he was professor of industrial research. On 18 April 1913 he married Dorothea McConnel in Brisbane, Australia. They had two daughters, Patricia and Gael.

Mayo is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement, and is known for his research including the Hawthorne Studies and his book The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization (1933). The research he conducted under the Hawthorne Studies of the 1930s showed the importance of groups in affecting the behavior of individuals at work.

Mayo's employees, Roethlisberger and Dickson, conducted the practical experiments. This enabled him to make certain deductions about how managers should behave. He carried out a number of investigations to look at ways of improving productivity, for example changing lighting conditions in the workplace.

What he found however was that work satisfaction depended to a large extent on the informal social pattern of the work group. Where norms of cooperation and higher output were established because of a feeling of importance, physical conditions or financial incentives had little motivational value. People will form work groups and this can be used by management to benefit the organization.

He concluded that people's work performance is dependent on both social issues and job content. He suggested a tension between workers' 'logic of sentiment' and managers' 'logic of cost and efficiency' which could lead to conflict within organizations.

Disagreement regarding his employees' procedure while conducting the studies:

The members of the groups whose behavior was studied were allowed to choose themselves.

Two women were replaced since they were chatting during their work. They were later identified as members of a leftist movement.

One Italian member was working above average since she had to care for her family alone. Thus she affected the group's performance in an above average way.

Summary of Mayo's Beliefs:

Individual workers cannot be treated in isolation, but must be seen as members of a group.

Monetary incentives and good working conditions are less important to the individual than the need to belong to a group.

Informal or unofficial groups formed at work have a strong influence on the behavior of those workers in a group.

Managers must be aware of these 'social needs' to ensure that employees collaborate with the official organization rather than work against it.

Mayo's simple instructions to industrial interviewers set a template and remain influential to this day. The simple rules of interviewing:-

1. Give your full attention to the person interviewed, and make it evident that you are doing so.

2. Listen - don't talk.

3. Never argue; never give advice.

4. Listen to: what he wants to say; what he does not want to say; what he can not say without help.

5. To test, summarize what has been said and present for comment. Always do this with caution - that is, clarify but don't add or twist. [SOURCE: papers held by Mayo's grand-daughter.]



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