Every country has a system for educating its children, but every country’s system is different. The United States and Mexico may be neighbors with deep cultural ties, but the two countries’ educational systems are very different. These differences, and the reasons for them, can tell us a lot about how life varies between these two adjacent countries. In this article, we’ll examine both educational systems and talk a bit about why they share some but certainly not all of their traits in common.
Education System in USA
The United States’ educational system is decentralized. While there is a central Department of Education, its power is relatively weak and does not extend to the day-to-day operation of schools. States have more power in terms of setting curriculum standards and educational policy, but for the most part, the educational system is run by local school districts and managed by elected school boards. These boards make most of the decisions about education in their communities.
In the U.S. system, most districts divide education into separate divisions by students’ age and maturity levels. Preschool is not universal yet, though some places have begun to provide it. In many areas, parents must pay for preschool separately, but those who do not have resources often choose not to send children to preschool. Kindergarten is typically universal. Following kindergarten, students enter the first division, elementary school, comprising, typically, grades 1 through 5. The second division is middle school, comprising grades 6 to 8. The final division is high school, comprising grades 9 to 12.
In the American system, education is compulsory until either graduation from high school or a fixed age, typically 16, whichever comes first. Most students complete high school. Following high school, a plurality of students continues on to college or university. There are several tiers of postsecondary education, including community colleges (2-year schools), public universities, and private universities. There are also for-profit colleges, many of which have been forcibly shut down for defrauding students. The bottom line is that the college system is diverse, not compulsory, and varies greatly from school to school and across the different types of schools.
Education System in Mexico
The Mexican system differs from the American system in several notable ways. First, the Mexican grade system is divided differently. It has six years of the equivalent of elementary school, three years of the equivalent of middle school, and three years of the equivalent of high school. In the Mexican system, school is only compulsory until the last year of middle school (grade 9), after which students may elect to continue their schooling or enter a trade. The Mexican system, unlike the American system, provides more job training skills, allowing a greater number of students to enter the workforce straight out of school without attending a college or university.
Another major difference between the two systems is that Mexican parents have to contribute more than American parents in order to receive an education for their children. Both systems suffer from underfunding, but in Mexico, the promise of a free education often comes with the expectation that parents will contribute. Many students must purchase their own textbooks because there isn’t enough funding to provide textbooks for everyone. As a consequence, a significant number of students drop out because their families don’t have the financial resources to afford their education. Some schools are attempting to mitigate this problem by moving away from textbooks and toward open educational resources—online sources that can be used to teach for free.
Because Mexico is a poorer country than the United States overall and has a greater percentage of its population living in rural areas, its educational system has had to adapt to poverty and the reality that most students cannot afford to go to college and won’t be going. As a result, Mexican schools aren’t as invested in systematic instruction in fixed subject areas as much as they are in providing foundational skills that can be transferred to job opportunities after leaving school. Thus, Mexican schools often do a better job preparing students for work even though they rank lower in international rankings.
What Does It Mean?
The differences between the two countries’ education systems reflect the different cultures and circumstances of the two nations. Because the U.S. is wealthier, it can expect more of its young people to spend longer in school, it spends more of its resources teaching abstract academic subjects in more detail. Mexico focuses its resources more on preparing students for work because many will not have the opportunity to attend college. Both though have a similar understanding of the academic subjects that students are expected to master at each grade level.
That’s why it’s also common for students to seek help with their essay writing, an important part of education in every country. An expert essay writing service like Write My Paper Hub is a great way for students to pay someone for the papers they need to be written for them. Getting online help with papers is an important way that students can build skills, learn the right way to develop an essay, and get an expert’s eye in order to discover how best to approach a topic. No matter where a student is attending school or at what level, having the help and support you need can make all the difference in ensuring that a student is successful.