Education in the United States

The American system of school education. Elementary and secondary education. Secondary education in the United States. Junior and senior high school. Public and private schools. College and university. The programme of studies in the elementary school.

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Дата добавления 02.05.2013
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На тему: Education in the United States

The American system of school education differs from the systems in other countries. There are state public schools, private elementary schools and private secondary schools. Public schools are free and private schools are fee-paying. Each state has its own system of public schools.

Elementary education begins at the age of six or seven, when a child goes to the first grade (form). At the age of sixteen schoolchildren leave the elementary school and may continue their education at one of the secondary schools or high schools, as they call them. The programme of studies in the elementary school includes English, Arithmetic, Geography, History of the USA, Natural sciences and, besides, Physical Training, Singing, Drawing, wood or metal work, etc. Sometimes they learn a foreign language and general history.

Besides giving general education some high schools teach subjects useful to those who hope to find jobs in industry and agriculture or who wants to enter colleges or universities. After graduating from secondary schools a growing number of Americans go on to higher education.

The students do not take the same courses. During the first two years they follow a basic programme. It means that every student must select at least one course from each of the basic fields of study: English, Natural sciences, Modern languages, History or Physical education. After the first two years every student can select subjects according to his professional interest.

The National Government gives no direct financial aid to the institutions of higher education. Students must pay a tuition fee. This creates a finantial hardship for some people. Many of the students have to work to pay their expenses.

Americans place a high value on education. That's why Kennedy said, "Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education".

Elementary and secondary education

Schooling is compulsory for all children in the United States, but the age range for which school attendance is required varies from state to state. Most children begin elementary education with kindergarten (usually five to six years old) and finish secondary education with twelfth grade (usually eighteen years old). In some cases, pupils may be promoted beyond the next regular grade. Some states allow students to leave school between 14-17 with parental permission, before finishing high school; other states require students to stay in school until age 18.

Most parents send their children to either a public or private institution. According to government data, one-tenth of students are enrolled in private schools. Approximately 85% of students enter the public schools.

There are more than 14,000 school districts in the country.

More than $500 billion is spent each year on public primary and secondary education.

Most states require that their school districts within the state teach for 180 days a year.

Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner.

Transporting students to and from school is a major concern for most school districts. School buses provide the largest mass transit program in the country, 8.8 billion trips per year. Non-school transit buses give 5.2 billion trips annually. 440,000 yellow school buses carry over 24 million students to and from schools.

school education college private

Elementary school

Historically, in the United States, local public control (and private alternatives) have allowed for some variation in the organization of schools. Elementary school includes kindergarten through fifth grade (or sometimes, to fourth grade, sixth grade or eighth grade). Basic subjects are taught in elementary school, and students often remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for physical education, library, music, and art classes. There are (as of 2001) about 3.6 million children in each grade in the United States.

In general, a student learns basic arithmetic and sometimes rudimentary algebra in mathematics, English proficiency (such as basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary), and fundamentals of other subjects. Learning standards are identified for all areas of a curriculum by individual States, including those for mathematics, social studies, science, physical development, the fine arts, and reading.[39] While the concept of State Learning standards has been around for some time, No Child Left Behind has mandated that standards exist at the State level.

Secondary education

In most jurisdictions, secondary education in the United States refers to the last six or seven years of statutory formal education. Secondary education is generally split between junior high school or middle school, usually beginning with sixth or seventh grade (at or around age 11 or 12), and high school, beginning with ninth grade (at or around age 14) and progressing to 12th grade (ending at or around age 18). Junior high school refers to grades seven through nine.

Junior and senior high school

Middle school and Junior high school include the grade levels intermediate between elementary school and senior high school. "Middle school" usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade; "Junior high" typically includes seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.[44] At this time, students are given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives). Usually, starting in ninth grade, grades become part of a student's official transcript.

Senior high school is a school attended after junior high school. High school is often used instead of senior high school and distinguished from junior high school. High school usually runs either from 9th through 12th, or 10th through 12th grade. The students in these grades are commonly referred to as freshmen (grade 9), sophomores (grade 10), juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12).

Home schooling

In 2007, approximately 1.5 million children were homeschooled, up 74% from 1999 when the U.S. Department of Education first started keeping statistics. This was 2.9% of all children.

Many select moral or religious reasons for homeschooling their children. The second main category is "unschooling," those who prefer a non-standard approach to education.

Most homeschooling advocates are wary of the established educational institutions for various reasons. Some are religious conservatives who see nonreligious education as contrary to their moral or religious systems, or who wish to add religious instruction to the educational curriculum (and who may be unable to afford a church-operated private school or where the only available school may teach views contrary to those of the parents). Others feel that they can more effectively tailor a curriculum to suit an individual student's academic strengths and weaknesses, especially those with singular needs or disabilities.

Public and private schools

Public school systems are supported by a combination of local, state, and federal government funding. Because a large portion of school revenues come from local property taxes, public schools vary widely in the resources they have available per student. Class size also varies from one district to another. Curriculum decisions in public schools are made largely at the local and state levels; the federal government has limited influence. In most districts, a locally elected school board runs schools. The school board appoints an official called the superintendent of schools to manage the schools in the district.

The largest public school system in the United States is in New York City, where more than one million students are taught in 1,200 separate public schools. Because of its immense size - there are more students in the system than residents in the eight smallest US states - the New York City public school system is nationally influential in determining standards and materials, such as textbooks

Admission to individual public schools is usually based on residency. To compensate for differences in school quality based on geography, school systems serving large cities and portions of large cities often have "magnet schools" that provide enrollment to a specified number of non-resident students in addition to serving all resident students. This special enrollment is usually decided by lottery with equal numbers of males and females chosen. Some magnet schools cater to gifted students or to students with special interests, such as the sciences or performing arts.

College and university

Post-secondary education in the United States is known as college or university and commonly consists of four years of study at an institution of higher learning. There are 4,495 colleges, universities, and junior colleges in the country.[60] In 2008, 36% of enrolled students graduated from college in four years. 57% completed their undergraduate requirements in six years, at the same college they first enrolled in.[61] The U.S. ranks 10th among industrial countries for percentage of adults with college degrees.[8]

Like high school, the four undergraduate grades are commonly called freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years (alternatively called first year, second year, etc.). Students traditionally apply for admission into colleges. Schools differ in their competitiveness and reputation; generally, the most prestigious schools are private, rather than public. Admissions criteria involve the rigor and grades earned in high school courses taken, the students'GPA, class ranking, and standardized test scores (Such as the SAT or the ACT tests). Most colleges also consider more subjective factors such as a commitment to extracurricular activities, a personal essay, and an interview. While colleges will rarely list that they require a certain standardized test score, class ranking, or GPA for admission, each college usually has a rough threshold below which admission is unlikely.

Professional degrees such as law, medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry, are offered as graduate study after earning at least three years of undergraduate schooling or after earning a bachelor's degree depending on the program. These professional fields do not require a specific undergraduate major, though medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment.

Some students choose to attend a community college for two years prior to further study at another college or university. In most states, community colleges are operated either by a division of the state university or by local special districts subject to guidance from a state agency. Community colleges may award Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree after two years. Those seeking to continue their education may transfer to a four-year college or university (after applying through a similar admissions process as those applying directly to the four-year institution, see articulation). Some community colleges have automatic enrollment agreements with a local four-year college, where the community college provides the first two years of study and the university provides the remaining years of study, sometimes all on one campus. The community college awards the associate's degree, and the university awards the bachelor's and master's degrees.

Graduate study, conducted after obtaining an initial degree and sometimes after several years of professional work, leads to a more advanced degree such as a master's degree, which could be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), or other less common master's degrees such as Master of Education (MEd), and Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Some students pursue a graduate degree that is in between a master's degree and a doctoral degree called a Specialist in Education (Ed.S.).

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