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Text 10. Education.

Elementary School Through High School.

There are three basic levels in the US educational system – elementary school, which usually goes from kindergarten to sixth grade; junior high school, from seventh through eighth or ninth grade; and high school, from ninth or tenth through twelfth grade. Children are required to be in school from the ages of 6 through 16-18, depending on the state.

Elementary schools give the basic knowledge about the world around us and people who live in it. Pupils are taught to count, read and write, to draw, sing and dance. In some schools foreign languages are on schedule.

Secondary schools are usually named high schools and their pupils are called students. Marks given to students for their work are called grades. Pupils get A,B,C,D. a – for excellent school work, D – for poor work. Students study a wide range of subjects which cover exact, natural sciences and humanities.

About 90 percent of all children attend public school which is free. The remaining 10 percent go to private schools, which often are associated with a religion. About half of all private schools are Catholic.

In the US, education is mainly the responsibility of state and local governments, rather than the national government. The amount of money spent on education varies considerably from state to state. The subjects studied also vary somewhat. The school year usually runs from September to June.

At the high school level there are some specialized schools, including schools that emphasize vocational subjects like business or auto mechanics. Most high schools, however, are general schools. High school students are often involved in non-academic activities that their school offers – for example, in drama clubs, sports teams, or the school newspaper.

Advanced Schooling.

Many students, upon finishing high school, choose to continue their education. Community colleges, also known as junior colleges, offer two-year programs. They are public schools and the tuition costs are usually low. Colleges and universities have four-year programs leading to a bachelor’s degree (as well as, in many cases, further programs leading to higher degrees). These schools may be public or private; private schools cost a lot more. US colleges and universities have many students from around the world, especially from Asia. The cherished desire of any US school leaver is to enter Harward University (situated near Boston), the most prestigious educational establishment in the USA.

Trends in Education.

Many more Americans than ever before are finishing high school and college. More than 20 percent of all adults have finished college, and more than 75 percent have finished high school.

Although the number of years of schooling is going up, there signs that the quality of education may be going down. This is of great concern, especially since education is considered crucial to the American ideal that each person should achieve all that he or she can.

There are many theories about where the problems lie. Some think that students have too many “electives”, or courses they choose, and too few courses in basic subjects. Others think students watch too much TV and do too little homework. Everyone agrees the problems must be addressed.

Text 11.

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