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英语范文背诵精华 12.3 Education in America

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Education in America

American schools, both public and private, consist of 12 years of grades -- basically 8 years of elementary school and 4 years of secondary or high school, although grades 7 and 8, or 7, 8 and 9 may be housed together in a middle school or junior high school. In addition, the elementary school offers five-year-olds a year of kindergarten, usually half-day sessions, before they have formal instruction in reading and writing in the first grade. In a few states two years of junior college (the first two years of higher education) or a vocational school are part of the public school system. Schooling is compulsory in most states to the age of 16.

The public schools are administered by local school boards groups of people elected by the voters. The board appoints the superintendent and sometimes participates in choosing the teachers, decides how school funds are to be allocated, and has some voice in establishing the curriculum. Local funds for the schools come largely from property taxes paid by residents of the local school districts. Thus the people of the entire community, not just the parents of the children who attend, pay for public schools, which are free and open to everyone.

In elementary school, all children in a given grade study the same thing. In junior high school the student may have a limited choice of subjects. In high school the choice is wider. While some subjects are required of everyone, some high school students, in addition, take vocational classes, and others study subjects that will prepare them for college. Students from both groups study under the same roof, each selecting courses according to his or her needs and interests. High school students commonly study four to five basic subjects per semester, each for approximately an hour a day. Additional courses, such as physical education, art, or music, may meet twice a week.

After high school a person may prepare for a particular vocation or occupation by attending vocational courses either in a junior college or in a privately supported training school such as secretarial or industrial school. Or a person may attend a college or university. The term "college" refers to an undergraduate institution that confers a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree after four years of study. A university generally is a group of colleges, each serving a special purpose: a college of liberal arts, a college of business, a college of education, and the like. In addition, universities offer graduate programs. The Master of Arts degree occasionally may be obtained after one year of additional specialized study, although some institutions require longer study. The Doctor of Philosophy is the highest degree in the area of the sciences and humanities. Professional degrees in such fields as medicine and law are part of the program of graduate education.

Many colleges and universities are privately supported. Many have church affiliations. In each state, however, there is at least one university and often several colleges that receive support from state funds. Students in these schools, however, as well as those in private colleges, must pay tuition, but the state schools are much less expensive than private ones, particularly for students who are residents of the state.
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