in the USA
is a primary responsibility of each of the 50 states. There are no National
Educational Standards or regulations, as there are in many other countries.
Each state has its own laws for the educational system, which is controlled by
the Board of Education. Although there is a federal Department of Education,
its function is to gather the information, to advise and to help finance
certain educational programs. In spite of local control, school systems
throughout the country are very similar. A child can transfer from a school in
one state to a school in another without any serious difficulties, as the same
basic subjects are taught throughout the country.
is compulsory for every child in the USA. There are two major divisions
in the elementary and secondary school system in the USA - public schools, where
education is free of charge and private schools where the cost of education is
rather high. Some of those schools are religious and they are maintained by
school system consists of 6 years of elementary school and 6 years of high
school. The school children are called "students", not pupils. In
elementary school students learn the ABCs of reading and writing, drawing, painting
and singing. Many of them teach modern languages such as French, Spanish,
German and now Russian. Mathematics, English composition and Grammar, General
Science and Literature, Music, PT, Home Economics are learned by elementary
There are two kinds of secondary or high
schools in the USA:
Junior High Schools are for children from 12 to 15 years old; Senior High
Schools are for students of 15 to 18 years old. Many Americans finish only
Junior High Schools, because they begin working to help their families. The
certificate of the Junior High does not allow them to enter college or
High Schools there are two kinds of school subjects, subjects which are
compulsory for all students. These subjects are: English, Literature, PT,
are also elective subjects, among them are Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry,
foreign languages, History and many others. Besides, boys and girls in the
same class usually learn different subjects.
The testing system in American schools differs from
that in Russia.
Oral tests are very rare. American students write quizzes, tests, dictations
schools they have letter grades: A, B, C, D, E which correspond to the
following grade points values in junior and high schools: 95% -100% - A, 87
%-94% - B, 75% - 86% -C, 65% -74% -D, 59% -64% -E. The highest grade is A or
95% -100%. A passing grade is 75%. In high schools students get credits for the
subjects they choose if they fulfill minimum requirements.
Education is given in colleges and universities. There are about 3000
institutions of Higher Education in the USA. Some of them are public,
others are private. A public institution is owned by the government. Tuition
and living costs here might be about 1000 dollars a year. The private ones are
only for the select few, who can afford to pay high tuition fees. The most
common college degree is a Bachelor of arts. This degree requires four years of
study. After another year or two of research, they may get a degree of Master
and then Doctor of Philosophy. The most well known universities are Harvard, Columbia, Michigan and New York.
Standardized examinations play a decisive role at
almost every level of education, especially in the admission to colleges and
school students who wish to attend a college or a university there are two
widely used tests. One is the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) which measures
aptitudes in verbal and mathematical fields necessary for college work. The
other is the ACT (American College Testing program) which measures skills in
English, mathematics, and the social and natural sciences. Both tests are
given at special dates and locations throughout the US by non-profit, nongovernmental
organizations. The tests are not "official" and are used by
universities as standards for comparison. The results of these tests indicate
the "quality or level of ability expected of those who apply. Similar
testing programs exist at any higher levels as well.
examinations however, are official and usually quite difficult. Most
universities require mid-semester and final (end-of-semester) examinations.
And most students who have scholarship must maintain a certain grade average to
keep then-scholarships. Americans have won 146 Nobel Prizes in sciences,
physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine- since the awards were first
given in 1901. They represent 38.5 percent of all recipients. The next closest
is Great Britain,
with 63 Nobel Prizes. If the US
is still distant from the aim of educating everyone well, it has at least done
a good job with many.
no national or even state-wide dates for school vacations. Each school district sets its own.
Generally, "schools out" from around the first week in June until the last week in August. However,
many school districts sponsor "summer school" for children who have
fallen behind and wish to make up work, or for pupils who want to take extra
courses. Most universities and colleges also have summer semester.
summer camps for a week or two, they are scattered throughout the country and
offer a wide range of activities. Some of the camps are owned and operated by
the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, or various churches, private individuals and
groups. Others are sponsored by the Red Cross and might teach swimming,
boating, and life-saving. There are also groups, which organize low-cost or
free summer programs, from sports and crafts to concerts and dances, for
children, who spend the summer in the city. But not all American high school
and college students can afford summer vacation most of them must work to earn
their living. But of course, this is not what they would rather do.