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The US educational system is very decentralized and schools vary
greatly from state to state. There are three levels of subsidizing of
education: federal, state and local. They subsidize 3-5 per cent on a federal
level, around 20 per cent on a state level and 70-80 per cent on a local level.
There are 15,000 school districts which are different in size. A
school district is governed by the Board of Education/School Board/School
Council which is elected every two years by the residents of the school
district. Members of school boards perform their responsibilities on a
volunteer basis, that means they do not get any salaries. They are to define
the policies for the administration of the school district. Teachers, in turn, decide
about the program and approaches of teaching.
Every resident pays a school tax to the school district he/she lives
in, no matter he/she has school children or not. School education in the United
States is free and parents are free to choose a school for their children. But
if parents send their child to a school of another school district they have to
pay the sum equivalent to the school tax directly to the school the child goes
There are also a lot of private schools, mainly religious, and
parents have to pay for them. The cost is $ 5,000 - $ 10,000 a year.
There is no home education in the United States. Each invalid is
supposed to attend school. School provides all the necessary conditions for
them to study.
The school system structure in the United States looks like this.
Children start going to school at the age of five. First they go to eight-year
elementary school and then to high school or if they go to five- or six-year
elementary school, they then attend three- or four-year middle school, and then
high school. Teenagers study at high school four years and graduate from it at
the age of eighteen.
Members of each grade in high school have special names:
a ninth grader is called a Freshman,
a tenth grader - a Sophomore,
an eleventh grader - a Junior,
a twelfth grader - a Senior.
The completion of high school is called graduation. In order to
graduate, students must accumulate a certain amount of credits during their
four years at school. Credits are points given for every subject that is passed
successfully. In addition to that, students must successfully complete specific
subjects required by the state or local educational authorities, such as US
history, English, mathematics and physical education. This may vary from state
Over 60% of school graduates continue their education in two- or
four-year colleges or universities. At least 10% of high school students are
allowed to finish school at the age of 16.
A school year starts at the beginning of September or at the end of
August and ends in late June or early July, just before the Independence Day,
and is divided into three terms/trimesters or four quarters. School children
have winter and spring breaks for two or three weeks and summer vacation for
six up to eight weeks.
There is a great variety of Saturday, Sunday, vacational and other
schools. The most popular one is summer school. It is for students who want to
get a deeper knowledge in a particular subject, or to skip a year, or just fail
their examinations. It lasts six weeks and parents have to pay for it.
Students go to school five days a week. They get to and from school
by a school bus. A typical school day in America starts at 7.30 AM with the
Pledge of Allegiance in which the US flag and the whole nation is glorified.
Then follows the homeroom period during which a homeroom teacher calls the roll
and the principal makes his/her announcements over the intercom. Every day
students usually have seven periods which last 50-55, s......