Education in the USA

All the people over the world strive for knowledge, but the ways for it are very different. The American system of school education differs from the system in other countries. There are state public schools, private elementary schools and private secondary schools in the USA. Public schools are free and private schools are fee-paying. Each state has its own system of public schools.Americans take great pride in their schools, and want their children to have the best possible education. There are more than 57 million students enrolled in schools and universities. New methods of instruction that encourage children to develop their creative abilities are being devised and tested in schools. Today there is a strong emphasis on science, mathematics and foreign languages, and an effort is being made to broaden the students’ knowledge of other peoples and cultures. Television and motion pictures are widely used in teaching. More effort is being made to guide young people into careers suited to their talents and abilities.The federal government pays little attention to schools. Elementary education begins at the age of six, when a child goes to the first grade (form). At the age of sixteen schoolchildren leave the elementary school and may continue education at one of the secondary schools or high schools, as they call them. The program of studies in the elementary school includes English, Arithmetic, Geography, History of the USA, Natural sciences and, of course, 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 want to enter colleges and universities. One percent of American citizens from age of 14 and older can neither read nor write. Over 2 million American children do not go to school, and six million attend only first grade. More than 50 percent of school students do not finish high school.

The peculiar feature of American education is the absence of national administration. Each of the 50 states controls and directs its own schools. There is no uniform school organization of curriculum through the nation. But certain common features exist. Preschool education is part of the elementary schools. Elementary and secondary schools consist of twelve years of classes that meet for about ten months a year, five days a week and five hours a day.Today, about half of the young people who graduate from secondary school go on to higher education. American institutions of higher education include: technical training schools, community colleges, colleges offering four year bachelors degree programs and universities offering master’s or doctoral degree programs. In the United States, the term “college” refers to an institution requiring a secondary school certificate for admission and granting a degree after four years of study. It is often used in place of the world “university”. A college may or may not be a part of a university, which ordinarily offers postgraduate programs and grants professional degrees. The University of California, the nation’s largest university, has over 121,000 students on its many branch campuses.The most of higher education is substantial in private colleges and universities, but is much less in those supported by states and cities. A large number of students work to help pay their expenses; many receive scholarship grants, some of which cover almost the entire expenses of attending college.In 1982 some 935,000 students received bachelor’s degrees; 70,000 first professional degrees; 295,739, master’s degrees; and 32,958, doctorates.Each year Congress appropriates funds to assist states in furthering their public education programs. In 1965 financial aid was also extended to private and parochial schools for the first time. This substantial federal support helps the states improve the quality of their education systems. Since the important 1954 Supreme Court decision that ordered an and to separate schools for black and white students, the federal government has become increasingly committed to a program of providing equal educational opportunity. Of the more than 11 million students in colleges and universities, 11 percent are black.
Every year more than 15 million adults take adult education courses that range from engineering to writing poetry. They may be housewives, businessmen, clerks, mechanics or laborers. Many adult education courses are given at night in public schools, town halls and community centers.