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Old 06-23-2012, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,639 posts, read 18,134,711 times
Reputation: 6913

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Some more on the American school system...

Public vs. private vs. home: Most American children attend public schools; however, a significant minority attend private schools for at least part of their K-12 career. Private schools are often affiliated with a religious institution. Catholic parishes often operate "parochial schools", which usually run from kindergarten to sixth or eighth grade. Standalone Catholic high schools and schools associated with a Protestant denomination and non-denominational "Christian academies" are also numerous. Elite, non-sectarian schools also exist; these are often where the children of upper-class or upper-middle-class parents are sent. Sometimes the motive behind sending children to a private school at which parents will have to pay tuition is religious; other times it is because of a perceived educational advantage; often it is both. In some areas, public schools are perceived to be so bad that any parent who has the resources will send their child to a private school; however, most suburban areas, where the majority of Americans live, have public schools of at least adequate quality. Some parents go to the extreme of withdrawing their student from the school system altogether and teaching them themselves at home. This is known as "homeschooling". Numerous websites, discussion groups, and curriculum options exist for homeschooling parents.

Class size: Lots of variation between public and private schools, and different public schools exists here. Class sizes in my kindergarten through 4th grade years averaged about 25 students. When I was transferred to a nearby parochial school in 5th grade, I suddenly had 11 students in my class, although 5th and 6th grades were usually combined so there were a total of 15 students (yes, the class above me had only four students). When I returned to the public middle school, there were usually about 20 to 25 kids in any given class. High school class sizes vary but are roughly the same on average if I remember correctly. Of course, middle and high school teachers will actually teach and grade the work of around 100 to 150 students; they only have less work per student to grade than elementary school teachers. Both are often assisted somewhat by "student teachers", i.e. college students in their third or fourth year of working towards their education degree, who actually have to pay the school for the privilege.

Technological facilities: These obviously change with the time. I'll only recount my personal experience. In my elementary years (1992 to 1996), and especially in the earlier elementary years, we had obsolete technology even for then. I remember in first grade, when we first used computers in Computer class (taught by a specialist), learning to "boot up" an Apple IIe and insert a floppy disk. At the time, Apple was almost synonymous with computers in the schools, at least at the elementary level. Macs were found in the classrooms. When I moved to the middle school building in 4th grade (it was called "upper elementary", and followed the normal elementary school format), all computers were relatively newer Macintoshes. I remember using educational software from "Broderbund" and Oregon Trail - all American students in elementary or middle school in the 1990s will recount playing "Oregon Trail". In 1999, a complete overhaul was done of the school district's technology. Computers were replaced with new PowerMac G3 and iMac models in the middle school at least, and all computers throughout the district were connected to a central server which offered centralized storage of each students' files and internet access. In high school, Windows PCs replaced Macs, and some classes were held entirely in the computer labs: for example, Website Design, Desktop Publishing, and "Advanced Keyboarding". When a student was finished with their work, they could browse the web at will. Headphones were provided. I think it was me who began the trend of streaming music videos from Launch.yahoo.com at my high school. When I only streamed the network was fine, but when other students began to stream the network became overloaded, and I think streaming music videos was eventually banned, or the recreational use of headphones was (I know it was for me, because several times I, playing music very loudly, would respond to something the student next to me said in a very loud voice). Several wheeled projector units were available throughout my educational career. At first, teachers projected mostly slides (or even films on an ancient Eiko film projector), but in my high school years Powerpoint presentations were common, especially by students. I also remember most classrooms in middle school and high school being equipped with TVs and VCRs/DVDs/LaserDisc players. The computers in the rooms also had TV outputs. I remember doing a "revolutionary" (hadn't seen it been done before) AppleWorks PowerPoint-equivalent presentation on a tiny 19" TV for my Social Studies class in 7th grade.

Now, classrooms are equipped with "Smart Boards", students have laptops, etc.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:46 PM
 
1,650 posts, read 1,547,027 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
no foreign languages of any kind are compulsory in secondary school or i would have been forced to do one
The school I went to and a lot of schools today are made do a language. I always thought myslf they were compulsory because we had to do one and all my friends had to do one in their schools too.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: 89434
6,658 posts, read 4,751,445 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
^ I was amazed how Americans got such long summer holidays. I mean 3 months? We only get 6 weeks! What gives there?
Where I live, summer holiday lasts from June-August which is only about 2 months.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:35 PM
 
Location: State Fire and Ice
3,102 posts, read 5,621,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geggo View Post
Yes embarassing. First I thought this must be a joke. The map is not really clear and looks like hand-drawn, so maybe she did not look properly and just assumed it's a map of Germany.

History and geography are actually compulsory subjects in Germany, and I am sure they had geography in East Germany as well where Merkel is from.
Its on the WORLD Map to show where Berlin, in the end, pointed at Russia, then in Scandinavia, It's a shame for the official of such rank. In the USSR officials are obliged to know all of the Humanities at the highest level, especially with regard to Economics, sociology, political science, geography, history, and should have known not only for his country but for all the countries with whom they are dealing. I don't understand how a poorly educated person may occupy such a post. Especially if it is known in Germany children
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:24 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
22,112 posts, read 29,604,933 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD47john View Post
I had brothers and sisters that grew up in the UK and when my sister was about 6 she was learning French. I didn't start learning a third language until I was 13.
Yeah, some schools start teaching French really early. When I was in school I didn't do French in primary school but know people who did.
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:41 AM
 
7,855 posts, read 10,297,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD47john View Post
The school I went to and a lot of schools today are made do a language. I always thought myslf they were compulsory because we had to do one and all my friends had to do one in their schools too.
its not compulsory or the entire country would have to do it
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:14 AM
 
1,650 posts, read 1,547,027 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
its not compulsory or the entire country would have to do it
So why do they make kids do it in a lot of schools today?
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:16 AM
 
7,855 posts, read 10,297,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD47john View Post
So why do they make kids do it in a lot of schools today?
no idea but its not compulsory across the education system
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:53 AM
 
1,650 posts, read 1,547,027 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
no idea but its not compulsory across the education system
Fair enough then but one would think it is because most of the people I know said they had to do a language. You have to do a language at the Institute in town though. I was told that by a teacher that worked there.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,639 posts, read 18,134,711 times
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An example of the curriculum that I was taught:

SOCIAL STUDIES

7th Grade: American History up to the Civil War (mandatory)
8th Grade: Geography (mandatory)
9th Grade: Civics (mandatory)
10th Grade: American History beyond the Civil War (mandatory)
11th Grade: "Generations At Risk" (sociology), Cultural Anthropology, Psychology, and World Georgraphy (all electives, each a semester-length course)
12th Grade: Economics (mandatory), World History (mandatory) (each a semester-length course)

MATHEMATICS

7th Grade: 7th Grade Math (mandatory)
8th Grade: Pre-Algebra (mandatory)
9th Grade: Algebra (mandatory)
10th Grade: Geometry (mandatory)
11th Grade: Trigonometry (elective but mandatory to take 3 years of math)
12th Grade: Pre-Calculus

ENGLISH / LITERATURE

7th Grade: English (mandatory)
8th Grade: English (mandatory)
9th Grade: Composition / Literature (mandatory)
10th Grade: American Literature (mandatory)
11th Grade: Literature (mandatory)
12th Grade: Composition / Literature (mandatory)

(All classes I took combined writing skills and literature.)

Science:

7th Grade: Life Science (mandatory, biology)
8th Grade: Earth Science (mandatory, geology, meteorology, etc.)
9th Grade: Physical Science (mandatory, chemistry and physics)
10th Grade: Biology (mandatory)
11th Grade: Earth & Space Science (elective)
12th Grade: Physics (elective)

Art: 7th and 8th Grade (trimester) (mandatory)
Physical Education / Health: 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade (mandatory). One semester in 10th grade consisted of classroom lectures and projects about health and sexual education.
Family and Consumer Science: 7th and 8th grade (trimester) (mandatory)
Industrial Tech: 7th and 8th grade (trimester) (mandatory) - consisted of woodworking, electronics, welding, etc.
General Music: 7th and 8th grade (you get a choice of band, choir, or general music)
Spanish I / II / III (10th/11th/12th grades)
TV Production (elective)
Advanced Keyboarding (semester)
Desktop Publishing (semester)
Computer Applications (semester)
Web Design (semester)
etc. etc.
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