Public Education in America 美国的公立学校

一般高中概述

美国的公立学校系统是从五、六岁孩子的幼儿园开始一直到十七、八岁的高三。所有不满十六足岁的人都必须接受正式的教育。绝大部分美国孩子都上公立学校,而公立学校的经营费用是来自当地的市镇、州和联邦政府。学校的管理是由当地的官员执行,州政府和联邦政府官员协助并制定基本的要求。大约有百分之十到十二的孩子上私立学校,另外还有大约百分之三的学生是在家里上学。(在家里上学就是由父母或者家教来教授所规定的课目。)按理论,大学也是属于公立教育系统里的一部分,但是我们在这里只是介绍普通的高中。

根据在2008年公开了的研究计划,一个十五岁的学生,每天花八小时睡觉,花七个半小时在读书上1。其他的时间是花在体育运动、娱乐、杂事或者劳动、和休闲活动上。(一般来说,女孩子花在读书和回家作业的时间多一些,而男孩子则花更多的时间在看电视和玩电脑上。)学生们大约在八点到学校,八点十五分或者八点半开始上课。一整天上七堂课,每堂课五十分钟,中午午餐的时间是半个小时。约在下午三点半,学校就放学了。虽然随着地区的不同,学校的结构和课程略有不同,但是中学的主要课目都是相同的。因为这些都是有联邦政府和州政府统筹的。一个高中学生必须上三年的自然科学的学科,通常是包括生物、化学和物理。在全部高中的四年里都要学数学,包括代数、几何、微积分预备课程、微积分、统计学(有的学校可以将统计学代替微积分)。英语也是全部高中都要学的学科,包括文学、写作和人文学概论。社会科学方面,诸如历史、政治、政府或者经济,通常都必须学三年。大部分高中只要求上二年的体育课。绝大部分学生都必须学二年的外语和至少一年的艺术欣赏课程。运动队一般都是自愿参加的,训练也都是在课后进行。其他的课程都是选修的课程,就是说如果这个学生想要学就可以学的,学校没有要求。选修课程一般包括电脑课程、体育运动队、音乐(管乐队、合唱队、弦乐队),戏剧、艺术、摄影、舞蹈、外语、后备役初级军官训练队(这是专门为毕业以后准备参军者预备的)。

在高中毕业的时候,一般的学生都具有开始工作的能力,也有进大学深造的基础了。在高中里成绩优异的学生,在进入大学的时候通常都能得到一些奖学金。


讨论问题

1.    通常来说,一个高中生几点开始他们的一天?这与中国的情况来比,有什么相同或者差别?

2.    在中国高中生是否有选修课?

3.    如果你可以或者已经选某些课程的话,你会选什么课程?

4.    在中国,你是不是觉得女生的成绩基本都比男生好?

A GENERAL LOOK AT THE TYPICAL HIGH SCHOOL

America’s public education system begins with kindergarten, which is for 5 to 6 year old children, and goes through the 12th grade, which is for 17 to 18 year olds. Children under the age of 16 are required to receive a formal education. The great majority of children in America attend public schools. Public schools are funded by local, state, and national governments. Control of the school is in the hands of local officials with state and federal officials assisting and regulating general requirements. About 10 to 12% of school children attend private schools, and about 3% of students are homeschooled. (Homeschool students are taught all formal subjects by their parents or by tutors.) Technically, universities are a part of the public education system as well, but this article will focus on the average high school.

According to a research project released in 2008, the average 15 year old student spends 8 hours a day sleeping and about 7 and ½ hours doing school work.[1] The rest of their time is spent in sports, recreation, chores or work, and leisurely activities. (Girls spend more time doing homework and school work, while boys spend more time watching t.v. and playing on the computer.) A student will arrive at school around 8:00am, with class beginning between 8:15 and 8:30am. The day will be divided into 7 subjects covered in 50 minute periods and a 30 minute break for lunch. School will dismiss around 3:30pm. Although there are some differences across the nation in school structure and available classes, the core subjects for high school students are the same. These are regulated by the national and state governments. A student must take 3 years of sciences, normally biology, chemistry, and physics. Mathematics are required for all 4 years, including algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and/or statistics. English is required all 4 years, which includes studies in literature, written composition, and general studies of the humanities. Social sciences, such as history, political science, government or economics, are usually required for 3 years. Most high schools require 2 years of physical education. Most all students are required to take at least 2 years of a foreign language and at least 1 art appreciation class. Team sports are normally on a voluntary basis and practices are held after school. The rest of a student’s education is made up of electives. These are classes which the student may elect to take depending on his or her desire. Common electives are computer classes, athletics, music (such as band, choir, and orchestra), drama, art, photography, dance, foreign languages, and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. (The J.R.O.T.C. is for those who are thinking of entering the military after high school or college.)

Upon graduation from high school, the average student is equipped to enter the job force or attend a university to continue their education. Students who excel in their studies often receive scholarships to attend universities.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1.      What time does the typical high school student begin their day? How does this compare to China?

2.      Do high schools in China allow students to take elective classes?

3.      If you could, or if you did, what electives would you enjoy?

4.      Do you think girls in China are better students than boys?

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