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Karlton Roberts - Education Futures
Secondary education is often divided into two phases, middle or junior high school and high school. Students are usually given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives).
"Middle school" usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade (and occasionally fifth grade as well); "Junior high" may include any range from sixth through ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.
High school (occasionally senior high school) usually runs from 9th or 10th through 12th grades. Students in these grades are commonly referred to as freshmen (grade 9), sophomores (grade 10), juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12). Generally, at the high school level, students take a broad variety of classes without special emphasis in any particular subject. Students are required to take a certain mandatory subjects, but may choose additional subjects ("electives") to fill out their required hours of learning. High school grades normally are included in a student's official transcript, e.g. for college admission.Thomas Cobo Education Futures
Most children begin elementary education with kindergarten (usually five to six years old) and finish secondary education with twelfth grade (usually 17-18 years old). In some cases, pupils may be promoted beyond the next regular grade. Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner.
Around 3 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 drop out of high school each year, a rate of 6.6 percent as of 2012. In the United States, 75 percent of crimes are committed by high school dropouts. Around 60 percent of black dropouts end up spending time incarcerated. The incarceration rate for African-American male high school dropouts was about 50 times the national average as of 2010.
States do not require reporting from their school districts to allow analysis of efficiency of return on investment. The Center for American Progress commends Florida and Texas as the only two states that provide annual school-level productivity evaluations which report to the public how well school funds are being spent at the local level. This allows for comparison of school districts within a state. In 2010, American students rank 17th in the world. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says that this is due to focusing on the low end of performers. All of the recent gains have been made, deliberately, at the low end of the socioeconomic scale and among the lowest achievers. The country has been outrun, the study says, by other nations because the US has not done enough to encourage the highest achievers.
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Middle-tier of American schools
Aside from these aforementioned schools, academic reputations vary widely among the 'middle-tier' of American schools, (and even among academic departments within each of these schools.) Most public and private institutions fall into this 'middle' range. Some institutions feature honors colleges or other rigorous programs that challenge academically exceptional students, who might otherwise attend a 'top-tier' college. Aware of the status attached to the perception of the college that they attend, students often apply to a range of schools. Some apply to a relatively prestigious school with a low acceptance rate, gambling on the chance of acceptance but, as a backup, also apply to a safety school.
Lower status institutions include community colleges. These are primarily two-year public institutions, which individual states usually require to accept all local residents who seek admission, and offer associate's degrees or vocational certificate programs. Many community colleges have relationships with four-year state universities and colleges or even private universities that enable their students to transfer to these universities for a four-year degree after completing a two-year program at the community college.
Regardless of perceived prestige, many institutions feature at least one distinguished academic department, and most post-secondary American students attend one of the 2,400 four-year colleges and universities or 1,700 two-year colleges not included among the twenty-five or so 'top-tier' institutions.
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