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Compulsory schooling in the USA

The ages for compulsory education vary by state, beginning at ages five to eight and ending at the ages of fourteen to eighteen. A growing number of states are now requiring school attendance until the age of 18.

Compulsory education requirements can generally be satisfied by attending public schools, state-certified private schools, or an approved home school program. In most public and private schools, education is divided into three levels: elementary school, junior high school (also often called middle school), and senior high school.

In the U.S. the first year of compulsory schooling begins with children at the age of five or six. Children are then placed in year groups known as grades, beginning with first grade and culminating in twelfth grade. The U.S. uses ordinal numbers for naming grades, unlike Canada and Australia where cardinal numbers are preferred. Thus, Americans are more likely to say “First Grade” rather than “Grade One”.

The school year usually runs from early September until May or June (nine months) and is divided into “quarters” or terms (semesters). Some schools use the quarter system, which comprises three sessions: fall (September to December), winter (January to March) and spring (March to May or June). Others use a semester system made up of two sessions: fall (September to December) and spring (January to May).

School vacation dates are published by schools well in advance, thus allowing parents plenty of time to schedule family holidays during official school holiday periods. Normally parents aren’t permitted to withdraw children from classes, except for visits to a doctor or dentist, when the teacher should be informed in advance whenever possible. If one wishes to take a child out of school during classes, one must obtain permission from the principal. This is rarely given. It’s particularly unwise to take a child out of school when he/she should be taking examinations or during important course work assignments.


Date: 2014-12-29; view: 731


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