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American System of Education

doc American System of Education

Americans have always believed in education but in a special American way. The schools' first job was to turn millions of foreign children into Americans. Since they came from dozens of different countries, this was not easy. Schools had to teach the children to speak English, to love their new country and to learn how to live in it. American schools were the "melting pot" in which the differences were forgotten. They were the ladder up which the poor could climb to a better life. Getting started on a successful career was the main aim. Most American parents still care less for book-learning than fora practical education that will help their child to find a job.
The "right to education" has also meant that school system must provide for the needs of exceptional students, for example the blind, the deaf, and the persons with other physical or emotional handicaps. It is not at all unusual for school districts to provide instruction for children who are confined to the wards of hospitals or criminal justice facilities.
But perhaps most important of all is that American education never stops. If an elderly person wants to learn Italian art or chess, he or she can go to the nearest college and take a course in it. And millions of people are doing just that.
However, many Americans are worried about their public schools. They see serious problems of violence and failure. They see too many children who never learn to write properly and too few college graduates who can speak a foreign language. The absence of national curriculum makes it difficult for children to transfer to new classrooms when their family moves from one city to another.
In recent years a Department of Education has been organi­zed in Washington DC, but its function is still sharply limited. Perhaps in the future there will be a greater demand for the construction of a national curricular framework. And if this demand develops, the American system will experience a major transfor­mation.
Nevertheless, we shouldn't forget the great successes of American education. Its best universities are among the best anywhere. American philosophers and economists are world-famous, and American scientists win more than their share of Nobel prizes.

doc Vocabulary

to believe — верить
melting pot — «плавильный гигель», место, где иммиг­ранты переплавляются
ladder — лестница
successful — успешным
aim — цель
to саге — беспокоиться, волно­ваться
to provide for — предусматри­вать
exceptional — неполноценным. имеющий отклонения от нормы
blind — слепой
deaf— глухой
handicap — недостаток
district — округ, район
to provide — предоставлять, обеспечи!
instruction — обучение to be confined — быть прикован­ным
ward — палата criminal
justice facilities — исправительные учреждения
perhaps — возможно
elderly person — пожилой человек
violence — насилие
failure — неудача, неуспех, провал
properly — правильно, как следует
absence — отсутствие
curriculum — учебный план
to transfer — переходить
sharply — резко
demand — потребность
curricular framework — базовый
план to experience — испытывать,
подвергаться nevertheless — тем не менее,
однако share — доля

quest Questions

1. Prove that the American system of education is democratic.
2. What is the most important feature of American education?
3. Why arc many Americans worried about their education?
4. Does the American system have any disadvantages? What are they?
5. Why does the system of education need a single national curriculum?
6. Can you offer any way of improving the American system of education?
7. Can you compare Russian and American systems of education?
8. Which one would you prefer.'

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