|Re: What's a "middle school"?|
Message #13 Posted by James M. Prange (Michigan) on 9 June 2005, 3:30 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Les Bell [Sydney]
I think that typically, junior high (or these days "middle
school") is a separate building, although locally, they happen to
be in connected buildings, and share the swimming pool and
gymnasium. Our school district happens to have two high schools,
and I think that for the other city, the high school and junior
high are separate campuses. We also have several grade schools.
The school district's auditorium ("performing arts center") shares
a campus with the district administrative offices and bus garage,
and maybe there's still a grade school there; I'm not really sure.
I think that traditionally, junior high is grades 7 and 8, but it
varies depending on changing demographics.
Before high school is considered "primary school", and high school
is considered "secondary school". Historically, primary school was
often considered to be sufficient for ordinary people. These days,
the state law requires attendence up until age 17, unless waived
for some disability.
In Michigan, kindergarten through grade 12 is funded through a
combination of local real property tax and state "revenue
sharing" (giving back some of what it's taken from us).
"Community colleges" typically receive considerable county
funding, I think some state funding, and of course students'
tuition. Out-of-county students pay higher tuition, and
out-of-state students even higher. Locally, some students commute
from Ontario, but I've heard that "homeland security" delays at
the bridges have made that a bit difficult.
Kindergarten is typically only half days, with separate morming
and afternoon classes. Sometimes kindergarten is skipped, with the
youngster beginning in the first grade. Sometimes, if the
youngster doesn't seem mature enough, he starts a year later than
he would based strictly on his birth date.
Often toddlers attend privately funded "pre-school" or "nursery
school" before kindergarten. Like kindergarten, it seems to be
intended mostly for learning to get along with other children and
clean up after oneself, but I notice that these days, the school
district rather expects the youngsters to know such basics as the
alphabet, numerals, counting up to a hundred, and writing their
own names when starting kindergarten.
Often each grade is divided into different classes in the same
Often, cute little "diplomas" are issued to pre-school and
kindergarten "graduates". I remember that my grandniece was
thrilled that she'd never have to go to school again; life is just
full of disappointments.
A high school graduate gets a diploma, although if he doesn't pass
enough courses, he may not actually graduate but get a
"certificate of attendance" instead.
But a dropout may still earn a a "certificate of general
educational development" (GED) by passing the required tests, and
it may be used for obtaining a "certificate of high school
equivalency" from the state.
An "associate's degree" is from a two-year junior college (or
these days, "community college"). For a more restricted specialty
course, a "certificate" in the specialty may be had instead. A
"bachelor's degree" is from a four-year college, received on
completion of undergraduate courses. Of course, how many years are
actually spent earning that piece of paper varies greatly
depending on the course load; often "working adults" are part-time
instead of full-time students, especially at community colleges.
Of course these adults paying for their own education tend to be
more serious students than youngsters attending full-time on their
Typically, credit hours earned for a certificate also count toward
an associates degree, and credits hours earned for an associate's
degree may well also count toward a bachelor's degree. But which
credits are accepted between schools varies greatly, so this needs
to be looked at carefully when planning.
Sometimes you can "test through" some credits. For example, I
received several credit hours based on "life experience" because
of a "College Level Examination Program" administered through the
"United States Armed Forces Institute" that I'd taken several
years before while I was in the Navy.
Realistically, some people are amazingly ignorant no matter what
piece of paper they've "earned". Sometimes I think that they
should all be called "certificates of attendance", except when
they're based on a strict standardized examination program. Maybe
the instructors "pass" the students due to parent pressure or just
so they don't have to deal with them again.