Public Education

Philosophy and Funding


A. Discussion

Discuss the following questions with your classmates:

• What kind of school do you think this is, public or private?

• Who do you think pays for the education that the children who attend this school receive?

• Where do most parents in your country prefer to send their children, to private or public schools?

Q B. Vocabulary and Key Concepts

Read through the sentences, trying to imagine which words would fit in the blanks. Then listen to a dictation of the full sentences, and write the missing words in the blanks.

1. Education in the United States is_________________________

until a certain age or grade level.

2. A small percentage of students attend private schools, either reli­gious or, but most attend public


3. There is no nationwide_________________________ , nor are there

nationwide_________________________ examinations set by the

federal government.

4. The federal government influences public education by providing

________________________ for special programs such as educa­tion for the and bilingual education.

5. Control of education in the United States is mainly

6. Each state has many school districts run by school boards whose

members are________________________ by voters of the


7. The amount of funding supplied by the state and by the local

school districts_________________________ over time and from

state to state.

8. Public schools are funded to_________________________

_________________________________________________ by local


9. Government funding of private schools, which are generally

religious schools, is now and has been________________________

for some time.

10. Charter schools are________________________ public schools

that_________________________ with regular public schools for


11. Charter schools operate under_______________________ to a

sponsor, usually a state or local school board, to whom they are

12. of the voucher concept believe that

private schools offer better education.

13. of the voucher concept claim that

using tax money for private schools__________________________

the separation of church and state built into the U. S. Constitution.

14. The federal government in 2002, passed an educational

________________________ that requires states that wish

to receive certain federal funding to develop and put in place extensive testing programs and other systems to ensure

________________________ " of students.

Follow-up: Check the spelling of the dictated words with your teacher.

Discuss the meanings of these words and any other unfamiliar words

in the sentences.

C. Predictions

Using the photograph and the vocabulary exercise as a starting point, write three questions that you think will be answered in the lecture.

Example: • What are the other responsibilities of the local school





Follow-up: After you have written your questions, share them with your teacher and your classmates.

Q D. Notetaking Preparation

1. Structuring: Outlining

A good notetaker structures his or her notes. As you develop this skill, add numbers and letters to show the organization of your notes. Part of this chapter’s lecture is presented here for you to practice this skill before you listen to the complete lecture. Complete the outline below with information from subtopic 1. Some information is included in this outline to help keep you on track. Fill in the rest as you listen. Take a minute now to look over the outline to see where you need to fill in information.

ST1 Three levels of control

A. _________________________

1. Sets basic curriculum

B. School district

1. Numbers depend on

2. Responsibilities




■’ r. уллй ан»іми, ііііц ^


1. Teachers’ responsibilities



2. Rhetorical Cues

Read the following sentences, which contain rhetorical cues to help you follow the organization of the lecture. Decide in which order you will hear them. Number them from first (1) to sixth (6).

__ a. Control of education in the United States is mainly

exercised locally at three levels. Let’s begin with the state department of education.

__ b. The first issue deals with the inequality of educational

opportunities that students face.

__ c. Finally, I’d like to discuss three issues related to the funding

of schools that have been receiving a lot of attention recently in the United States.

__ d. The second level of control is the school district.

__ e. The second issue is the issue of funding for private schools.

__ f. The third level of control is the individual school itself.

II – LISTENING_______________________________________________

£/! A. First Listening

Listen for general ideas. After an introduction in which the lecturer mentions distinguishing features of public education in the United States, she goes on to discuss the three levels of control on education within each state. You already have notes on ST1 in Section 1 D. l. She then goes on to explain how funding contributes to local control. Finally, she discusses three important issues related to how public ed­ucation is funded. As you listen, write the subtopics in the appropriate places and details you have time for. Structure your notes like the example in Section 1. D. l.




Follow-up: Check your major subtopics with your teacher before you listen to the lecture for the second time.

Q B. Further Listening

While structuring the notes, write down remaining relevant information.

Follow-up: Check your notes. If you missed important information or have doubts about your notes, (1) verify them by asking a classmate questions to fill the gaps in your notes or (2) listen to the lecture a third time. When verifying your notes with a classmate, do not show each other your notes,- ask specific questions to get the information you need.

Examples: • Who is responsible for the hiring of teachers? Is it the

school district or the individual school itself?

• Where does the largest percentage of money for the pub­lic schools come from? Is it from the state or the local school district?

• What are the major differences between charter schools and voucher schools?

This is also a good time to check to see if the lecturer answered your Predictions questions about the lecture.

(и) A Accuracy Check

Listen to the following questions, and write short answers. You will hear each question one time only.

1. _________________________________________________________









10. __________________________________________________

Follow-up: Check your answers with your teacher. If your score is less than 70 percent, you may need to listen to the lecture again or rewrite your notes so that you can understand and use them later.

B. Oral Activities

1. Review

In groups of four, use your notes to reproduce sections of the lecture. Student A will present the introduction, and Student В will present subtopic 1, including details. Student C will present subtopic 2 with details and Student D, subtopic 3 with details. Check what you hear against your notes. If you don’t understand or you disagree with what you hear, wait until the speaker finishes. Then bring your notes into agreement by seeking clarification, as follows.

• Excuse me, can you tell me what two functions of the state government are?

• Could you repeat what you said about public education in the nineteenth century?

• I’m afraid my notes about taxes are different from yours.

Discuss with a classmate how the educational system in your country is different from that in the United States. Try to use some of the ideas and vocabulary from Vocabulary and Key Concepts—for example, nationwide curriculum, standardized examinations, required courses, electives, control, compulsory.

C. Collaboration: Summary

Work with a partner, and use your notes to write a summary of the lec­ture in no more than 125 words. Be sure to include information about public and private schools, funding and control of schools, and current issues in U. S. public education.

Follow-up: Share your summary with at least one other pair. Tell the other pair what you particularly like about their summary.

D. Pursuing the Topic

The following are recommended for a closer look at public education issues in the United States:


www. ed. gov

Explore the Web site of the U. S. Department of Education to find out about current topics in public education.

http://nces. ed. gov

Explore the Web site of the National Center for Education Statis­tics to find current statistics and research on education in the United States.


Stand and Deliver, Roman Menendez, director; 104 minutes, PG.

This film is based on the true story of a high school teacher who tried to inspire students and raise academic standards in a U. S. inner-city, minority neighborhood school.

Dead Poets’ Society, Peter Weir, director,* 129 minutes, PG.

This film depicts the efforts of a teacher who uses poetry to inspire private preparatory school students to be more expressive and to “seize the moment, ” with unexpected dramatic results.


Interview a U. S. citizen who attended public schools to find out his or her view on some of the issues highlighted in the lecture. Beforehand, write questions as a class to ask

• the person’s opinion of his or her public school education

• what he or she thinks are the best and worst things about public schools

• what the person thinks about tax money in the form of vouchers going to private schools

• what he or she thinks about prayer in public schools

• any other questions your class is interested in

Write down the answers to the questions, and share the informa­tion with your classmates.

Variation: Invite an American to visit your class, and have the whole class interview him or her using the questions that you wrote.

Field Trip

If you are studying in the United States, it may be possible for your instructor to make arrangements for your class to visit a local public elementary, middle, or high school. Although the details of such visits have to be worked out with the school you visit, American students will be curious about your country and culture, so be prepared to answer questions.

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