jects before graduation; but not all subjects involve tests according to a national standard examination every year.

Annually, about 1.4 million high school graduates take the public university entrance examination, and 10-12 percent from public schools are accepted into public universities. Private universities, which are operated by nonprofit organizations, serve about an equal number of university entrants. All high school graduates can enroll in the first semester of the public distance-education system. If they pass the first semester, they can continue their higher education.

Many public schools have active parent councils that work with the school administrators to address some of the near-term school policies. Public schools are geographically distributed and/or neighborhood-based.

Private schools in Iran provide education for less than 10 percent of primary and secondary students, and they are for the most part limited to economically and socially elite groups. Private schools must also follow the Ministry of Education’s curriculum guidelines.

The salient features of the American education system that were discussed were that primary and secondary public schools are institutions of local governments or of local school systems, with curriculum and examination policies established at the state level. The proportion of students in private schools varies substantially among states and geographic regions, with less than 10 percent of students in private schools in the Midwest and West, and over 10 percent in many states in the East. Private schools are of two kinds: elite private schools, primarily for wealthier families, and religious schools, predominantly Catholic schools, with enrollment of a broader section of students.

Primary and secondary schools extend through 12 grades in the United States, with the majority of graduating students enrolling in some type of post-secondary school, usually a two-year community college or a four-year college or university. As in Iran, vocational students are less than 30 percent of high school students. Few vocational high school programs are thought to be technologically up-to-date and effective as preparation for immediate employment.

• Religious Education and Explicit Ethical Content in School Curricula.

In Iranian schools, students take mandatory religion classes throughout primary and secondary school in one of four state-recognized religions, depending on their professed belief and background—Islam, Judaism, Christianity, or Zoroastrianism. Examinations are given in each of these four curricula, as appropriate to the student. Prayers are conducted in schools for Muslim children. Children of other faiths are exempt.

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