Typical American public elementary schools consist of children aged 6-12 and have Kindergarten (similar to pre-school) to 6th grade. From here they usually attend a middle school of 7th and 8th grade, then finish schooling at a High School from 9th to 12th grade. There are variations of this format found throughout the nation, but most follow this layout. Public schools are supported by the taxpayers and budget and education officials are determined by public voting. To which school a child attends is determined by where they live.
There is also a private school system that is provided for by student paid tuition. Many schools are religiously affiliated and are completely separate from the state. Tuition is usually very expensive, averaging between $10,000 and $20,000. Scholarships and financial Aid may be available through the school.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) includes over 750,000 students kindergarten through 12th grade and is the country's second largest district. The district encompasses 704 square miles including the City of Los Angeles and all or parts of 28 other cities. Like many school districts in the US, it has been faced with insufficient funding and now operates under the the "90-30" which has students attend school for 90 days, then take 30 days off year-round.
There are several notable Universities in the Los Angeles area. The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Southern California (USC) are all excellent universities and boast superb research divisions. UCLA is a public university and has enrollment of about 40,000 (www.ucla.edu). USC is a private school and has an enrollment of about 30,000 (www.usc.edu). Other prominent colleges and universities in the area include the California Institute of Technology (http://www.caltech.edu/), California State University (www.calstatela.edu), Loyola Marymount University (www.lmu.edu), Pepperdine University (http://www.pepperdine.edu/), and Mount St. Mary's College (www.msmc.la.edu).
Universities are quite expensive with prices rising every year. Public university can cost around $6,000 to $10,000 in tuition alone with housing, books, and other academic necessities costing much more. The academic school year usually runs from September to June with an optional summer quarter which is another expense. Private university is much more expensive with tuition costing somewhere between $20,000 and even up to $50,000 annually. Scholarships and financial aid help students attend the university of their choice, but most students must take out loans to complete their education.
Like many things in LA, the library system is enormous. The Los Angeles Public Library System has over 6 million volumes in over 70 branches throughout the metropolitan area. The largest branch is the third largest public library in the country. Here you can find maps, audio tapes, films, art reproductions, mobile libraries, and special services for the visually impaired. There are also some unique compilations of California history, African American fiction, genealogy, Japanese prints, rare books, and the nation's largest collection of materials on food and drink, including several thousand menus, primarily from California restaurants. More information about the library system can be found at www.lapl.org and the main office is at 630 West Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071-2097 and the telephone is (213)228-7000.
All the major universities also have excellent libraries. UCLA and USC have 6.2 million and 2.7 million volumes respectively. The Los Angeles County Law Library also has a collection of resources in all areas of the law.
Los Angeles has become an important place for the advancement of science and pursuit of research. Three of the cities most prestigious universities, UCLA, USC, and the California Institute of Technology, do amazing work in the field of research. Twenty Nobel prize winners have come from LA's research community. Current research is conducted into many fields including archaeology, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, schizophrenia, sickle cell anemia, oncology, astronomy, seismology, foreign policy, armament and disarmament, desert studies, and ocean studies.