In the United States, education is offered at all levels from pre-kindergarten to graduate school. Elementary and secondary education involves twelve years of schooling the successful completion of which leads to a high school diploma. A distinct feature of the American educational system is its decentralized organization. Three levels of government – local, state, and federal financially support elementary and secondary education. Furthermore, it is divided into public and private institutions. The main disadvantage of decentralization is the quality of education received by some of the students. On the other hand, a real plus to the idea is the fact that not all students are concentrated on the same topics of study, which allows each student to specialize in a certain
In theory, responsibility for operating the public education system in the US is local. In fact, much of the local control has been superseded, and state legislation controls financing methods, academic standards, and policy and curriculum guidelines. Because public education is separately developed within each state, variations exist from one state to another.
The main advantage to this is that it allows students to discover their interests. For instance, if a state requires that a student must take three years of chemistry or three years of physics, the student may choose one of those subjects and specialize in it. This in some way will help the pupil choose a college major and maybe a career.
A definite disadvantage to the decentralized system is the local school districts. Local school districts often levy property taxes, which are their major source of capitol. Many problems arise because the heavy reliance on the local property tax causes a disparity in the quality of education received by students in different districts. Rich communities can afford to pay more per student than poorer communities; consequently, the disparity in wealth affects the quality of education received.
Due to the fact that rich communities provide their local school district with more capitol than poorer communities it is my belief that local taxes should no longer fund education. Funding should come from the federal government. This would allow for all school districts across the nation to be equally funded. Curriculum decisions should be made on the local level but I feel it is imperative that the federal government becomes involved directly in the financing of our public school.