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Education in the U.S.

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The K–12 system is provided by the American public sector. Governance of the system and funding come from three distinct levels namely, Federal, State and Local. In the US, public education is universally availed to all, with childhood education being compulsory. While the three levels of governance and funding exist, the core curricula, teaching, funding and related policies are set in particular school districts according to the directives given by the local legislature. The school districts are run by locally elected boards, with each district being assigned a budget and representative officials. The school districts are then monitored by the states such that the standards of education and standardized testing are the responsibility of state governments (Gatto 6-11). This is where variance comes from in the K-12 system. States have variant compulsory education age requirements beginning from five years to eight years and ending from fourteen years to eighteen years. Given that each district determines its curriculum, the US education system is near chaotic. The curricula variance is as broad as the number of school districts in the country. Schools will offer distinct topics, depths and quality, while private schools will even include some religious classes as their mandatory subjects.

Arguments over curricula standardization have seen some advocate for standardized testing, standardized texts, standardized subjects and similar proposals some of which are mandated by the recent No Child Left Behind Act. Some claim that Geography and Astronomy aren’t being taught adequately. The use of English in the classrooms has also been debatable, with some school districts introducing English as a Second Language (ESL), for the sake of Spanish speaking and other Hispanic children without proficiency in English.

Beginning in 1980, experts agree that there has been a decline in the supplyof well-educated Americans to the job market. Foreign-born members of the workforce are becoming increasingly the most reliable. Notably, there has been a decreasing growth of educational attainments among those schooled in the US.

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