The issues of public education in US and the possible solutions to improve its quality in terms of educational outcomes for all student groups in US.
In US the government mainly provides public education. However, the funding and control do not come from federal government. It differs from state to state and the control and funding can come from federal, State and local bodies. The school boards determine the curriculum, teaching and other educational policies and it differs from state to state. In US public education competes with private education and the private education system in most cases is superior in educational quality in terms of curriculum and in terms of student’s academic performance, teaching quality, extra curricula activities in elementary and secondary level.
The cost per student is less in private educational institutions than public education in elementary and in secondary level. In a higher education the cost is very high and the private universities have more elitist status than the public universities in general. It is not accessible to most student groups. There are charter schools, which are parochial in nature in secondary and in elementary level and they are also superior in terms of educational quality in general compared to public schools. In some state it has home schooling system, but not in all states. In US the age of entry in to school system and exist from the school system differs and the grading system also varies from state to state. The standardized test and educational standards are mostly administered by the State government.
US Public Education system Performance statistics compared to other advanced Industrial Countries
In an article Education in United States in the
Encyclopedia the following statistics have been documented:
- United Nations assigned an Education Index of 99.9 for United States ranking it number 1 in the world.
- 76.6 million students enrolled according to K16 study and 72% aged 12 to 17 were judged academically on track. Of these, 5.2 million attending private schools.
- Among the adult population, over 85% completed High school and 27% received bachelor degree or higher.
- Literacy rate of 98% of the population over age 15, while ranking below average in mathematics and Science understanding.
- A recent study showed, that a slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate than European and Japanese adults. The participation in continuing education is high for United States.
These statistics shows, that the American public education system perform in some measures well and not in others, particularly in mathematics and science education
compared to other advanced industrial countries. As Science and mathematics, is crucial for future technical potential of US compared to other advanced countries, if US lags behind other advanced industrialized countries, it lose its competitive edge in this crucial field. This hamper it’s economic and social development in the future.
The above statistics shows, a substantial proportion of students aged 12 to 17 are not academically on track and they may become unemployable or unemployed due to lack of skills and may become burden to society as a whole. Based on the statistics above, even though overall the US public education system is performing well it has serious weaknesses compared to other advanced industrial countries.