According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 75.2 million people were enrolled in American schools and colleges. Nearly 5 million people are employed as elementary and secondary school teachers or as college faculty and other professional, administrative, and support staff at educational institutions totaled nearly 5.5 million. Public education is big business in America. But public education is continually changing, driven as much by advancing technologies as by politics and the increasing need for a globally competitive workforce..
The changing face of public education is best understood in relation to its history. One of the most comprehensive histories in recent memory is provided by PBS, which created a wealth of online companion content for a documentary called “School: The Story of American Public Education”
Other good history resources:
Public education’s evolution is driven by government edicts like the No Child Left Behind Act and its commensurate demand for more public learning choices like charter schools and magnet schools, and small community schools.
There are many major ideas of why public schools can become more competitive in the labor markets:
♣ Equity: Everyone pays school taxes, so everyone should enjoy the benefits, even if they want to buy more than the tax dollars will allow. Equity equates success.
♣ Freedom: Maximizes the range of choices, and the decision to not harm others while allowing other children to learn more. Society benefits when children learn more.
♣ Parental involvement: Parents choose more carefully when there is not such a big out-of-pocket cost. Parents involved helps to keep the children involved.
♣ Efficiency: Price is a primary market mechanism. Changes can only reflect political forces. There are fewer costs because each child gets the same amount of public money.
Visit our Resource Directory for more information and resources on public education.