UNITED STATES SYSTEM OF EDUCATION:
Control and Financing
FOR LIST OF
|The Constitution of the United States, when it divided the powers between
the federal government and the states, left responsibility for education
to the states by keeping silent on the subject. The 10th Amendment
to the Constitution provides that “the powers not delegated to the United
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved
to the states respectively, or to the people.” The people have always
placed the authority over education – and the responsibility for organizing
and administering it – squarely in the hands of the states, agencies and
institutions within the states.
Role of the Federal Government:
Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were strong supporters of federal aid to education. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 committed the federal government to expenditures of $1.3 billion in that year alone. The trend towards increased federal support for education has continued under Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. [link to: http://www.ed.gov/updates/PresEDPlan]
The responsibilities of the federal government toward education as they have evolved today are to provide encouragement, financial support and leadership. The Congress of the United States has constitutional powers to allocate funds for education, but it has no direct control over education. Several departments within the federal government (e.g., the Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture) also make large expenditures on specific educational programs.
The agency having primary responsibility for education in the United States is the Department of Education. The Department, as constituted in 1979, provides leadership and cooperates with institutions and professional associations in efforts to strengthen and improve public education.
President Clinton appointed Richard Riley Secretary of Education in
1992. The President’s and Secretary’s priorities are reflected in
seven major new initiatives for Fiscal Year 1999:
Role of the state government:
The state board of education determines educational policies in compliance with state laws. Board members are elected by the people or appointed by the state governor and usually serve for terms ranging from two to six years. They are empowered to formulate policies relating to educational affairs such as allocation of school funds, certification of teachers, textbooks, curricula, library services, sports facilities, and provision of records and educational statistics.
The key education official and chief executive officer of the state board of education is called the superintendent of public instruction or state commissioner of education. Superintendents or commissioners may be elected by the people, or appointed by the governor of the state or by the board of education. They usually serve from one to six years – their term of office is usually determined by the board. They are responsible for administering the state school system and implementing policies adopted by the board.
Role of the local community:
There are approximately 15,500 school districts in the United States. The great majority are run by regularly elected boards of citizens, usually five to seven in number. Working within certain broad policies set at the state level, these boards collect taxes, construct buildings, determine instructional policies, employ teachers and administrators, and generally oversee the day-to-day operation of the schools.
The superintendent of the schools is responsible for execution of the policies set down by the local board of education. Together, the superintendent and the board prepare the school budget, determine the amount of local taxes (usually property taxes) necessary to finance the school program, employ teachers and other school personnel, provide and maintain the school buildings, purchase equipment and supplies, and provide transportation for pupils who live beyond a reasonable walking distance from school.
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