The U.S. education system is governed by a combination of state and federal institutions. Public universities are usually independent but under the supervision of state governments. State boards of education, also called chancellors, oversee campuses and set policies related to admissions, academic standards, and degree programs. State boards, in turn, are appointed by state legislatures and represent the interests of public and private institutions. Community colleges are often locally operated and governed.
The education system is very different in other countries. The federalist system places local governments in charge of education, while many countries place more emphasis on a decentralized system. Public schools receive government funding and are subject to regulations that govern how the money is spent. Private schools do not receive government funding and therefore have greater freedom over educational programs. The American left is irritated by the blurring of this distinction.
Public education in the US began as early as the 17th century, with Boston Latin School as the nation’s first public school. The Mather School was established in 1639, with expenses covered by taxpayers. Even before public schools became established, the colony of New England had the highest literacy rate of any colonial nation. This trend continued as more states made education compulsory. The education system in the United States is unique.
US public schools follow a different approach to end-of-school examinations than many countries. In the UK, the end of-school examinations are known as A Level, while in France, they are called Baccalaureat. Students graduate around age 18 after finishing their high school education. In some states, the education system is broken up into four stages – elementary, middle, and high school.