Public Education

Public education in the United States is built on local control from locally elected school boards to appointed regents overseeing universities in cooperation with state departments of education.  Overlaying the local systems, however, is a federal Department of Education and efforts by presidents and the Congress to direct and influence the nation's classrooms.  It was 19th century reformers who pressed to make public education not only available but compulsory with some states limiting the requirement to elementary schools.  Congress joined in during that time providing support for state land-grant universities who, in exchange for the federal aid, provided agricultural research and military training.  The biggest recent change in American education came in 2002 when President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act.  The controversial law required states to generate tests and standards to measure the annual progress of students and schools, give students of failing schools more options including transfers to other schools and provide more information.  The Obama administration, despite pressure to scrap the NCLB act altogether, has instead opted to grant waivers to states that agree to impose their own standards to improve and measure standards, accountability and teacher effectiveness.

 

Massachusetts (change)

 
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Offices & Officials

Governor: Deval Patrick
Lieutenant Governor: Tim Murray
Attorney General: Martha Coakley
Secretary of State: Bill Galvin