The Complexity of the U.S. Education System


The scale and complexity of the U.S education system is a frequent topic of discussion by politicians, policy elites, school administrative bodies and the general public. While most quotas agree that there is a need to fix some of the broken issues in the education system, some people disregard the notion that America has a weak education system as evident in the global index of the best school systems. The objective of this essay is to discuss the complexity of the U.S education system and show the primary areas of concern.

At face value, the organizational system of education is linear and hierarchical (Steele). The district has policy makers who delegate duties and authorities to the supervisory union in each region. The union directs the school administrators who manage the teacher that give directions to the students and partly parents. However, the above flow chart does not necessarily work because each school is a standalone community with teachers, students, a board of director, various administrative committees and parents’ organizations. Therefore, there are too many authorities in a single school let alone an entire district, state or even the country as a whole. The inner workings of the institutions are therefore difficult due to a flawed organization model (Steele). The school students population is another scale of measuring the level of complication of the education system. For example, some schools serve high student population than others because certain communities have a large population. According to Steele, demographics show that schools with a large population tend to have a large number of special needs children. The distribution of teachers and teacher quality is also uneven in most schools which lead to uneven delivery of knowledge, thus differing outcomes in education.

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One cannot discuss schools systems without the mention of the source of funding and resources. There is not a well-documented source of income for public schools in America except for military academies like the U.S Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland (Clack). The complexity is evident when a school receives funding and resources from private and public institutions. For example, while religious groups privately own 25 % of universities and colleges, the institutions are open to students of all faiths and even those without religious ties. Further, there is no documented source of funding as such colleges depend on tuition fee, benefactors and the government of financing (Clack). With all the inter-connections of institutions, religion, private and public sector, a learning system is doomed to fail in case of a missing link which can cause a crumble of the entire fabric of education.

The structures in each learning institution are also wanting. For example, most private schools use curriculum that is set by the state and financed by the federal government. However, the private schools are mainly funded by the students. Also, due to the small size of private schools, sports, and recreational activities by private schools are held on public school grounds. Such a scenario shows a thick contour of the American education system.

There is no national curriculum in the United States, and every state is at liberty to form its laws concerning the subjects students can learn in schools (Clack). For instance, while all states require young people to attend school, the attendance is limited to the age of 16 in some states and 18 in others. The confusion transfers to the political spheres where some members of Congress have often advocated that school boards should deny children of undocumented immigrants access to institutions of learning (Clack). The selection criteria for admission into higher institutions of learning is also a challenge as most people, especially the minority groups, cite discrimination during selection. For example, there is a low acceptance rate for African Americans into colleges compared to the entire population (Clack).


The education system is complicated on many fronts. Curriculum, funding, the standard of teaching, organizational flow and school structures are some of the major areas of contention. The rise in the population of immigrants has led to the claims that the education system is too complicated even as some people give the opinion that more courses should be added to the curriculum to adapt to the change in times. The remedy to the complexity of the U.S education system must take concerted efforts from all stakeholders.

Works cited

Steele, Caitlin, S. “The Complexity Of School Change.” N.p., 2015. Web. []. 1 Sept. 2017.

Clack, George. “A Diverse Educational System: Structure, Standards, And Challenges.” N.p., 2007. Web. []. Retrieved 1 Sept. 2017.