Control of educational issues in the US – Term Paper – Term Paper

According to Gottfried et al. (2011), matters of education in the US are considered as issues of public interest which imply that the Federal government , as well as the State government, lays a role in education. Public schools are managed in a different way from the private schools thus implying that the Federal government and the state have reduced control over such schools. However, both the public and the private schools have to adhere to certain regulations established either at the local or federal level.Public opinion has always been considered as an important input in the governance of education.The overlapping mandate may exist when assessing the respective roles of the Federal government and those of the state government. This paper will focus on establishing the institution with more control on education issues.

Role of the federal government

The federal government is the most powerfulinstitution in the US and through its law-makingorgans; various laws are developed for adoption in the US (Jacobsen & Saultz, 2011). Despite the fact that the states also have the power to develop by laws, the ones developed by the state are more powerful across all states in the US. The same approach applies to the education control through development of policies. The State Government is responsible for the development of policies that apply to all schools in the US. The rules developed at the state level have the effect of limiting the power of States from enacting completely different laws to control education. All the education related acts at the federal government require all states to adopt and help in implement. However, the federal government has never proven to be directly responsible for theimprovement of schools.The state only develops laws that are general to all states in the US and may fail to consider unique differences of specificstates.

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The constitution of the US has not been explicit or declarative on assigning the Federal government a role in providing education(Ashwill, et al.). Therefore, it is evident that the Federal may have little control in the governance of schools. For many years, the attention of the state has only been required whenever broader issues in education sector affect all or most states in the US.  The Federal government may establish a bureaucratic approach in monitoring and compliance evaluation.

The role of the State government

The institutional setup of the US has ensured that the states have the power and mandate to establish local laws that meet the specific interest at the state level. However, all the states have to adhere to the set up established by the federal government. The by-laws governing education in one state may not resemble the bylaws of another state. States have been established to play a crucial in theimprovement of schools within their boundaries.

It has been established that the states have assigned roles and responsibilities of managing the public schools to the local officials before 1980’s. However, the involvement of the States has significantly increased after 1980’s.The state government is directly responsible for the central funding, which has significantly increased. The state government is equally responsible for development of state curriculumstandards and setting standard requirements for teachers. Every state has the challenge to establish state-level initiatives that would help schools achieve the Federal set goals.To achieve this, most states have come up with a framework that ensures the entire stateachieve the recommended standard. While some states focus their reform initiatives on curriculum, other states pay more attention torecommending standards for teachers. Such states have been keen to establish development programs to help improve the teachers’ ability.

From the established argument, it can be established that the both the state and the federal government play a part in controlling educational issues in the US. Therefore, responding to the issue of control, it is evident that they all play a part. It can also be identified that the degree of control, as well as the levels of control, vary between the Federal and State government approaches. The Federal government is at the highest level of policy formulation while the State at a lower level. It signifies that the state government is very close to the schools that the federal government. This wouldinfer that the state has more control on educational issues in the US. It is the state that is responsible for allocating funds and development of reforms or initiatives aimed at improving education. The state has more access to arealistic public opinion as compared to the federal government, and these opinionsare converted to the local policies or development frameworks. While the federal government approach to controlling education can be termed as ageneral approach, the state approach is more specific. The federal government technically provides a template that other states adopt in controlling the education. It would also be established that the state government also delegates duties other bodies below it but closely monitors the performance.


Ashell, M. A., Foraker, W., Hofer, B. K., Maldonado, C., LeTendre, G., Lubeck, S., et al. (n.d.). The Education System in the United States: Case Study Findings. Retrieved from National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment Office of Educational Research and Improvement U.S. Department of Education:

Gottfried, M. A., Stecher, B. M., Hoover, M., & Cross, A. B. (2011). Federal and State Roles and Capacity for Improving Schools. Retrieved from Rand Education:

Jacobsen, R., & Saultz, A. (2011). Trends – Who Should Control Education? Retrieved from The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University: