Structure of U.S. Education
or someone rom another country, the U.S. educationalsystem understandably appears large and varied, evenchaotic. Within this complexity, however, American educationreects the history, culture, and values o the changing countryitsel. From a broad perspective, the American educationalsystem can be characterized by its large size, organizationalstructure, marked decentralization, and increasing diversity.
Schools in the United States — public and private,elementary and secondary, state universities and privatecolleges — can be ound everywhere, and the United Statescontinues to operate one o the largest universal educationsystems in the world. More than 75 million children and adultswere enrolled in U.S. schools and colleges in the 2005-2006academic year, according to the National Center or EducationStatistics. Another 6.8 million were employed as teachers,teaching kindergarten through college.In addition, more than a million preschool children romlow-income amilies, usually ages three and our, attendHead Start programs designed to provide learning, socialdevelopment, and nutrition programs to ensure that thesepreschoolers will be ready or school at age ve or six.Public school enrollments grew exponentially during thepost-World War II “baby boom” generation (usually dened asthose born rom 1946 to 1964). Ater a drop-o in the 1980s,enrollments have rebounded strongly, largely as a result o growing Hispanic populations, according to the latest U.S.Census Bureau reports. The U.S. educational system today comprises almost96,000 public elementary and secondary schools, plus morethan 4,200 institutions o higher learning, ranging rom small,
Students experimenting with hydraulics in a vocational class.