Attributes of Public Schools

1595 Words7 Pages
The phrase “public schooling” appears to constantly evolve and change making it difficult to define the term which has largely become an oratorical device used to reference a wide array of assumptions American politicians and society utilize in referencing the educational system within the United States. Recent developments in the educational system such as charter schools, on-line education, and voucher programs which enable participants to use public monies to pay tuition at sectarian schools and tuition tax credits for private schools are developments that make it difficult for educators to clearly define the parameters of the term public education. This essay defines the attributes of public education as directed by the California Department of Education and the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Clinchy (2004) defined public education as “a school created, operated, and largely paid for by the citizens of each community through a locally elected board of education (p. 448). The forefathers of the United States designated in the Constitution that the basic sovereignty of education be left in control of individual states and although federal and state monies designated for schools has increased significantly over the years the conventional control at the local state level has managed to remain unscathed. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the importance of local control in 1973 when it issued the majority opinion in the San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez decision:

In an era that has witnessed a consistent trend toward centralization of the functions of government; local sharing of responsibility for public education has survived. The merit of local control was recognized in both the majority and ...

... middle of paper ...

...greater good of humanity, despite the narrow-minded predilection of the throng. Although public education is not easily defined it should be an institution governed by farsighted leaders interested in fulfilling societal needs versus individual needs for the greater good of humanity. Perhaps John Dewey (1954) the father of public education defines the ideals of public education the best as “public schools are those that service public ends, regardless of the monitoring arrangements of revenue sources” (Hess, 2004, p. 435).

Works Cited

Clinchy, E., (February, 2004). Reimagining public education. Phi Delta, Kappan. 448-450.

Edwards, S., (2010) California Department of Education. Retrieved from:

Hess, F., (February, 2004)) What is a ‘public school’? principles for a new century. Phi Delta Kappan. 433-439.
Get Access