It is important to note that the education system plays a critical role in ensuring the continuous development and flourishment of society. However, it is not evident how to manage, govern, and design an education system in order to maximize its benefits. Decentralized forms might offer more flexibility and local adjustability but can also result in educational inequality, whereas centralized forms are rigid and might not always be effective.
The current education system in the United States is mostly decentralized and fragmented, and discussions are being held on its directions of development. The main advantage of a centralized system is coordination in favor of national interests. It is stated that “while public officials, advocates, and researchers may disagree on how to improve governance, there is considerable consensus that such improvements could help the nation make progress toward achieving its urgent education goals” (McGuinn and Manna 8). However, such reforms might not be as effective as one expects since researchers “find no discernable effect of reforms on statewide achievement gaps between high- and low-income students or between minority and white students” (Lafortune et al. 4). The main advantage of the decentralized format is that “there is an enduring, significant commitment to local educational freedom that is rooted in variations in culture, economics, geography, history, language, and politics” (Vergari 239). However, it results in education inequality and inaccessibility for low-income students.
In conclusion, a centralized education system favors national interest and offers coordination. A decentralized system is more reflective of the local population’s needs and interests. However, the former does not offer enough benefits to justify control of the entire education system, whereas the latter leads to inequality since schools become high variant in their quality of education.
Lafortune, Julien, et al. “School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 10, no. 2, 2018, pp. 1-26.
McGuinn, Patrick, and Paul Manna. “Education Governance in America: Who Leads When Everyone Is in Charge?” Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Patrick McGuinn, and Paul Manna, Brookings Institution Press, 2013, pp. 1-17.
Vergari, Sandra. “Education Governance in Canada and the United States.” Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Patrick McGuinn, and Paul Manna, Brookings Institution Press, 2013, pp. 231-251.