It’s easy to understand why the United States has long been a popular choice for students from throughout the world. A wide range of students can enrol in flexible curricula and various higher education institutions, giving them the opportunity to focus on a range of academic fields. For kids, basic and secondary educational institutions provide a wide range of possibilities, and the majority of them place highly in international education rankings.

In the United States, education is a huge social institution that costs billions of dollars and employs millions of people. Nearly one-fourth of Americans, or 75 million people, attend school on some level. There are 40 million students in pre-kindergarten through grade 8, 16 million in high school, and 19 million in colleges and universities (including graduate and professional schools). They are instructed by over 4.8 million teachers and professors at roughly 132,000 elementary and secondary schools, 4,200 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities, and 132,000 post-secondary institutions (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

Typically, American education begins with kindergarten at approximately at age five or six and lasts for 12 years straight, divided into elementary, middle, and high school. The start of the academic year is often at the end of August or the beginning of September, and it lasts until May 31 or early June. The precise dates may vary between states and between schools.


I will start by disusing American education and the several initiatives taken by the government impact as no child is left behind and race to the top. In order to assist the States in establishing successful educational systems, the initial Department of Education was established in 1867.

The NDEA supported college students for universities loans for science, maths, and other foreign languages in primary and secondary schools, diplomas, and vocational-technical training to ensure that highly educated people help America compete in science and technological aspects with the Soviet Union FEDERAL EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMS

Ronald Reagan pledged during his 1980 presidential campaign to dismantle the Education Department and end federal involvement in K–12 education. Reagan reduced the Education Department’s budget from $16.6 billion to $13.5 billion and then again to $9.9 billion in 1983 shortly after winning the presidential election. Widespread attention was drawn to A Nation At Risk’s allegations and educational shortcomings. Congressmen presented more than 140 measures for various educational changes, and state and local governments worked to strengthen teacher qualifications and raise educational standards.

President Bill Clinton 1993 came up with education reform. After serving for a year, Clinton signed into law the Goals 2000: The Educate America Act. This programme provides funding to any state implementing standards-based reform without requiring a focus on a particular group of students or subjects. It also made it mandatory for all schools and teachers to operate in a standards-based environment.  George W. Bush introduced his first legislative proposal: No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

From a sociological point of view, Christine Lagana-Riordan and Jemel Aguilar argue that claims that aspects of a student’s community, neighbourhood, family, home, and personal qualities are also connected to risk factors for poor academic achievement. There are few chances for success when a youngster comes from a setting where education is not valued, where drugs and violence are prevalent, where their family is weak, and where schoolwork is not prioritised. Schools cannot only hire professional tutors to raise a student’s test score in order to address their low academic performance. Instead, before asking children to concentrate on their academic achievement, it is necessary to provide them with the support they need to address their outside-of-school difficulties. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 paved the groundwork for such change. Race to the Top is an initiative for States that achieve in the four main areas of education reform should be praised and rewarded.


Positives –

1. Diversity

There is a wide range of courses are offered by American universities that too in the English language, so students can easily choose any area of study in any university in America.

2. Flexibility of Education

In order to improve your ability to grow your talents and personality, it also pushes you to widen your knowledge in other areas. Instead of merely taking courses that are directly related to your field of study, you can consider taking courses in public speaking, argumentation, literature, and public relations if you are studying to become a lawyer. The emphasis placed on the formation of a holistic state of mind is another intriguing aspect of the US educational system. This means that your abilities are acknowledged and developed through promoting your participation in extracurricular activities, outdoor pursuits, round tables, research, etc.

3.  Student life and their education

Every year, many universities draw the most talented and smartest scholars from all over the world because of their educational excellence. You will be able to converse and communicate with leading researchers who have extensive ground skills and knowledge. 

4. International recognition

With a few exclusions, US higher education institutions are highly regarded all across the world, and applicants with US diplomats have a better chance of being recruited. 

5.   Better Student Experience

For students, the overall experience will be engaging and functional. Universities attract the best students, faculty members, and intellectuals from around the world, allowing them to make network and meet high-profile individuals. Learning this entails students actively interacting with such networks and engaging in open dialogue and discussion.

Extracurricular activities are also encouraged for students and can help them advance in their careers.

6. Academic Education Flexibility

With English as their main language, students can choose any field of study based on their personal interests, increasing flexibility. Students have access to an infinite number of programs from that they can choose anything to study based on their academic program choices, and this approach is largely what a large percentage of higher-education universities in the United States follow.

Negatives –

1.  Diversity as a negative

Students can find a wide variety of courses offered by the US educational system because of the country’s tremendous increase in international students over the years. Each state has its own curriculum, resulting in pupils with diverse levels of education. Due to this, there is a void in the student’s education and a breach in their general knowledge. This causes employers to favour some universities over others, which increases workplace inequality.

2. High cost of education

One of the major setbacks of US education is the cost as the high standards of quality education come with a freight. The US education fees are among the highest in the world, reaching up to $50 000 per year. Higher education in America is too expensive and is becoming more and more out of the reach of the middle class. Loss of governmental assistance comes first.

3. High Admission Rate

It is not an easy process to apply to a university or college in the United States. Universities seek intelligent and well-rounded students who excel in extracurricular activities. So getting good grades, such as an A, is insufficient if this is the only thing on your application offer. TOEFL and IELTS exams are also required for international students as part of their admissions requirements.

4. Lack of Social Benefits for students

During Periods of Study, International students should be provided with social security and healthcare, and all of this requires a lot of paperwork and time.

Health insurance is required for international students in the United States, which means they must incur additional costs. If you intend to study abroad, keep these considerations in mind.

5.  Job options

Students studying abroad may have fewer job opportunities. Because of immigration restrictions, you will not be able to find work and it could be a difficult situation for you but with the right guidance and research, post-graduate opportunities are available after completing your studies.


In the end, the US education system offers a variety of opportunities for personal, professional, and academic advancement that are widely acknowledged, despite the high tuition costs and the cumbersome process. Although not highly diverse, the US educational system does provide the opportunity for cultural fusion wherein differences are welcomed and students live as a community. American schools are in trouble due to pandemic closures and escalating debates over the curriculum, face masks, and vaccinations. Many students experienced significant learning loss, and some are concerned for their well-being and safety while on campus.

Between 2000 and 2017, the United States slipped from fifth to 10th among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), The dropout rate is highest for Latinos and Native Americans and lowest for Asians and whites.


  • Bardis, P. D. (1965). Education and Sociology in the United States of America. Sociological Bulletin, 14(2), 27–38.
  • Schlesinger, A. M. (2002). A thousand days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Arugay, A. Module 12: Social Change and Social Movements.
  • Lagana-Riordan, C., & Aguilar, J. P. (2009). What’s missing from No Child Left Behind? A policy analysis from a social work perspective. Children & Schools31(3), 135-144.
  • Lagana-Riordan, C., Aguilar, J. P., Franklin, C., Streeter, C. L., Kim, J. S., Tripodi, S. J., & Hopson, L. M. (2011). At-risk students’ perceptions of traditional schools and a solution-focused public alternative school. Preventing School Failure55(3), 105-114.
  • Pham, N. (2013). The contribution of private sector colleges and universities to IP-intensive industries in the United States. ndp analytics.
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Anisha Hans is currently interning with the Sociology group and recently graduated in MA Sociology from Gd Goenka University. Therefore, I am a quick learner and not afraid to take risks and make mistakes. My experience as a budding sociologist is multifarious and like to work with people around me. I am left-liberal in my ideology.