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Public Education in the United States programs of instruction offered to children adolescents and adults in the United States through schools and colleges operated by state and local governments Unlike the nationally regulated and financed education systems of many other industrialized societies American public education is primarily the responsibility of the states and individual school districts The national system of formal education in the United States developed in the 19th century It differed from education systems of other Western societies in three fundamental aspects First Americans were more inclined to regard education as a solution to various social problems Second because they had this confidence in the power of education Americans provided more years of schooling for a larger percentage of the population than other countries Third educational institutions were primarily governed by local authorities rather than by federal ones The most notable characteristic of the American education system is the large number of people it serves In 1995 87 percent of Americans between age 25 and 29 had graduated from high school Among those who had completed high school 62 percent had completed at least some college and 28 percent had earned at least a bachelors degree Expanding access to college education is an important priority for the US government In his 1997 State of the Union address US president Bill Clinton called for the creation of new public policy to enable virtually every high school graduate to receive some form of college education After the American Revolution 1775-1783 the founders of the United States argued that education was essential for the prosperity and survival of the new nation Thomas Jefferson author of the Declaration of Independence proposed that Americans give a high priority to a crusade against ignorance Jefferson was the first American leader to suggest creating a system of free schools for all persons that would be publicly supported through taxes In 1779 he proposed an education plan that would have supported
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