Education Authority & Oversight

girl smilingIn the current system of education, states are given the authority to structure how they legislate and oversee the delivery of education for their children. (More information about the U.S. education system can be found in Module 4: The U.S. Public Education System.)

As a result, there are variations from state to state about how much control each level—state, district, and school—has over education policies and oversight. Obtaining a clear understanding of the landscape of authority and oversight in education is important to School Liaisons who may need to navigate the local chain of command to ensure military families are accessing appropriate resources for their children.

The state board of education, which can be elected or appointed, has oversight authority over the state education agency in most states. These boards generally have authority over curriculum standards, graduation requirements, testing, teacher licensure, and the development of rules and regulations for the administration of state programs. Local school boards have authority over schools and are responsible for the oversight and day-to-day operation of schools, including the appointment or election of superintendents. In many cases, local schools also have governing boards, or school improvement councils. In some large cities, mayors have control over the education system, and the school district is an agency of the city government. Local laws determine the authority of these boards. The key for School Liaisons is to understand existing local education structures and find ways to secure support for military families and the schools that serve them. School Liaisons may choose to participate in policymaking groups and various committees, representing the interests of military-connected children.