What Is a Public School?
Public schools are universal: They are available to everyone. Public elementary schools, middle schoolsand high schools are funded and controlled by three levels of government: The United States Department of Education on the federal level, state-level departments of education and by the school district at the local level. As of the 2008-09 school year, there were about 13,800 public school districts across all 50 states. Each school district sets the curricula, funding and employment for schools within their boundaries, with direction from the state. Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are also made by the state. With over 97,000 public schools in the United States, almost 50 million students are enrolled in public primary (elementary) or secondary (high) schools. Teaching jobs are never scarce in the public school system; the need for talented, dedicated teachers is always there. Throughout the country, the need for teachers varies by region, grade level and subject, but no matter where you are looking, the jobs are there. In fact, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2010-2011, employment of teachers is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that public schools will employ about 3.3 million teachers during Fall of 2011. Teaching in public schools also offers a measure of job security not necessarily found in other occupations. Many states have tenure laws that allow teachers who preform well to obtain tenure after a set amount of years worked. Tenure prevents public school teachers from being fired without just cause and due process, and while it does not guarantee a job, it does provide some job security.