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In public opinion polls education consistently ranks among the top issues of concern to the American electorate. While there is some disagreement over whether American education has improved or declined over time, and how well it measures up to international standards, there is little disagreement over whether the education system should be improved.

Liberal advocates often argue that more money needs to be spent on education, hiring more teachers to reduce student-teacher ratios and raising teacher salaries to levels comparable to other professions. They also argue that educational resources should be distributed more equitably, so students in poor school districts are not left behind. Conservatives often counter that a great deal of money is already being spent with little to show for it, and that control over education policy needs to be returned to the state and local level. Many further argue that private or public school choice will bring market pressures to bear on a system that suffers due to lack of competition.

There is less concern generally expressed about America's colleges and universities. They are widely regarded as among the best in the world. There is more concern about the cost of a college education, and whether enough Americans have the resources to pursue a postsecondary degree.


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