Since American schools are designed to serve their local, state, and national communities, the general public has an important voice in the purpose and role of schooling in America today.
In 2000, a survey of California residents was conducted by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and Public Agenda (Immerwahl, 2000). Results showed that the majority of the residents believed that higher education served a wide range of educational purposes. The poll showed that the majority of California tax payers felt the purpose of post-secondary education was to develop a sense of maturity and an ability to manage independently (71%), develop skills to get along with people different from oneself (68%), develop problem solving and thinking abilities (63%), develop specific expertise and knowledge in a chosen career (60%), develop writing and speaking ability (57%), and develop a sense of responsible citizenship (44%).
Immerwahl, J. (2000). Great expectations: How Californians view higher education. San Jose, CA: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and Public Agenda.