Primary functions of the educational system in the United States are to prepare young people for personal and career development and perpetuate the socialization process, which begins at home. At an early age, students learn basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills, which form much of the building blocks for skill and knowledge development as they get older.
Some educators believe that the K-12 school system is designed to prepare students from both personal and career demands of adult life. Others believe the K-12 system is focused on getting students ready for the progression to college, which is a bit more of a short-term goal.
Helping children recognize the importance of their roles in American society and the cultural factors in play are important educational functions as well. Children take history classes to understand the history of the United States, and how that contributes to current cultural norms. Students also receive training in building relationships with their peers and valuing diversity. As the United States has a very diverse population, it is important that students accept differences among cultures.
Occupational training increases in importance as students get into high school. Students gain exposure to career training through required and elective courses.