Advantages and Disadvantages of Compulsory Education and Its Importance

National University
Sociology 100
Professor Jessica Skropranic
March 3, 2013

Advantages and Disadvantages of Compulsory Education

As of today, Compulsory education has become a huge impact to society in

countless numbers of ways. People take what education has to offer, for granted, but even

though people do, they should not take it for granted, but take advantage of this law

given. With the help of compulsory education, there can be many helpful successes we

can encounter such as well-organized people and a society that has improved and not

only changed, for the better. Compulsory Education affects the lives of adults and

children, but it will have its own advantages and disadvantages like the many things that

we come across in life. There is a reason why compulsory education is still an ongoing

development in our country today. Keeping the law will also create a better education

that is fine tuned for children as the time goes by. But it will still have its own

disadvantages as well. Before knowing the differences between the advantages and

disadvantages, we first need to know and understand what Compulsory Education is and

how it plays an enormous factor today in the United States.

Compulsory Education was discovered back in 1852, by a man named Horace

Mann. Horace took his time and persuaded the state of Massachusetts to create a system

of education that required children in the country to attend school and become educated,

whether it be home, public, or private school. In 1918, after 66 years after it has been

established, every state in the country embraced the Compulsory Education law, and from

then on, it still continues to have an influence in todays society as we speak. This law

expresses the age for beginning school and how long a child is required to stay educated,

within the confinements of school grounds. The National Conference of State

Legislatures express the definition of Compulsory Education in “Every state and territory

requires children to enroll in public or private education or to be home-schooled. More

than half—32 states—require students to begin their education by age 6. Some states’ set

their age requirements as low as age 5 and as high as age 8. All children are required to

continue their education into their high school years, with 26 states setting the cutoff age

at 16.” (NCSL)

Photo 1: Retrieved from

Compulsory Education plays a tremendously important factor. It has become very

effective when it comes to schooling. For example, an article on the Internet states, “One

additional year of compulsory schooling leads 
to 8% higher annual wages, and a 6%

lower likelihood of not being employed in any given year.” (CentrePiece) It serves as

breakthrough to education in society and provides a greater learning experience for

children in school. It also leads to many increased accomplishments for many children’s

futures as of today. We don’t necessarily need compulsory education, but without it, our

society would be extremely different. Our nation wouldn’t be as educated as we are today

simply because Compulsory Education is particularly important for the matter of how we

live our lives. Compulsory Education is one of the reasons why society is how it seems


Photo 2: Retrieved from

Compulsory Education not only has it’s own disadvantages, but the stronger and

more positive effect it has, are the advantages that this law offers. According to the

National Conference of State Legislatures, Compulsory Education decreases, juvenile

crime, teen pregnancy, and also the dropout rates for teenagers in high school nowadays.

They mention this effect in “To encourage more students to attend institutions of higher

education and to decrease dropout rates, juvenile crime and teen pregnancy, some state

legislatures have increased the school attendance requirement to age 17 or 18. (NCSL).

Compulsory education supports this because teenagers and children across the country

have these troubles and even though it decreases them, at some point it will not always

have a good outcome to it. It depends on the schools and teachers. But this law still has

an effect, and its effect is mostly keeping teenagers off of the streets from harm and to

have them focus in school better. The reason why this was created was for children to