Public schooling in the United States has undergone many transformations, from the localized instruction in small colonial villages mainly led by clergy and women, to a national educational institution defined by laws and policies. Through these transformations, American public education has taken shape in the backdrop of historical exclusion and systemic discrimination of many groups of people. Thus, in order to address the underlying factors that give way to unequal or inequitable education, we must understand the systemic and historical roots of these problems. This socio-historical knowledge provides the tools to critically analyze current reform efforts and educational policies shaping American public education in the 21st century. The purpose of Essay 2 is to think critically and analytically about an issue, idea, or problem related to American public education.