A starting point for understanding many of the difficult challenges facing policy makers who are committed to helping young people in the US become ready for colleges and careers is to review the long-standing disconnect between public K–12 and higher education. K–12 and postsecondary education operate in fundamentally different worlds in the United States Core structures–governance, funding, and accountability; curriculum and assessment; and pedagogy and training–are kept separate, while large numbers of students regularly flow across the system divides. The nation's education governance systems have a deeply rooted history of institutional divides. The divided cross-system governance situation is particularly problematic for students who attend the nation's broad or open access institutions, and especially for community college-bound students. The origin of the disconnect between K–12 and higher education in the United States stemmed, in part, from the way the nation created education systems to deliver curriculum for both K–12 and higher education.