Schooling is compulsory for all children in the United States, but the age range for which school attendance is required varies from state to state. Most children begin elementary education with kindergarten (usually five to six years old) and finish secondary education with twelfth grade (usually eighteen years old). In some cases, pupils may be promoted beyond the next regular grade. Some states allow students to leave school between 14–17 with parental permission, before finishing high school; other states require students to stay in school until age 18. Educational attainment in the United States, Age 25 and Over (2009) Education
High school graduate
Associates and/or Bachelor's degree
Doctorate or professional degree
Most parents send their children to either a public or private institution. According to government data, one-tenth of students are enrolled in private schools. Approximately 85% of students enter the public schools, largely because they are tax-subsidized (tax burdens by school districts vary from area to area). School districts are usually separate from other local jurisdictions, with independent officials and budgets. There are more than 14,000 school districts in the country. More than $500 billion is spent each year on public primary and secondary education. Most states require that their school districts within the state teach for 180 days a year. Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner. Nearly 6.2 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2007 dropped out of high school, including nearly three of 10 Hispanics. The issue of high-school drop-outs is considered important to address as the incarceration rate for African-American male high school dropouts is about 50 (fifty) times the national average. In 1971, the Supreme Court...
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