About 85% of American students attend public schools (schools supported by American taxpayers). The other 15% attend private schools, for which their families choose to pay special attendance fee. A new school year starts each fall and lasts to the beginning of the following summer. Students attend classes for an average of five hours a day, five days a week. Four fifths private schools are run by churches, synagogues or other religious groups. All states require young people to attend school. The age limits vary: 32 states require attendance to age 16; eight to 18; etc. Thus, every child in America is guaranteed up to 13 years of education.
Secondary school generally means grades 9-12. These grades are popularly called ¡§high school¡¨. Certain subjects are taught in all K to 12 systems across the country. Most secondary schools offer the same ¡§core¡¨ of required subjects: English, mathematics, science, social studies and physical education. In some high schools, for example, students must complete three years of mathematics before graduation. However, the national average is lower. Students are guided by school counselors in choosing electives, which can range from specialized academic to vocational subjects.
Out of more than three million students who graduate from high school each year, about one million go on for higher education. The system of higher education in the United States is complex. It comprises four categories. They are as follows: