Every community in the United States has a public school system, responsible for educating children at elementary and secondary levels. Public schools are supported financially largely by local property taxes, with additional aid from state and federal governments. Federal and state agencies set some standards for local public schools, such as the minimum length of the school year necessary to qualify for government aid, but local community school boards actually administer the schools. Among literally thousands of different public school jurisdictions, districts, taxing authorities, and administrations, educational procedures and standards can vary widely across the country.
Public schools are free. They are also mandatory starting with First Grade (usually age six). Parents can be arrested and prosecuted for keeping their children from school, unless they go through a difficult process of proving that the children are receiving an adequate education at home, or arrange for their children to attend a private school.
Begins at Age Five. Some communities offer public pre-school education or nursery schools for children three and four years olds, but public school in America usually begins with kindergarten, for five year olds. Kindergarten children learn the basic elements of numbers and the alphabet, and, parents and teachers hope, beginning socialization skills.
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