Public school in the USA

All children have a right to free public education in every state in the USA. Learn about public school in the United States. Find helpful information and know what to expect.

male teacher helping child in classroom

What other types of schools are there?

You can choose what type of school to send your children to. Most children go to public school because it is free. There are other ways to educate children in the USA instead of public school.

Private schools

Students must pay to attend private school. Some are very expensive and offer scholarships to help children from families with low income.

Churches or religious organizations manage many private schools.

Private schools often have different rules than public schools.

Charter schools

Charter schools are free. Your child needs to apply to enroll; many charter schools have a waiting list.

They have the same academic and legal requirements as public schools.

Charter schools do not have to follow all the rules that public schools must follow.


Homeschooling is when a tutor or the parents teach children at home.

The parent must know and follow the state’s rules for homeschooling. These rules can vary from state to state.

There are many free homeschooling resources. but you’ll have to spend on books, computer programs, and school supplies.


Are there other things about U.S. public schools I should know?

Parents have responsibilities

Children must go to school in the United States. As an adult, you are responsible for sending your children to school. If you do not send your children to school, you can get in trouble and face legal issues. This varies by state. 

Other parent responsibilities include:

  • Send your child to school clothed, rested and ready to learn. (If there is a school dress code, your child must follow it) 
  • Review your child’s report card
  • Be aware of your child’s homework and class expectations.
  • Be part of school programs for parents
  • Read and sign parent notices
  • Be involved and maintain communication with your child’s teacher.

School Dress Code: Rules explaining what students can wear to school. These rules can be different for each school. The dress code is what the school considers appropriate. (Longer shorts, clothing that doesn’t promote the use of drugs, no low-cut tops, and no pajamas)

Safety in schools is essential

In the United States, it’s common for students to take part in emergency drills. Students learn what to do in case of a fire, a natural disaster, the presence of an intruder, and shootings.

Unfortunately, violence in schools is a common problem. Some types of school violence include

Recent school shootings have become a great concern for authorities, educators, and parents. Schools use different strategies to keep their students and staff safe.

Many schools have cameras to watch the main areas of the school. Others control the entries to the school and request picture IDs for teachers and staff. Some schools have installed metal detector checks too.

You can ask your child’s teacher or visit the school to learn more about the safety measures the school takes.

Preventing school shootings: resources

Causes for school shootings and how to prevent them
Gun safety resources in Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Persian, Amharic, Urdu, Vietnamese, Chinese and other languages
Video about school shootings and what can be done by parents, teachers, students
10 things you can do to prevent violence in your school. Tools for parents to start conversations with their children.
Say Something Program: Students can anonymously report a classmate at risk of harming themselves or others

本页信息来自 the Department of Education 以及其他可信来源。 我们的目标是提供易于理解、定期更新的信息。相关信息不是法律建议。