The first brick on the road to compulsory education in the United States was laid by the Massachusetts Act 1647 approved by the Supreme Court of the Plymouth Colony. The same law laid the foundation for a system of public schools: each settlement from 50 houses and above should have a school for teaching children to read and write, and larger settlements – grammar schools (in the English sense of this type of educational institution). 130 years after the formation of the USA, T. Payne and T. Jefferson put forward the requirement of universal free and compulsory education.

The first law in the United States on compulsory primary education was adopted in 1852 by the state of Massachusetts. In 1870, such a law existed already in 3 states, in 1880 – in 17, in 1900 – in 34, in 1910 – in 42, and only by 1918 each state had a law on compulsory education. In the 1860s, about 60% of children aged 6–13 years were enrolled in school in the North American states, and 72% by the end of the century. At the same time, the USA was the first among the capitalist countries to embark on the path of mass secondary education. In 1910, 15.4% were enrolled in grades 9-12 in high school, 32.3% in 1920, and 51.4% of young people aged 14-17 years old in 1930.

Currently, the age range in which school attendance is mandatory lies in the range from 5-8 to 16-18 years, varying from state to state. Some states are allowed to leave school with parental permission before graduation at the age of 14-17, while others require compulsory attendance before reaching the age of 18. However, many states allow geeks to accelerate their education.