First Public High School: English Classical School

The English Classical School, Boston, MA.  Credit: Intellectual Takeout

The English Classical School, Boston, MA. Credit: Intellectual Takeout

Thursday, May 25 — The first public high school in the U.S. was organized this month in 1820. The English Classical School opened in 1821 with 101 male students in Boston, which also was the seat for America’s first high school of any kind, the Boston Latin Grammar School. Boston Latin, beginning in 1635, sought to prepare young men for admittance to Harvard as divinity students. English Classical placed its emphasis on more general studies.

High schools were slow to spread, and by 1870, there were still only 500 public high schools in the U.S. Today, there are over 20,000 public high schools across the country. Current enrollment in both public and private high schools stands at 16.5 million.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey here.

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