Before education reformists began to campaign for tax-funded schools in the late 1800s, only the very wealthy were able to get an education in the United States of America. Children whose parents could finance their education attended costly private schools. Education eventually became available to more youngsters, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that people attended school beyond the customary eight years. In fact, “high school” wasn’t even heard of before the Great Depression, when it was apparent that it was more productive to keep teenagers in the classroom so they wouldn’t be competing for the scarce jobs available. Millions of kids now attend school each year, and public schools enable students of all socioeconomic backgrounds to earn an education.