36. Educational Developments, Colonial Period to 1870

  • Harvard Founded

    Harvard University was founded and was the first college in the United States.
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony Law

    If children weren't being educated properly, the leader of the town would take the child on as an apprentice.
  • Virginia Colony Law

    Virginia passed a law similar to the one passed in Massachusetts.
  • Old Deluder Satan Act

    Massachusetts passed a law in 1647 declaring that towns with 50 families had to have a teacher to teach writing and reading. Towns with 100 families had to establish a grammar school.
  • Few Public Schools Exist

    Very few public schools exist in the country. There were only 23 in Massachusetts at the time.
  • Expanding Educational Focus

    Harvard College started to add courses such as mathematics and astronomy, shifting the educational focus from religion and the classics.
  • The Petition of Prince Hall

    Prince Hall, a black Masonic leader petitioned for educational equality for black and white children. He reasoned that if black families payed taxes, their children should have a right to go to a public school. His petition failed, but it convinced the black community to later petition for separate schools for blacks and whites.
  • Sam Adams

    Samuel Adams, the governor of Massachusetts declares that education should be extended to girls. He also stated that children should be taught to read before starting school.
  • First Private School for Blacks

    After failing to convince the government to extend public education to black students, Prince Hall decided to invite black families into his home, where he created the first private school for blacks.
  • School Districts Grow

    More school districts are created in the United States as education becomes increasingly important. Local taxes are used to support these districts, instead of the federal support that was given in the beginning.
  • First Free High School

    Boston English School was the first free high school in the country. It specialized in teaching students math, logic, science, and history in order to prepare them for a professional career.
  • New Education Laws

    New Education laws were created in the United States. They stated that towns with greater than 500 families had to provide public high schools.
  • First Board of Education in the US

    During its first 12 years, the Board of Education managed to increase state funding to education and teacher salaries. In addition, 50 new high schools were built, teachers were formally trained, and district libraries were formed.
  • US Department of Education formed

    The US Department of Education was formed to collect information on schools and teachers to help the US create efficient school systems.