KWright Timeline

  • Harvard established

    Harvard established
    Harvard was established as the first college in the New World. Its benefactor, John Harvard, gave half of his estate to the college when he passed away in 1638. The university was established by the Great and General Court of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England with a whopping endowment of 400 British pounds. This is the equivalent of $518.01 in today’s U. S. dollars! (Source:
  • General School Law of 1642

    General School Law of 1642
    Puritan-based law passed by Massachusetts General Court to require parents to provide basic education for their children to stave off the devil and to give children basic knowledge of colonial law. The hope of this law was that it would create a citizenry of law-abiding citizens. Children could be removed from their homes if it was perceived that parents were not doing an adequate job of educating their children. (Source:
  • Old Deluder Satan Law

    Old Deluder Satan Law
    The Old Deluder Satan Law was passed in Massachusetts to require every town of more than 50 people to appoint a teacher to educate the town’s children. This was the first requirement of formal schooling outside of the home. According to Mazat (n. d.), the law was passed as a result of the perception that the 1642 law was not being adequately followed by parents. (Source:
  • Massachusetts General Court supervises teacher behavior

    Massachusetts General Court supervises teacher behavior
    The Massachusetts General Court passed a law to require elders to remove any teacher who was viewed as not adhering to strict standards of religious and moral purity. The town elders and Harvard College faculty supervised teachers with an eye on strict adherence to the Puritan religious and moral code. This was another means of enforcing Puritan beliefs. (Source:
  • William and Mary established

    William and Mary established
    Almost 60 years after the establishment of the first college in the New England colonies, the first Southern college was established, the College of William and Mary. W & M was established with schools of grammar, philosophy, and divinity. At the time, most Southern colonial male students still returned to England for Higher Education. W&M represented a new direction for education in the Southern colonies. (Source:
  • Franklin's Plan for Education

    Franklin's Plan for Education
    Ben Franklin wrote Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensylvania [sic]. The pamphlet was Franklin’s conception of what college could look like if it were more focused on practical skills for careers other than medicine and clergy. Franklin’s proposal stood in opposition to the classical education provided at the only other existing colleges at the time. (Source:
  • Dock writes Schul-Ordnung

    Dock writes Schul-Ordnung
    Christopher Dock, a Mennonite educator in Pennsylvania, wrote Schul-Ordung, the first school management book every written. Dock’s pedagogical philosophy stood in stark contrast to the Puritanical education methods of the previous 100 years in the New England colonies. Dock believed in being kind and gentle with students and worked to educate from a place of understanding and humility. (Source:
  • Jefferson's Ideas about Free Public Education

    Jefferson's Ideas about Free Public Education
    Thomas Jefferson proposed the first system of free public education in the Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge. Jefferson was advocating three years of free public education for any student who was not enslaved, regardless of the child’s financial situation. A version of the bill was passed in 1796, 15 years after Jefferson’s original bill was written. (Source:
  • King's College becomes Columbia

    King's College becomes Columbia
    King’s College in New York was re-named as Columbia University after the American Revolutionary War. King’s College was established in 1754 as the fifth college in the U. S., preceded by Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, and Princeton. The newly named College, Columbia University, was the earliest center for graduate education in the United States. It remains one of the most well-regarded graduate schools for teacher education today. (Source:
  • Establishment of Land Grant Institutions

    Establishment of Land Grant Institutions
    In 1785 and 1787, the first land grant institutions were established. The purpose of land grant institutions, in addition to providing the classical education provided at older universities such as Harvard and Yale, was to teach agriculture, military education, and mechanical arts. The idea was that land grant institutions could provide higher education for children of working class families. Source:
  • Rush's Practical Vision for Education

    Rush's Practical Vision for Education
    Benjamin Rush wrote his take on education in a post-Revolutionary world, Thoughts upon the Mode of Education in a Proper Republic. Similar to Thomas Jefferson’s education plan 7 years prior, Rush’s plan focused on twenty points, noting, among other things, that Latin and Greek should be abandoned in favor of English instruction and that the purposes of higher education should be more practically focused. (Source:
  • Sunday Schools established for Working Children

    Sunday Schools established for Working Children
    Sunday schools were established in the U.S. to teach children working long days in factories how to read. The childrens' work hours did not allow time for school. When compulsory education took hold across the country, Sunday School's focus did not became purely religious in nature until the 1870s when compulsory education took hold across the country. Source:
  • "Infant schools" established in Indiana

    "Infant schools" established in Indiana
    The first "infant school," an early predecessor of early childhood education or daycare, was established by Robert Owen in 1825 in New Harmony, Indiana. Owen was one of the first people to believe that infants and young children could be shaped by pedagogy. His movement began in the UK and spread to the U.S. in the first quarter of the 1800s. Source:
  • Lyceum Movement established

    Lyceum Movement established
    The American Lyceum Movement was organized by Josiah Holbrook in Connecticut in 1826. The Lyceum movement provided free avenues of thought and instruction to communities and aside form its focus on applied science, mechanical arts, and history, the Lyceum provided a venue for public discussion of social issues, such as abolition of slavery. Khrapak, V. (2014). Reflections on the American Lyceum.
    Journal of Philosophy & History of Education, 64(1), 47-62.
  • Maclure establishes agricultural school

    Maclure establishes agricultural school
    William Maclure established the first school related to industry and agriculture in Connecticut in 1828. Maclure felt his classical education left him with no real skills, so he set out to establish his school in Spain, but ended up living in Mexico and traveling to the U. S. where he stablished his first school. Maclure believed students benefitted from a focus on reading, arithmetic, and field-based science. Source:
  • McGuffey's Readers First Published

    William McGuffey first published his set of readers in 1836. The readers are among the most popular books ever. In fact, they were published until 1960. A former Miami University professor, McGuffey created a set of four readers to progress from phonics, to word repitition, to passages for comprehension. He used real stories, as opposed to the traditional boring word lists. Source:
  • Lancaster-Bell Monitorial System Popular in U.S.

    Lancaster-Bell Monitorial System Popular in U.S.
    Monitorial schools of Joseph Lancaster and Andrew Bell were established in the U.S. around 1840. Monitorial schools are what might be referred to as "peer to peer" learning programs today. The idea of monitorial schools was that older students were trained by a teacher and then were largely responsible for teaching younger students. The method allowed schools to enroll and teach large numbers of students with one teacher. Source:
  • Common Schools Established in South

    Common Schools Established in South
    Although common schools were established in the northeast and middle Atlantic states before the Civil War, it wasn't until after the Civil War when common schools were established across the South. However, though Massachusetts became the first state to make segregation of schools illegal in 1855, it would be another century before Brown vs. Board of Education desegregated schools in the South. Source:
  • Morrill Act

    Morrill Act
    In 1862, Senator Justin Morrill of Vermont sponosred what would become known as the Morrill Act. In an effort to provide education for farmers and children of working class families in the West, the Morrill Act designated land to be donated for the establishment of land grant colleges. The purpose of land grant colleges was to provide an alternative to classical education, with education in agriculture and mechanics. Source:
  • Establishment of Freedman's Bureau

    Establishment of Freedman's Bureau
    Post-Civil War during Reconstruction, the Freedman's Bureau was established to assist former slaves in building lives of independence post-slavery. Education is touted as one of the greatest successes of the Freedman's Bureau. In fact, over 1,000 Black schools were built from Freedman's funds and many teachers' colleges established. Source:
  • Torrey Harris establishes first Kindergarten in U.S.

    Torrey Harris establishes first Kindergarten in U.S.
    William Torrey Harris established the first kindergarten in the U.S. Harris was a proponent of the mathematics instruction of Friedrich Froebel, a German, who focused much of his work on geometrical objects that children could use in early childhood to explore properties of geometry. Sources:, Steen, A. (1990). On the shoulders of giants: New approaches to numeracy. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
  • Kalamazoo Case establishes public High Schools

    Kalamazoo Case establishes public High Schools
    The first taxpayer-funded high schools were established in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1858. In 1873, an opposition group of wealthy citizens challenged the high schools on the grounds that taxes could fund only primary schools, as directly stated in the law. A year later, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in favor of the high schools saying any law passed to support primary schools could not exclude secondary schools. Source:
  • Committee of Ten establishes first standardized curricula

    Committee of Ten establishes first standardized curricula
    Due to differing philosophies of the purpose of a high school (college or career readiness), high schools across the U.S. taught different subjects. In 1892, the National Education Association determined a need for standardizing curricula and organized the Committee of Ten, a group of educators to determine standards for each subject. All of the committee members were and most served as university presidents. Source:
  • Plessy v Ferguson

    Plessy v Ferguson
    In 1896, Plessy v Ferguson, commonly referred to as "separate but equal" upheld racial segregation in public places, such as schools. Schools would remain legally segregated until it was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. However, even after Brown (and still today) true integration of schools remains a struggle. Source:
  • Dewey establishes Lab School

    Dewey establishes Lab School
    John Dewey established the first "lab school" focused on teacher preparation at the University of Chicago. Dewey wanted to establish an elementary school where he could put his progressive ideas to the test. Though the concept has largely fallen out of favor, there are many who believe that lab schools may be a way to increase collaboration between educators and researchers. Source:
  • Hall publishes Adolescence

    Hall publishes Adolescence
    In 1904, G. Stanley Hall, an American psychologist published Adolscence, the first book to recognize adolescence as important stage in human development. Hall noticed that in post-Civil War Reconstruction, children did not grow up and become adults who immediately worked alongside their parents because they did not have to enter the workforce because many processes were becoming automated. Source:
  • Cubberley’s Changing Conceptions of Education

    Cubberley’s Changing Conceptions of Education
    Ellwood Cubberly was among the first educational adminstrators to advocate professional training for teachers. He advocated for an elevation of both public schools and the teaching profession. His book, Changing Conceptions of Education, advocated for freedom for administrators, education for teachers, and quality public education for students. Source:
  • American Federation of Teachers established

    American Federation of Teachers established
    The American Federation of Teachers was established in Chicago in 1916 with eight member schools. AFT's purpose was to fight for higher pay, economic in security, and dictatorial working conditions, including limitations on how many dates per week a teacher could have. Initially, teachers were bullied into signing contracts indicating they would not join a teachers' union. These "yellow dog" contracts were outlawed in 1932. Source:
  • Commission on Reorganization of Secondary Education

    Commission on Reorganization of Secondary Education
    In 1918, the Commission on Reorganization of Secondary Education established its 7 Cardinal Principles for secondary education. The 7 Cardinal Principles focused on health, command of fundamental processes, worthy home-membership, vocation, civic education, worthy use of leisure, and ethical character  Source: Wraga, W. G. (2001). A Progressive legacy squandered: The "Cardinal Principles" Report reconsidered. History of Education Society, 41(4), 494-519.
  • Kilpatrick establishes Project Method

    Kilpatrick establishes Project Method
    William Kilpatrick, a follower of Dewey's progressive methods, introduced his Project Method in 1918. The Project Method, the foundation of project-based learning, was rooted in the emphasis of students' own interests in their learning. Project-based learning has received much recent interest in education as a means of making educational experiences more relevant for students. Source:
  • League of United Latin American Citizens established

    League of United Latin American Citizens established
    In 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens was established in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a civil rights organization for Hispanic people in the U. S. The purpose of LULAC was to protect and represent the social and civil rights of Hispanic Americans. LULAC represented a merger of three major Hispanic civil rights organizations: The Knights of America, The Sons of America, and The League of Latin American Citizens. Source:
  • Life Adjustment Education introduced by Prosser

    Life Adjustment Education introduced by Prosser
    Charles Prosser established vocational education with his campaign for what he called "life adjustment education." Like many critics of his time, Prosser asserted that traditional high schools were not doing much to prepare the majority of non-college bound students for life after high school. Source:
  • Mendez v Westminster

    Mendez v Westminster
    Thurgood Marshall represented then 9-year-old Sylvia Mendez, who was barred from attending white schools due to Plessy v Ferguson. Marshall was the first to take the stance that segregation was psychologically damaging to students. Mendez v Westminster effectively desegregated California schools, laying the groundwork for Brown v Board of Education 8 years later. Source:
  • Sweatt v. Painter

    Sweatt v. Painter
    Hermann Sweatt was denied admission to the University of Texas School of Law in 1947 based on race. The school instead attempted to provide separate but equal facilities (ala Plessy v Ferguson). In 1950, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal would not hold in this case as the facilities could not possibly be equal. Source:
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    Fifty-eight years after the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of legal segregation of public spaces under Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court overturned that verdict in Brown v. Board of Education, ruling that Plessy violated equal protection under the law addressed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Brown began the long road of integration of U. S. schools. Source:
  • National Defense Education Act

    National Defense Education Act
    Following the Russian launch of Sputnik, the National Defense Education Act was passed in 1958 to spur funding for U.S. institutions of higher education. The idea behind the NDEA was twofold: 1) A means of convincing Congress to provide federal funding for education, something that had previously been left to states, and 2) increase U.S. competitiveness in the space race. Source:
  • James Conant publishes Slums and Suburbs

    James Conant publishes Slums and Suburbs
    In 1961, James Conant published his account of what he referred to as "slum school," or what we would refer to today as low-income or disadvantaged schools. Conant pointed out the great disparities in schools in economically disadvantaged areas and those serving African American students. Source:
  • Lau v. Nichols

    Lau v. Nichols
    Lau v Nichols argued that the San Francisco Unified School District's failure to provide English instruction to all of its non-English speaking students violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students, noting that the district was violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Lau v Nichols is credited with the beginning of bilingual education in the U. S. Source:
  • A Nation at Risk

    A Nation at Risk
    In 1983, President Ronald Reagan presented the findings of the National Commission on Excellence in Education. The commission's charge was to examine the quality of U.S. education and their findings were less than positive. A lack of rigor and standardization in U.S. education were noted as major problems for the U.S remaining internationally competitive. Thus began the standards movement in the U.S. Source:
  • No Child Left Behind

    No Child Left Behind
    The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002 was a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. NCLB greatly increased the federal government's role in public school accountability. The federal government increased testing, data reporting, and student achievement requirements across several tested subjects in grades 3-8 and some high school subject areas. Source: