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Education in the U.S.

  • Massachusetts Bay Colony decree

    The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony decrees that every town of fifty families should have an elementary school and that every town of 100 families should have a Latin school. The goal is to ensure that Puritan children learn to read the Bible and receive basic information about their Calvinist religion.
  • Two-Track System

    Thomas Jefferson proposes a two-track educational system, with different tracks in his words for "the laboring and the learned." Scholarship would allow a very few of the laboring class to advance, Jefferson says, by "raking a few geniuses from the rubbish."
  • The Continental Congress

    The Continental Congress (before the U.S. Constitution was ratified) passes a law calling for a survey of the "Northwest Territory" which included what was to become the state of Ohio. The law created "townships," reserving a portion of each township for a local school. From these "land grants" eventually came the U.S. system of "land grant universities," the state public universities that exist today.
  • Call for free public education

    Pennsylvania state constitution calls for free public education but only for poor children. It is expected that rich people will pay for their children's schooling.
  • New York Public School Society

    New York Public School Society formed by wealthy businessmen to provide education for poor children. Schools are run on the "Lancasterian" model, in which one "master" can teach hundreds of students in a single room. The master gives a rote lesson to the older students, who then pass it down to the younger students. These schools emphasize discipline and obedience qualities that factory owners want in their workers.
  • Boston Town Meeting

    A petition presented in the Boston Town Meeting calls for establishing of a system of free public primary schools. Main support comes from local merchants, businessmen and wealthier artisans. Many wage earners oppose it, because they don't want to pay the taxes.
  • First Public School

    The first public high school in the U.S., Boston English, opens.
  • The South

    By this time, most southern states have laws forbidding teaching people in slavery to read. Even so, around 5 percent become literate at great personal risk.
  • Horace Mann

    Horace Mann becomes head of the newly formed Massachusetts State Board of Education. Edmund Dwight, a major industrialist, thinks a state board of education was so important to factory owners that he offered to supplement the state salary with extra money of his own.
  • Irish immigrants

    Over a million Irish immigrants arrive in the United States, driven out of their homes in Ireland by the potato famine. Irish Catholics in New York City struggle for local neighborhood control of schools as a way of preventing their children from being force-fed a Protestant curriculum.
  • Massachusetts Reform School

    Massachusetts Reform School at Westboro opens, where children who have refused to attend public schools are sent. This begins a long tradition of "reform schools," which combine the education and juvenile justice systems.
  • Massachusetts passes first its compulsory education law

    State of Massachusetts passes first its compulsory education law. The goal is to make sure that the children of poor immigrants get "civilized" and learn obedience and restraint, so they make good workers and don't contribute to social upheaval.
  • Congress makes it illegal for Native Americans to be taught in their native languages.

    Congress makes it illegal for Native Americans to be taught in their native languages. Native children as young as four years old are taken from their parents and sent to Bureau of Indian Affairs off-reservation boarding schools, whose goal, as one BIA official put it, is to "kill the Indian to save the man."
  • African Americans mobilize

    African Americans mobilize to bring public education to the South for the first time. After the Civil War, and with the legal end of slavery, African Americans in the South make alliances with white Republicans to push for many political changes, including for the first time rewriting state constitutions to guarantee free public education. In practice, white children benefit more than Black children
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson decision. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the state of Louisiana has the right to require "separate but equal" railroad cars for Blacks and whites. This decision means that the federal government officially recognizes segregation as legal. One result is that southern states pass laws requiring racial segregation in public schools.
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    One-room classrooms

    One room schoolhouses where students of different ages worked on their own lessons (Cooper,Ryan,Bolick pg186).
  • Chinese immigrants

    The U.S. Supreme Court requires California to extend public education to the children of Chinese immigrants.
  • Smith-Hughes Act passes

    Smith-Hughes Act passes, providing federal funding for vocational education. Big manufacturing corporations push this, because they want to remove job skill training from the apprenticeship programs of trade unions and bring it under their own control.
  • Radios

    Classrooms begin to use radios nto penmenship, accounting, history and math ( )
  • Overhead Projection

    Began use in military and quickly spread to schools ( )
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    The NAACP brings a series of suits over unequal teachers' pay for Blacks and whites in southern states. At the same time, southern states realize they are losing African American labor to the northern cities. These two sources of pressure resulted in some increase of spending on Black schools in the South.
  • Silent Films

    52% of schools are using silent films to teach ( )
  • TV

    the first TV appeared in a classroom in LA; now the most widely used technology in schools ( )
  • Headphones

    Headphones became popular in schools and stations used to listen to audio tapes were dubbed 'language labs' ( )
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Supreme Court unanimously agrees that segregated schools are "inherently unequal" and must be abolished. Almost 45 years later in 1998, schools, especially in the north, are as segregated as ever.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas public schools

    A federal court orders integration of Little Rock, Arkansas public schools. Governor Orval Faubus sends his National Guard to physically prevent nine African American students from enrolling at all-white Central High School. Reluctantly, President Eisenhower sends federal troops to enforce the court order not because he supports desegregation, but because he can't let a state governor use military power to defy the U.S. federal government.

    BASIC developed at Dartmouth College with the intent to give students a simple programming language that was easy-to-learn ( )
  • Texas Instruments

    Texas Instruments develops the handheld calculator ( )
  • Ocean Hill-Brownsville

    African American parents and white teachers clash in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville area of New York City, over the issue of community control of the schools. Teachers go on strike, and the community organizes freedom schools while the public schools are closed.
  • Proposition 13

    The so-called "taxpayers' revolt" leads to the passage of Proposition 13 in California, and copy-cat measures like Proposition 2-1/2 in Massachusetts. These propositions freeze property taxes, which are a major source of funding for public schools. As a result, in twenty years California drops from first in the nation in per-student spending in 1978 to number 43 in 1998.
  • Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium

    The Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (later Corporation), most commonly known as MECC was founded creators of Lemonade Stand ('73) and Oregon Trail ('74) ( )
  • Milliken v. Bradley

    Milliken v. Bradley. A Supreme Court made up of Richard Nixon's appointees rules that schools may not be desegregated across school districts. This effectively legally segregates students of color in inner-city districts from white students in wealthier white suburban districts.
  • Comuters became Affordable

    Many software product were introduced to drill students on basic skills (Cooper,Ryan,Bolick pg 187)
  • Tribal Colleges Act

    The federal Tribal Colleges Act establishes a community college on every Indian reservation, which allows young people to go to college without leaving their families.
  • Apple Computer

    The Apple Macintosh computer is developed. The ration of computers to students in US schools is 1 - 92 ( )
  • Laptops

    Laptops are developed and are eventually utilized as teaching tools ( )
  • CD-Rom

    CD-ROM disks became the new kind of storage ( )
  • National Center for Education Statistics

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), about 35% of American public schools had Internet access ( )
  • Proposition 187 passes

    Proposition 187 passes in California, making it illegal for children of undocumented immigrants to attend public school. Federal courts hold Proposition 187 unconstitutional, but anti-immigrant feeling spreads across the country.
  • Proposition 209

    Leading the way backwards again, California passes Proposition 209, which outlaws affirmative action in public employment, public contracting and public education. Other states jump on the bandwagon with their own initiatives and right wing elements hope to pass similar legislation on a federal level.
  • Ron Unz

    California again! This time a multi-millionaire named Ron Unz manages to put a measure on the June 1998 ballot outlawing bilingual education in California.
  • Smart Boards

    SMART boards introduced in schools ( )
  • World Education Forum

    At the 2000 World Education Forum, which NEA attended, the United States and 170 other countries committed to the goal of achieving universal basic education by 2015. (NEA)
  • Internet

    80% of schools with internet access offered professional development training for teachers for integrating technology into classrooms. ( )
  • Internet Access

    99% of schools had internet access ( )
  • Personal computers

    1 computer for every 5.3 students in US schools ( )
  • Wireless devices

    1 wireless device for every 3.4 students in US schools ( )
  • Chromebook

    The Chromebook was created
  • ipads

    1.5 million iPads provided by schools ( )
  • Mobile technology

    90% of students under the age of 18 have access to mobile technology
  • 72 million children

    Worldwide, 72 million children of primary school age are not in school, 60 percent of whom are girls. More than half these children live in fragile, conflict-affected states. (NEA)