History of American Education Timeline (Devon Roberts)

Timeline created by devondoberts
In History
  • Boston Latin School

    Boston Latin School
    The first Latin grammar school, Boston Latin School, is opened in 1635. This school and other Latin grammar schools like it catered to the sons of the wealthy and typically focused on preparing them for leadership positions in law, the ministry or government. Boston Latin School History
  • Harvard College Established

    Harvard College Established
    Harvard College is established as the first institution of higher learning in the colonies. It is situated in Cambridge Masssachusetts. It was founded by a vote of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636, but actually named Harvard in 1638 after John Harvard, a minister who left his library and part of his estate to the college. Historical Facts about the History of Harvard
  • Massachusetts Passes First Education Law in America

    Massachusetts Passes First Education Law in America
    In 1642, Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the first education law that made it a requirement that children learn to read and write. It is likely that this law was passed due to the Puritan conception that non-Puritans were not doing enough to educate their children. This law was later revised in 1647 that required towns of a minimum size to establish and support primary schools. Read more here
  • First Publication of the New England Primer

    First Publication of the New England Primer
    The New England Primer was first published between 1687 and 1690. It was based largely upon an English textbook, The Protestant Tutor, that the publisher, Benjamin Harris, also had published before settling in America. Prior to the New England Primer, schools in the American Colonies relied on textbooks brought from England. It was used extensively until the publication of Webster's Blue Back Speller in 1783.
  • Essay Concerning Human Understanding

    Essay Concerning Human Understanding
    John Locke publishes his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in which he expresses the idea that the human mind is 'tabula rasa' or a blank slate at birth. He argues that knowledge is created through sense experience and reflection. He refers to ideas as objects before the mind. Read the essay here
  • Establishment of Membership Library in 1732

    Establishment of Membership Library in 1732
    Benjamin Franklin convinced members of Junto, a thinkers club, to contribute money to a fund to purchase more books as they wanted more materials for their weekly discussions. The collection began with books on education and religion, but eventually broader topics were included. Notably this collection was almost entirely in English as opposed to Latin. Read more here
  • Hornbooks - Early Teaching Aide in Colonial America

    Hornbooks - Early Teaching Aide in Colonial America
    There is some evidence of American colonists using hornbooks, one of the country's first instructional materials, just as they had long been used in Europe. Hornbooks get their name from the transparent sheet of horn used to protect a parchment or rag paper depicting the alphabet and other items such as the Lord's Prayer or syllabarium. (Plimpton, G. A. (1916). The Hornbook and its use in America. Proceedings Of The American Antiquarian Society, 26(2), 264-272.)
  • Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

    Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
    Pestalozzi took up Rousseau's ideas and developed what became known as the "Pestalozzi Method" based on them. The focus of this method was to have children learn through activity and interacting with objects and the environment. Pestalozzi placed an emphasis on spontaneity and self-activity. His work later influenced William H. Kilpatrick. Read more
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes Emile, or On Education in 1762

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes Emile, or On Education in 1762
    Rousseau publishes Emile, part philosophical treatise and part novelization about a new approach to educating the protagonist, Emile. The work deals with both philosophy and morality and attempts to show how an individual can be educated around the central tenet of compassion and be protected from the corrupting influences of society. This work influences child-centered approaches in education. Read more
  • Dock published School-Management (Schulordnung)

    Dock published School-Management (Schulordnung)
    Christopher Dock, a German immigrant and long time school master wrote the first treatise on pedagogy in America in 1750 entitled Schulordnung or School-Management (not published until 1769). The book advocated for a less strict environment, in which persuasion and discussion were used for classroom management. Dock advocated for students to receive recognition for industriousness. Read more about Dock
  • Johann Friedrich Herbart

    Johann Friedrich Herbart
    Herbart was an educational philosopher who originated the concept of the apperceptive mass which referred to the ability of adding new ideas to existing ideas to form networks. This concept anticipates schema theory. Herbart strongly believed that the purpose of education is to create morally upstanding individuals, and he advocated for character education through the humanities and literature. Read more
  • Friedrich Froebel

    Friedrich Froebel
    Froebel was a German educationalist who is best known for originating the kindergarten system. Much of his work stemmed from his perspective that the purpose of education is to encourage humans to become thinking and perceptive beings who aspire to moral perfection. Froebel popularized learning through play, the use of play materials ('gifts') and engaging in activities ('occupations') for learning. Read more
  • The American Spelling Book (The Blue Back Speller)

    The American Spelling Book (The Blue Back Speller)
    Noah Webster, most famous for compiling the American English dictionary that bears his name, also created a popular textbook for children in the 19th Century known as 'The Blue Black Speller.' It assisted students learning to read and spell, but also included subjects such as morality and government. It was another project that furthered his aim of creating a distinctly American language and culture. Read more here
  • First Public Library Opens in Franklin, Massachusetts in 1790

    First Public Library Opens in Franklin, Massachusetts in 1790
    A town in Massachusetts named itself after Benjamin Franklin and reportedly requested him to donate a bell. Instead, he donated a collection of books. The town voted for the books to be made available freely to the public thereby creating the first public library. Eventually a building is built to house the collection
  • Elizabeth Peabody

    Elizabeth Peabody
    This amazing woman was a thought leader involved in the Transcendentalist movement. Some of her claims to fame include being one of the first women to publish extensively, she ran her own press, she was a core figure in the movement to spread kindergarten across the country, and in later life worked for peace, women's suffrage, and Native American rights. Read more here
  • Emma Hart Willard publishes "A Plan for Improving Female Education"

    Emma Hart Willard publishes "A Plan for Improving Female Education"
    Emma Hart Willard was a leader in women's education. She realized that women needed better education and believed they were well suited to be teachers. After a career of teaching and administering schools, she published a work, "A Plan for Improving Female Education," that secured funding to open a school for girls in Troy, New York that offered a better education than most boys schools. Read more
  • Samuel Read Hall opens Concord Academy

    Samuel Read Hall opens Concord Academy
    Hall opens the first training school for teachers in the US, the Concord Academy in 1823. He goes on to write numerous textbooks on teaching and for children; he developed a new method for teaching history and geography based on student interest, and he may have been the first teacher to require students to write compositions and use the blackboard. Read more
  • American Transcendentalism

    American Transcendentalism
    The Transcendentalist movement, led by figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott championed the individual and posited that as individuals became enlightened through education, so to would society become enlightened. Some of these ideas were communicated in Emerson's addresses the "American Scholar" and "Self-Reliance" delivered in 1837. One experiment by Alcott became inspired Elizabeth Peabody to lead the kindergarten movement in America.
  • Horace Mann named secretary of Mass. Board of Education

    Horace Mann named secretary of Mass. Board of Education
    Horace Mann came to lead the Massachusetts Board of Education and reformed schools in the Northeast. He toured Europe and brought back some principles from Prussia. He believed schools should be maintained by the public, serve all students, be nonsectarian and be staffed with well-trained professional teachers. He started a periodical for educational professionals titled Common School Journal in 1838. Read more here
  • Massachusetts bill authorizes the establishment of three normal schools

    Massachusetts bill authorizes the establishment of three normal schools
    In 1838, the Massachusetts Legislature passes a bill authorizing three normal schools to be built. The first opened in Lexington in 1839. The normal schools were seen as needed by educational leaders such as Horace Mann to improve the state of the common schools in the US. Many states followed Mass. lead. Read more
  • Catherine Beecher establishes Board of National Popular Education to Send Women West

    Catherine Beecher establishes Board of National Popular Education to Send Women West
    Catherine Beecher realizes that westward expansion was creating a shortage of teachers who were predominantly male. She argued in a book, The Duty of American Women to their Country, that women would be best suited to fill the role of teacher and deal with the shortage. Numerous Normal Schools were open in the east and women teachers headed west to fulfill the need for teachers. Read more here
  • Herbert Spencer publishes "What Knowledge is of Most Worth?"

    Herbert Spencer publishes "What Knowledge is of Most Worth?"
    Herbert Spencer, an influential philosopher and sociologist during the Victorian period, was an ardent believer in the individual, social Darwinism, and the benefits of science and mathematics. In this publication, Spencer puts forth that curriculum should be concerned with useful and beneficial activities to include physical fitness, job readiness, and raising children.Read more
  • Maria Montessori

    Maria Montessori
    Maria Montessori broke numerous gender barriers while studying to be an engineer and a doctor. However, she is most noted for originating the Montessori Method. She developed the child-centered self-discovery based method as a result of her studies in pediatric psychiatry. She influenced the world through lectures and inviting other educators to her school, Children's House. Read more
  • Kalamazoo Case of 1874

    Kalamazoo Case of 1874
    The Kalamazoo Case of 1874 was originally thought to be a 'friendly' lawsuit brought against the school board to settle the legal question of whether the board could levy taxes to support a high school. The Michigan Supreme Court found that it was legal for the board to fund high schools. The three prominent property owners that brought the suit were later found to truly resent the tax burden it created. Read more
  • US Commissioner of Education Report 1888-1889

    US Commissioner of Education Report 1888-1889
    William T. Harris and the Office of Education publishes its annual report and addresses compulsory school laws in states and territories. Report is optimistic that compulsory schooling would become the law of the land throughout the country. Twenty seven states and territories had compulsory attendance laws. In the next year, six more states had such laws. The last states to pass laws were in the South. Mississippi was the last state to pass a law in 1918.
  • John Dewey publishes Democracy and Education in 1916

    John Dewey publishes Democracy and Education in 1916
    John Dewey publishes his seminal work on education. He explores the shortcomings of traditional and progressive education. He explains the concepts of continuity and interaction and how these concepts inform education. There is a strong emphasis on subjectivity and the importance of understanding students' past experiences while helping them to realize their potential Read more
  • Pierce vs. The Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names Jesus and Mary

    Pierce vs. The Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names Jesus and Mary
    The US Supreme Court finds that the Oregon compulsory school law forcing students to attend public schools violates the Constitution. The case upholds the state's ability to regulate schools, inspect buildings, and certify teachers; however, it found that parents have the right to direct their children's education by selecting reputable teachers and places. Read more here
  • George S. Counts publishes Dare the School Build a New Social Order?

    George S. Counts publishes Dare the School Build a New Social Order?
    Counts is credited with challenging educators to use school as a means of transforming the social order. Likely this challenge, embodied in his book, Dare the School Build a New Social Order?, sprang from his studies of how social conditions and problems related to education. He believed that school practices left unchecked would result in perpetuating the status quo. Read more
  • Eisenhower signs National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in 1958

    Eisenhower signs National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in 1958
    The Russian launch of Sputnik along with the tactical maneuverings of Senator Hill spurred the passage of a bill to fund higher education that had failed to pass prior to the launch. Reframing the bill as a defense measure allowed it to finally pass and the funding made low-cost loans to individuals and college attendance spiked. Read about other areas funded by the bill
  • James B. Conant publishes Slums and Suburbs in 1961

    James B. Conant publishes Slums and Suburbs in 1961
    Conant publishes Slums and Suburbs which details the inequities in urban and suburban schools in terms of de facto segregation, failing buildings, and disparities in teacher quality. He believes these results are unavoidable and retreats from addressing the underlying social issues. Instead, he posits that a more vocational oriented education should be delivered to inner-city students. Read more
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    American Colonial Period and Birth of a Nation

    This period covers the time from the establishment of the first permanent settlement in America by Europeans to the passage of the Bill of Rights.
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    National Expansion and Reform

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    Progressive Education Movement

    Many innovations were introduced to teacher education programs and into elementary and secondary schools and classrooms during the progressive education movement.