History of Education

  • First "free" School Opens

    First "free" School Opens
    The first "free school" in Virginia opens. However, education in the Southern colonies is more typically provided at home by parents or tutors.
  • Boston Latin School

    Boston Latin School
    The first Latin Grammar School (Boston Latin School) is established. Latin Grammar Schools are designed for sons of certain social classes who are destined for leadership positions in church, state, or the courts.
  • Harvard College is established

    Harvard College is established
    Harvard College, the first higher education institution in what is now the United States, is established in Newtowne (now Cambridge), Massachusetts
  • First American Printing Press

    First American Printing Press
    The first printing press in the American Colonies is set up at Harvard College.
  • Massachusetts Law of 1647

    Massachusetts Law of 1647
    The Massachusetts Law of 1647, also known as the Old Deluder Satan Act, is passed. It decrees that every town of at least 50 families hire a schoolmaster who would teach the town's children to read and write and that all towns of at least 100 families should have a Latin grammar school master who will prepare students to attend Harvard College.
  • First New England Primer is Printed

    First New England Primer is Printed
    The first New England Primer is printed in Boston. It becomes the most widely-used schoolbook in New England.
  • College of William and Mary Established

    College of William and Mary Established
    The College of William and Mary is established in Virginia. It is the second college to open in colonial America and has the distinction of being Thomas Jefferson's college.
  • First Public Library

    First Public Library
    The first publicly supported library in the U.S. is established in Charles Town, South Carolina.
  • Christopher Dock

    Christopher Dock
    Christopher Dock, a Mennonite and one of Pennsylvania's most famous educators, arrives from Germany and later opens a school in Montgomery County, PA. Dock's book, Schul-Ordnung (meaning school management), published in 1770, is the first book about teaching printed in colonial America. Typical of those in the middle colonies, schools in Pennsylvania are established not only by the Mennonites, but by the Quakers and other religious groups as well.
  • Faculty Psychology

    Faculty Psychology
    Christian von Wolff describes the human mind as consisting of powers or faculties. Called Faculty Psychology, this doctrine holds that the mind can best be developed through "mental discipline" or tedious drill and repetition of basic skills and the eventual study of abstract subjects such as classical philosophy, literature, and languages. This viewpoint greatly influences American education throughout the 19th Century and beyond.
  • English Academy

    English Academy
    Benjamin Franklin helps to establish the first "English Academy" in Philadelphia with a curriculum that is both classical and modern, including such courses as history, geography, navigation, surveying, and modern as well as classical languages. The academy ultimately becomes the University of Pennsylvania.
  • St. Matthew Luteran School

    St. Matthew Luteran School
    St. Matthew Lutheran School, one of the first Lutheran "parish schools" in North America, is founded in New York City by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, after whom Muhlenberg College in Allentown Pennsylvania is named.
  • Salem College

    Salem College
    The Moravians, a protestant denomination from central Europe, establish the village of Salem in North Carolina in 1766. Six years later (1772), they found a school for girls, which later becomes Salem College, a liberal arts college for women with a current enrollment of approximately 1100.
  • The Laboring and The Learned

    Thomas Jefferson proposes a two-track educational system, with different tracks for "the laboring and the learned."
  • Noah Webster and A Grammatical Institute of the English Language

    Noah Webster and A Grammatical Institute of the English Language
    Because of his dissatisfaction with English textbooks of the day, Noah Webster writes A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, consisting of three volumes: a spelling book, a grammar book, and a reader. They become very widely used throughout the United States. In fact, the spelling volume, later renamed the American Spelling Book and often called the Blue-Backed Speller, has never been out of print
  • Land Ordinance of 1785

    Land Ordinance of 1785
    The Land Ordinance of 1785 specifies that the western territories are to be divided into townships made up of 640-acre sections, one of which was to be set aside "for the maintenance of public schools."
  • Young Ladies Academy

    Young Ladies Academy
    The Young Ladies Academy opens in Philadelphia and becomes the first academy for girls in America.
  • Northwest Ordinance

    Northwest Ordinance
    The Northwest Ordinance is enacted by the Confederation Congress. It provides a plan for western expansion and bans slavery in new states. Specifically recognizing the importance of education, Act 3 of the document begins, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." Perhaps of more of practical importance, it stipulates that a section of land in every township of each new sta
  • The Modern Blackboard

    The Modern Blackboard
    James Pillans invents the modern blackboard.
  • New England Asylum for the Blind

    New England Asylum for the Blind
    The New England Asylum for the Blind, now the Perkins School for the Blind, opens in Massachusetts, becoming the first school in the U.S. for children with visual disabilities.
  • Horace Mann

    Horace Mann
    Horace Mann becomes Secretary of the newly formed Massachusetts State Board of Education. A visionary educator and proponent of public (or "free") schools, Mann works tirelessly for increased funding of public schools and better training for teachers. As Editor of the Common School Journal, his belief in the importance of free, universal public education gains a national audience. He resigns his position as Secretary in 1848 to take the Congressional seat vacated by the death of John Quin
  • National Teachers association

    National Teachers association
    1857 - The National Teachers Association (now the National Education Association) is founded by forty-three educators in Philadelphia.
  • Morrill Act

    Morrill Act
    The First Morrill Act, also known as the "Land Grant Act" becomes law. It donates public lands to states, the sale of which will be used for the "endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial .
  • Department of Education

    Department of Education
    The Department of Education is created in order to help states establish effective school systems.
  • Dewy Decimal System

    Dewy Decimal System
    1876 - The Dewey Decimal System, developed by Melvil Dewey in 1873, is published and patented. The DDC is still the worlds most widely-used library classification system.
  • Jane Addams Hull House

    Jane Addams Hull House
    1889 - Jane Addams and her college friend Ellen Gates Starr found Hull House in a Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of recent European immigrants. It is the first settlement house in the U.S. Included among its many services are a kindergarten and a night school for adults. Hull House continues to this day to offer educational services to children and families.
  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

    Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is founded. It is charted by an act of Congress in 1906, the same year the Foundation encouraged the adoption of a standard system for equating "seat time" (the amount of time spent in a class) to high school credits. Still in use today, this system came to be called the "Carnegie Unit." Other important achievements of the Foundation during the first half of the 20th Century include the "landmark 'Flexner Report' on medical education
  • John Dewy's Democracy and Education

    John Dewy's Democracy and Education
    John Dewey's Democracy and Education. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education is published. Dewey's views help advance the ideas of the "progressive education movement." An outgrowth of the progressive political movement, progressive education seeks to make schools more effective agents of democracy. His daughter, Evelyn Dewey, coauthors Schools of To-morrow with her father, and goes on to write several books on her own.
  • Scopes Monkey Trial

    Scopes Monkey Trial
    Tennessee vs. John Scopes ("the Monkey Trial") captures national attention as John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, is charged with the heinous crime of teaching evolution. The trial ends in Scopes' conviction. The evolution versus creationism controversy persists to this day.
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

    Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
    The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (first called the Wechsler- Bellevue Intelligence Scale) is developed by David Wechsler. It introduces the concept of the "deviation IQ," which calculates IQ scores based on how far subjects' scores differ (or deviate) from the average (mean) score of others who are the same age, rather than calculating them with the ratio (MA/CA multiplied by 100) system. Wechsler intelligence tests, particularly the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, are stil
  • G.I. Bill

    G.I. Bill
    The G.I. Bil of Rightsl officially known as the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, is signed by FDR on June 22. Some 7.8 million World War II veterans take advantage of the GI Bill during the seven years benefits are offered. More than two-million attend colleges or universities, nearly doubling the college population. About 238,000 become teachers. Because the law provides the same opportunity to every veteran, regardless of background, the long-standing tradition that a college educ
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    The U.S. Supreme Court announces its decision in the case of Brown v. Board. of Education of Topeka, ruling that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," thus overturning its previous ruling in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Brown v. Board of Education is actually a combination of five cases from different parts of the country. It is a historic first step in the long and still unfinished journey toward equality in U.S. education.
  • ESEA

    The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is passed on April 9. Part of Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty," it provides federal funds to help low-income students, which results in the initiation of educational programs such as Title I and bilingual education.
  • Title IX

    Title IX
    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 becomes law. Though many people associate this law only with girl's and women's participation in sports, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in all aspects of education
  • PL 94-142

    PL 94-142
    The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) becomes federal law. It requires that a free, appropriate public education, suited to the student's individual needs, and offered in the least restrictive setting be provided for all "handicapped" children.
  • Board of Education v. Pico

    Board of Education v. Pico
    In the case of Board of Education v. Pico, the U.S. Supreme court rules that books cannot be removed from a school library because school administrators deemed their content to be offensive.
  • No Child Left Behind

    No Child Left Behind
    2001 - The controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is approved by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002. The law, which reauthorizes the ESEA of 1965 and replaces the Bilingual Education Act of 1968, mandates high-stakes student testing, holds schools accountable for student achievement levels, and provides penalties for schools that do not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB.
  • IDEA

    H.R. 1350, The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), reauthorizes and modifies IDEA. Changes, which take effect on July 1, 2005, include modifications in the IEP process and procedural safeguards, increased authority for school personnel in special education placement decisions, and alignment of IDEA with the No Child Left Behind Act. The 2004 reauthorization also requires school districts to use the Response to Intervention (RTI) approach as a means for the early id
  • Common Core

    Common Core
    The Common Core State Standards Initiative, "a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers," is launched. It is expected that many, perhaps most, states will adopt them.
  • Every Child Succeeds Act

    Every Child Succeeds Act
    The U.S. Senate votes 85-12 to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act, and President Obama signs it into law on December 10. This latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) replaces No Child Left Behind and allows more state control in judging school quality.