Public Schools Historical Timeline

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    The United States

    September 3, 1783 the Treaty of Paris is signed, winning the United States its freedom and soverinty.
  • Land Ordinance of 1785

    Land Ordinance of 1785
    The Land Ordinance of 1785 set up the division of the Western territoritories into townships of 640 acre sections, one of which would be set apart "for the maintenance of public schools". This is the first mention of public schools and while this provision was meant to ensure that public schools were funded, the land was often to expensive for most to purchase and any resources on the land were squandered. This provided very little income for public schools.
  • The U.S. Constitution is Ratified

    The U.S. Constitution is Ratified
    On May 14, 1787 the U.S. Constitution is ratified by the delegates of the Constitutional Convention. The words "school" and "education" appear no where in the document. This would show that the Federal government was to have little control or influence over the public school system.
  • The Bill of Rights

    The Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights was passed by the first Congress of the United States, the first ten Amendements did not mention education or schools. The 10th Amendments does state that any powers not regulated to the the Federal government "are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people", thus education would fall under the rule of the States no the Federal government.
  • First Public High School

    First Public High School
    Boston English High School founded in 1821 is the nation's first public high school located in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts passes school law

    Massachusetts passes school law
    Massachusetts passess a state law that requires towns with more than 500 families to have a public high school open to all, free of charge. This event corresponds to the practice that education be controlled by the state and not by the federal government.
  • The first "Normal School"

    The first "Normal School"
    The "Normal School" was an experimental school which was focused on teacher education. It was founded in 1839 in Lexington, Massachusetts and saught to prepare and train individuals to be teachers.
  • Mandatory attendance law

    Mandatory attendance law
    The compulsory attendance act of 1852 enacted by the state of Massachusetts was the first general law attempting to control the conditions of children. The law included mandatory attendance for children between the ages of eight and fourteen for at least three months out of each year, of these twelve weeks at least six had to be consecutive. The states were mandating and controlling education without the need of federal assistance or interference.
  • First Kindergarten in the U.S.

    First Kindergarten in the U.S.
    Margarethe Meyer Schurz founded the first kindergarten in Watertown, Wisconsin.
  • Department of Eduction

    Department of Eduction
    Department of Eduction was established in 1867, its initial purpose was to collect data and then disseminate it to the states to better equip their schools. The Department of Education has radically changed since its inception and now exerts considerable power over education.
  • Taxes for Public Schools

    Taxes for Public Schools
    The Michigan State Supreme Court rules that Kalamazoo may levy taxes to support a public high school, setting an important precedent for similar rulings in other states. This law allowed states to tax its residents inorder to fund education. The previous methods of obtaining money for education had been speradic and inconsistent and thus required change.
  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

    Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching founded and is charted by an act of Congress in 1906. 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." Many individuals and groups were using their money and influence to build education and train teachers with limited federal assistance.
  • All states have transportation laws

    All states have transportation laws
    All 48 states in the contiguous United States have enacted laws allowing the use of public funds for transporting school children.
    Without federal mandate the states had all adopted policies to provide school children with transportation to school.
  • Works Progress Administration

    Works Progress Administration
    Part of FDR's New Deal, the W.P.A.'s purpose was to put the unemployed to work on public projects, including the construction of hundreds of school buildings. This set the precedent for a stronger federal presence in education.
  • The G.I. Bill

    The G.I. Bill
    Otherwise known as the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, this bill provided funds to returming veterans of WWII for a variety of costs, but emphasized college attendance. More than 2 million soldiers took advantage and enrolled in college (8 million soldiers used the G.I. Bill). While this did not directly affect public schools it set a precedent that the federal government could determine who could go to school, achieved by money and influence.
  • The National School Lunch Act

    The National School Lunch Act
    This act provided legislation and funds to create a school lunch system, with requirements for nutrition, and also provided free and reduced price lunches. Initially, the Federal government matched dollar for dollar the amount States spent on the program but after a few years it only gave $1.00 for every $3.00 spent by the state. This bill gave the Federal government authority (through money) to control the food within the schools.
  • The President's Commission on Higher Education

    The President's Commission on Higher Education
    President Truman tasks this comission to evaluate the role of higher educaion. The report recommends sweeping changes in higher education as well as increasing collegge enrollement, and extending free education to as many as possible. This report gave the Federal government the "evidence" it needed to begin enacting change in the educational system, and numerous bills will be passed as a result of this report.
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
    Part of Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty", it provided Federal funds to low-income areas, this bill set into motion numerous other bills in cluding Title I and the Bilingual Education Act. This put low-income schools in a position to rely on Ferderal funds for yers to come.
  • Project Head Start

    Project Head Start
    Started in the summer of 1965, as an eight week summer program for children from low-income communities going into public school in the fall, part of the "War on Poverty". While this program has been altered by various presidents and rolled into other departments, studies showed for the amount of money being spent there was little benefit.
  • Immigration Act of 1965

     Immigration Act of 1965
    President Johnson which removes the immigration quota system and as a result numerous immigrants came to the U.S. from Asia and Latin America. This act fundamentally altered the classroom and made the pools of students infinetly more diverse. This diversity is still a ongoing struggle for the American education system.
  • Bilingual Education Act

    Bilingual Education Act
    The Federal government would provide funds to schools with innovative billingual education programs as well as funds for staff, staff training, implementation, and long-term program maintenance. This bill was amended multiple times and then repealed and replaced by No Child Left Behind. Again more federal funds and attention is being focused on individual groups and not the actuall infpormation they are being taught.
  • Indian Education Act

    Indian Education Act
    In 1972 Indian Education Act becomes law and establishes "a comprehensive approach to meeting the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native student". This bill eventually became part of No Child Left Behind.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
    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.
  • Rehabilitation Act

    Rehabilitation Act
    Section 504 of this act guarantees civil rights for people with disabilities in the context of federally funded institutions and requires accommodations in schools including participation in programs and activities as well as access to buildings. Today, "504 Plans" are used to provide accommodations for students with disabilities who do not qualify for special education or an IEP
  • Equal Educational Opportunities Act

    Equal Educational Opportunities Act
    This law prohibits discrimination and requires schools to take action to overcome barriers which prevent equal protection. The legislation has been particularly important in protecting the rights of students with limited English proficiency.
  • Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142)

    Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142)
    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. States are given until 1978 (later extended to 1981) to fully implement the law. This bill was part of a long line of bills meant top ensure that states were spending money on students with disabilities and providing enough resources for them to be on equal footing with other students.
  • The Refugee Act of 1980 / Refugee Education Assistance Act

    The Refugee Act of 1980 / Refugee Education Assistance Act
    The Refugree Act signed by Jimmy Carter brought more than 3 million immigrants to the U.S. again altering classroom diverity. TheRefugee Education Assistance Act was signed to help fund areas (mostly Florida) who saw a expentenial increase in immigrants from Cuba.
  • Emergency Immigrant Education Act

    Emergency Immigrant Education Act
    Was enacted to provide services and offset the costs for school districts that have unexpectedly large numbers of immigrant students.

    Because of the numerous changes in immigration policies, schools were not equipped to handle to influx of people who all had various special needs.
  • Public Law 101-476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    Public Law 101-476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    Renames and amends Public Law 94-142. In addition to changing terminology from handicap to disability, it mandates transition services and adds autism and traumatic brain injury to the eligibility list.
  • Improving America's Schools Act (IASA)

    Improving America's Schools Act (IASA)
    Is signed into law by President Bill Clinton on January 25th. It. reauthorizes the ESEA of 1965 and includes reforms for Title I; increased funding for bilingual and immigrant education; and provisions for public charter schools, drop-out prevention, and educational technology.
  • No Child Left Behind Act

    No Child Left Behind Act
    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.
  • American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009

    American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009
    Provides more than 90-billion dollars for education, nearly half of which goes to local school districts to prevent layoffs and for school modernization and repair. It includes the Race to the Top initiative, a 4.35-billion-dollar program designed to induce reform in K-12 education