Classroom animated

USA Educational History

  • 1565

    First European settlement in what is now USA

    The first European settlement in what is now the United States is founded by Spain at Saint Augustine in what is now the state of Florida. A school is established there by the Franciscans in 1606.
  • Jamestown, Virginia settled

    The first permanent English settlement in North America is established by the Virginia Company at Jamestown in what is now the state of Virginia.
  • Mayflower arrives at Cape Cod with "Pilgrims"

    The Mayflower arrives at Cape Cod, bringing the "Pilgrims" who establish the Plymouth Colony. Many of the Pilgrims are Puritans who had fled religious persecution in England. Their religious views come to dominate education in the New England colonies.
  • First Latin Grammar School established

    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.
  • First "Free School" in Virginia opens

    The first "free school" in Virginia opens. However, education in the Southern colonies is more typically provided at home by parents or tutors.
  • Havard College established

    Harvard College, the first higher education institution in what is now the United States, is established in Newtowne (now Cambridge), Massachusetts.
  • First printing press in Americas

    The first printing press in the American Colonies is set up at Harvard College.
  • Hartford Public High School opens

    Hartford Public High School opens in Hartford Connecticut. It is "the second oldest secondary school in the United States."
  • Massachusetts Bay School Law

    The Massachusetts Bay School Law is passed. It requires that parents ensure their children know the principles of religion and the capital laws of the commonwealth.
  • Massachusetts Law of 1647 - Old Deluder Satan Act

    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.
  • John Locke publishes Essay Concerning Human Understanding

    John Locke publishes his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which conveys his belief that the human mind is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, at birth and knowledge is derived through experience, rather than innate ideas as was believed by many at that time. Locke's views concerning the mind and learning greatly influence American education.
  • First School Book in New England

    The first New England Primer is printed in Boston. It becomes the most widely-used schoolbook in New England.
  • John Locke publishes Some Thoughts Concerning Education

    John Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education is published, describing his views on educating upper class boys to be moral, rationally-thinking, and reflective "young gentlemen." His ideas regarding educating the masses are conveyed in On Working Schools, published in 1697, which focused on the importance of developing a work ethic.
  • College of William and Mary established in Virginia

    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.
  • Period: to

    Permissive Period

    Instructional L1s other than English were permissible. He noted that permissiveness was more evident in small communities outside urban areas. Boston, Massachusetts, struggled with the organization and administration of schools and, in 1847, established grade levels organized by students’ ages (Osgood, 2005). “By the late 1800s, graded schools constituted the preferred model for urban school systems in the United States."
  • Christopher Dock publishes Schul-Ordnung

    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.
  • Schools for girls in New Orleans

    The Ursuline Academy of New Orleans is founded. A Catholic school for girls sponsored by Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula, it is "the oldest continuously operating school for girls and the oldest Catholic school in the United States."
  • Faculty Psychology - "drill and kill" established

    Christian 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.
  • Ben Franklin forms American Philosophical Society

    Benjamin Franklin forms the American Philosophical Society, which helps bring ideas of the European Enlightenment, including those of John Locke, to colonial America. Emphasizing secularism, science, and human reason, these ideas clash with the religious dogma of the day, but greatly influence the thinking of prominent colonists, including Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
  • Ben Franklin helps establish "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.
  • French and Indian War begins

    The French and Indian War begins in colonial America as the French and their Indian allies fight the English for territorial control.
  • Period: to

    French and Indian War

    The French and Indian War begins in colonial America as the French and their Indian allies fight the English for territorial control. The French are defeated, and the French and Indian War ends with the Treaty of Paris. It gives most French territory in North America to England.
  • Founding of school for girls, Salem, North Carolina

    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.
  • Period: to

    Revolutionary War

    The Revolutionary War officially ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which recognizes U.S. independence and possession of all land east of the Mississippi except the Spanish colony of Florida
  • Noah Webster writes 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.
  • University of Georgia founded

    The University of Georgia becomes "America's first state-chartered university."
  • 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."
  • Constitutional Convention

    The Constitutional Convention assembles in Philadelphia. Later that year, the constitution is endorsed by the Confederation Congress (the body that governed from 1781 until the ratification of the U.S. Constitution) and sent to state legislatures for ratification. The document does not include the words education or school.
  • The Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia

    The Young Ladies Academy opens in Philadelphia and becomes the first academy for girls in the original 13 colonies/states.
  • Northwest Ordinance enacted

    The Northwest Ordinance enacted by the Confederation Congress, providing a plan for western expansion and bans slavery in new states,recognizes the importance of education: "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 state be reserved for the support of education.
  • Constitution ratified

    The U. S. Constitution is ratified by the required number of states.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    On December 11, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly. It is the only public university to award degrees in the 18th century.
  • Bill of Rights passed

    The Bill of Rights is passed by the first Congress of the new United States. No mention is made of education in any of the amendments. However, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states that powers not delegated to the federal government "are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people." Thus, education becomes a function of the state rather than the federal government.
  • An Act to Establish Public Education

    Thomas Jefferson authors Bill 79: "A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge," in 1778 which provides "a comprehensive plan for public education . . ." It is presented in the Virginia House of Delegates several times before a revised bill titled, "An Act to Establish Public Education," is finally passed in 1796.
  • Period: to

    The Restrictive Period

    During this period in the United States, there was a shift in the attitude toward bilingualism and bilingual education. There was an increase in the number of immigrants and an increasingly negative view of immigration. And there was a rise in English-only schools.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    "Separate but equal" public facilities, including school systems, are constitutional. Although the decision was related to the segregation of African American students, in many parts of the country Native American, Asian, and Hispanic students were also routinely segregated. The Supreme Court unanimously reversed Plessy v. Ferguson 58 years later in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education.
    ***"Separate but equal"
  • The Nationality Act

    According to this act, immigrants must be able to speak English to become citizens of the United States.
    President Theodore Rosevelt in 1926 highlighted the connection between English acquisition and showing his loyalty to the U.S. by saying this: "We have room for but one language in this country and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house" (Nieto 64).
  • **America enters World War I

    Anti-German feelings spread. Schools couldn't teach German as it could be a threat to the unity of Americanism. Focus on English Monolingualism.
  • **Recommendation: teach schools in English

    The Americanization Department of the United States Bureau of Education adopted a resolution. They recommended that all schools in all the states must be taught in English. All the instructions in elementary school must be given in English.
  • Meyer v. Nebraska

    US Supreme Court declared that Nebraska state law was prohibiting the teaching of a foreign language. Supreme Court ruled that whereas state governments can legislate the language used for instruction in schools, states may not pass laws that attempt to prevent communities from offering private language classes outside of the regular school system. Meyers is an important case because it makes clear that the 14th Amendment provides protection for language minorities.
  • Farmington v. Tokushige

    Hawaii legislators tried to place limitations on the amount of language instruction within the classroom. They put strict limits on the amount of time, resources, and curriculum that students were receiving in their native languages. This case emphasized that language should not be limited in the classroom. Schools are better able to support English Language Learners with more language instruction in the classroom.
  • Independent School District v. Salvatierra

    Mexican American parents in the small border town of Rio, Texas, brought suit against the school district over segregation. The court sided with the school district that argued the segregation was necessary to teach the students English. Counter-arguments were: Alvarez v. Lemon Grove (1931) - the judge noted that segregation was not beneficial for the students' English language development, and the success of Méndez v. Westminster School District (1947) helped set the stage for Brown.
  • McCollum v. Board of Education

    The issue in this case was whether a school should allow instructors to provide religious instruction to students during the school day. Vashti McCollum was a mother of a student in the Champaign Board of Education school system who complained that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed with Mrs. McCollum.
  • Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka

    Linda Brown, a black student, traveled long distances to get to her all-black elementary school, while there was a white school a few blocks away from her house. The problem this legislation was meant to address was the racial segregation in public schools between black kids and white kids. Taking this to court, there was a conclusion that separate yet "equal" educational facilities are truly unequal. Reverses Plessy v. Ferguson (58 years after the initial ruling).
  • Period: to

    Opportunistic Period

  • Constructivism: The Process of Education by Jerome Bruner

    The Process of Education - 1960
    Jerome Bruner talks about Constructivism and how it would greatly change the way that learners will be able to use their previous knowledge and ideas to construct their own concepts.
  • Bilingual Education: Coral Way Elementary School

    Bilingual Education
    In Miami, enacted a bilingual education program that benefited the students from Cuba. It was a fairly new thing in 1963, falling before the Civil Rights Act. It was originally implemented to cater to students that did not speak fluently in English but still went to school at that particular elementary school.
  • Title IV of ESEA of 1965

    Title IV provides financial assistance to students (federal aid) of higher education. Financial aid is offered by the federal government done by the Department of Education. Congress passed the Higher Education Act in the 1960's, and brought specific types of financial aid so it can be offered to students.
  • Civil Rights Act

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was enacted. There are certain sections in the written act itself that clearly state that the discrimination against any race, sex, religion, or color was considered illegal. Although that sounds like it has nothing to do with education, it opened doors and minds to acceptance.
  • Immigration Act of 1965

    The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act
    Originally stated that only immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany had spots in America reserved for them. That in itself was unconstitutional. President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized that by stating, "This system violates the basic principle of American democracy -- the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man.
  • National Education Association merger

    NEA Merger with ATA
    The NEA (National Education Association) officially merged with the ATA (American Teachers Association, originally founded as the (NATCS) National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools) after decades of working together.
  • Equality of Educational Opportunity - James Coleman

    Coleman Report
    James Samuel Coleman authors the Equality of Educational Opportunity (Coleman Report). It was one of the largest, nationwide studies in history and included more than 650,000 students. A seminal study conducted in order to help determine the equality of educational opportunities available to students “across boundaries of race, religion and national origin.” Concluded that socioeconomic status was more important.
  • The Office of Civil Rights

    The Office for Civil Rights
    The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) was created mainly as a result of the civil rights movement, more specifically the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as the 1965 Immigration Act. The main focus of the OCR was protecting the civil liberties of students in public education programs as well as prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.
  • LESA Bill (Limited English Speaking Ability)

    Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough introduced a bill specifically to assist LESA (Limited English Speaking Ability) students. The bill recommended “the teaching of Spanish as a native language, the teaching of English as a second language, and programs designed to give Spanish-speaking students an appreciation of ancestral language and culture.”
  • Title VII of ESEA of 1968: Bilingual Education Act (BEA)

    Public Law 90-247
    Title VII evolved from Yarborough’s bill. It was signed into law by LBJ (President Lyndon Baines Johnson) as the first federal legislation in 1968 correlating with his War on Poverty campaign. The bill was passed and added to the reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) evolving into the more comprehensive Bilingual Education Act (BEA).
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

    The MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) was incorporated in Texas and represented Mexican Americans in civil-rights lawsuits. Pete Tijerina was executive director, and Mario Obledo, a former state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), was its first general counsel. Included among MALDEF's goals were litigation in education and employment.
  • ESEA Funding extended

    The ESEA extended funding and authorized comprehensive planning and evaluation grants to state and local education agencies. The State Aid to Local Government, ACIR Report A-34 was adopted by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
  • United States v. Montgomery County Board of Education

    Schools must be integrated in their faculty at the same racial diversity ratio as the population of teachers is racially diverse.
  • Diana v. State Board of Education

    Diana, a Mexican American student, was given an IQ test and the results showed that she had Mild Mental Retardation and was put in a special needs class. The problem this legislation was meant to address was non english speaking students being placed in special education classes because of their low English IQ results. This enacted a legislation where test scores will be determined by evaluating a students developmental history, cultural background, and academic achievement.
  • John Stanley Pottinger memo - OCR

    John Stanley Pottinger, the Director for the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health, Education, & Welfare, writes a memorandum to School Districts on the subject of identifying discrimination based on national origin. The purpose of the memo was to clarify policy on issues concerning equal education for national origin-minorities deficient in English.
  • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

    1) Remedial plans were to be judged by their effectiveness and the use of mathematical ratios or quotas were legitimate "starting points" for solutions.
    2) Predominantly or exclusively black schools required close scrutiny by courts.
    3) Non-contiguous attendance zones, as interim corrective measures, were within the courts' remedial powers.
    4) No rigid guidelines could be established concerning busing of students"
  • Guey Heung Lee v. Johnson

    The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), reassigned students of Chinese ancestry to other elementary public schools. These pupils were learning about their Chinese cultural heritage in the Asian schools & the parents feared that their children would lose their sense of identity upon forced assimilation. A temporary stay of proceedings was denied. In 1974, the court ruled against the Chinese community, declaring that Brown applies to races.
  • Alaska Native Language Center

    Alaska Native Language Center (ANLC) established to research and document Native languages. ANLC provided materials, training services, and consulting for state agencies, school districts, and teachers involved in bilingual education.
  • Puerto Rican Legal Defense Education Fund (PRLDEF)

    “Committed to justice and leadership since 1972,” Community activists, resources, and funds were consolidated under the PRLDEF which allowed for greater litigation and more lawsuits on behalf of Latinos whose equitable educational opportunities were being denied.
  • Indian Education Act

    President Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments which, among other issues, increased funding and provided grant programs to Native American Indians. Indian Education Act provided federal funding for Native American Indians and Alaskans while empowering parents to form advisory boards for federally operated boarding schools. The Office of Indian Education (OIE) was created.
  • Keyes v. School District No. 1: Denver, Colorado

    Proved Denver school system practiced racial discrimination for a decade via segregation in violation of the U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. Burden of proof fell on Denver & key factor was intent. Final verdict further defined de facto segregation. “This case is significant because it represents one of the first instances in which the Court identified segregation in northern schools”
  • Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA)

    Section 1703(f) of this act declares: "No state shall deny educational opportunities to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin by… (f) the failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs." Viewed as a declaration of the legal right for students to receive a bilingual education, under the assumption that this is what Lau essentially mandated
  • Lau v. Nichols

    Out of 2,800 non-English-speaking Chinese students in the SFUSD; 1,800 of them failed to receive supplemental English course instruction. 14th Amendment rights were violated due to a lack of equal education. Denied relief by U.S. District Court, petitioned for certiorari & Supreme Court granted it. Relied on Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Influenced Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), soon after the case was decided.
    ***Outlaws "Sink or Swim"
  • Larry P v. Riles

    This case showed that African American children who were placed in special classes were inappropriate because of their unfair testing. The IQ tests that the students were taking did not follow through with their cultural background. They used more proper tests and found that the children were after all not mentally disabled. The solution was that IQ tests couldn't be the final base for determining if a student should be in a special needs class.
  • Education of all Handicapped Children Act

    The problem this legislation was meant to address was the majority of children with severe disabilities were kept out of public schools, and those few who weren't were segregated from mainstream classrooms. The solution was schools that received federal funding were required to provide all handicapped children equal access to education, and that they were to be placed in the least restrictive educational environment along with their other nondisabled peers.
  • Period: to

    Dismissive Period

    States went from asking, "What teaching approaches and mix of languages in the classroom will ensure an equal chance for all students to succeed in the classroom?" to "How can we teach English as quickly as possible?" regardless of what is best for the student.
  • Castaneda v. Pickard

    This case was filed against the Raymondville Texas Independent School District. Mexican American parents argued that their children were being discriminated against at school because of their ethnicity. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Roy Castaneda, a Mexican American parent. This case also established three principles to determine if a school district is properly serving an LEP student (native language is not English).
  • Plyler v. Doe

    Super Intendent James Plyler began to charge a tuition fee of 1,000 dollars for each illegal student in the Tyler School District. The problem this legislation was meant to address was states could not deny students free public education because of their immigration status. Fortunately, in the court, it was stated that the 14th amendment protected the rights of everyone within the borders.