1647 General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
All towns with at least 50 families should have an elementary school and all towns with 100 families should have a Latin school. The justification was so that children could learn to read their Bibles and learn about the Calvinistic Protestant faith. Boys were expected to be prepared to attend college and their school attendance was compulsory if they lived in a town with more than 100 families .
1779 Jefferson’s Proposal
Thomas Jefferson proposes a system of education that would involve two tiers of education: laborers and learned. There would be scholarships available for a few of the laborers that proved to be highly intellectual . Most children would only need an elementary education. After the eighth grade girls would be able to learn homemaking from their mother. Boys were expected to be apprentices or learn a trade from their fathers. Basic education was needed to participate in the community and to be able to read the newspaper .
1785 Creation of Townships
The Continental Congress calls for the territory in present Ohio State to put aside a section of land in each township where a school would be established once the area is settled. These land grants eventually became the land for state universities . The need for townships, according to Jefferson, was to end land disputes. The townships would be 36 square miles and then each one would be divided into 36 one-mile square sections. By each township having a set area for a school, public education would be seen as a guarantee for all eventually, in Jefferson’s plans .
Free public schooling is specified for the poor children. It is assumed that the children of those who are not poor will receive a privately paid for education . When the Pennsylvania state constitution was signed and ratified in 1790 there was a clause included that required free education for all families that could not afford to pay for a private education .
1805 New York Public School Society
Wealthy businessmen form the society to educate the poor children. Literally hundreds of children are placed in a single room to be taught by a single teacher. The master instructs the older students using rote lessons. The older students ten instruct the younger students. The factory owners were pleases with this type of instruction as it instilled the type of discipline on the students that the factory owners expected to see when the students became factory workers when they left the school system .
1817 Boston Public Schools
Local merchants, businessmen, and wealthier artisans present a petition at a town meeting calling for a free public education for free public elementary schools. Wage earners are opposed, not wanting to pay the taxes. Since the wealthier group was better connected with the decision making body because of their societal connections and represented at the meeting, they won the vote. .
1820 Boston High Schools
Having won the battle to offer free public education in Boston at the elementary level, the battle continues and Boston is the first city to offer a free public education through the 12th grade. The wealthier classes in Boston, such as the artisans, the businessmen, and the merchants, who were in favor of funding a free public education at the elementary level for all residents, believed that there was a difference in the first couple of years that the younger children were all being educated. Not wanting to lose that momentum, the same influential people successfully pushed to have the free education continue through secondary school .
1827 Massachusetts Public Education
The success in Boston has been so overwhelming that citizens in the entire state are entitled to a free public education for both the elementary and secondary levels. The success in Boston in having a free public education system in place for both the elementary and secondary level was seen and heard about by merchants, artisans, and businessmen throughout the state and taxes were levied at a state wide level to fund public education at the elementary and secondary level for children throughout Massachusetts .
1830 Slave Literacy
Even though most southern states have laws that forbid slaves from being taught to read or write, fearing turmoil and rebellion, about five percent are literate, despite the risk. Some of the slaves were taught how to read by their owners’ wives or children, often in secret from their masters. Other slaves taught each other how to read. There were three main reasons that slaves wanted to be able to read and write: They wanted to be able to read the Bible, as most were devout Christians; they wanted to be able to communicate with family members that were on other plantations; and they wanted to make plans to escape to freedom .
1837 Horace Mann
The new Massachusetts Board of Education elects Horace Mann as their leader. Edmund Dwight believes that the board is so important to the future of factories and their workers that he supplements its funding with his own money . Dwight also believed in Mann’s educational principals, especially that a basic education in a common school, now known as a public school, was necessary for there to be a stable political system and a solid social structure .
1840s Irish arrive
As Irish Catholics arrive in New York City they fight with school authorities about their children being taught a Protestant-based curriculum. The Irish are arriving in droves due to the potato famine in Ireland. The public school system in New York City was radically different than what they had been accustomed to in Ireland. Before the potato famine, many of these families had educated their children, and had they been educated, in the Catholic school system. Now, with no money, they felt helpless as they needed to rely on a pagan and public school system for their children .
1848 Reform School
The juvenile justice system and mandated education join forces in Massachusetts when children who have not attended public school are sent to a reform school in Westboro because of their truancy. The concept of juveniles being educated while also serving their detention sentences was a new concept, but one that Massachusetts embraced as it was a state among the forefront of ensuring that all of its citizens were receiving an education through the 12th grade, if possible .
1864 Native Americans
It becomes illegal for Native Americans to be taught in their own language. Children as young as the age of four are removed from their homes and sent to live in off-reservation schools by the Bureau of Indian Affairs where they are to be Americanized by completely ending their Native American way of life and become completely assimilated into the American style of life. By removing the children from their home, they were not returning to their parents and their Native American cultures on a daily basis. The hope was that if they remained away from their traditional lifestyle and customs that they would drop these habits and become accustomed to and accept the American way as the right way to live .
1865 – 1877 Public Education comes to the South
After the Civil War, recently emancipated blacks fight to bring public education to the South for the first time. Soon after the Civil War ended, many freed African American make alliances with Republicans for assistance in making changes to their former ways of life. One of the main changes that were fought for was rewriting state constitutions that included free public education for African American children .
In 1877, the federal troops which had been in the South since the end of the Civil War leave, and segregation begins and runs rapid among the southern states. Education is one of the hardest hit areas of the newly segregated south. The phrase “separate but equal” comes into play and lawmakers insist that as long as African American children are receiving an education, even in a separate building, it is an equal education .
1896 Plessy v. Ferguson
In the monumental Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson the Court grants the state of Louisiana the right to provide “separate but equal” railroad cars for whites and non-whites. This precedent carries into education by requiring schools to provide separate but equal facilities for white and non-white students. In reality, the white facilities are far superior to the non-white ones .
1917 Smith-Hughes Act
Large manufacturing corporations are seeking a skilled work force from high school graduates. The current academic graduates do not have the skills that the manufacturing industry needs when they finish high school. Through lobbying efforts, vocational education is deemed to be appropriate to receive federal educational dollars and will incorporate necessary academic components while also offering students to specialize in a trade in high school so that they have a skill that can be utilized in the manufacturing field upon their high school graduation .
The NAACP becomes involved in the severe discrepancies in teachers’ pay, especially in the south, based on race. The difference is so severe that many African American teachers are leaving the South to teach in the North, leaving less qualified African American teachers to teach in the South, making the discrepancy between the white and non-white education in the southern states even greater. Through a series of lawsuits, the NAACP helps to bring some funding to the southern states to lessen the pay gap .
1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
In the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka the determination is made that the separate but equal clause is not justified since in reality the non-white schools are radically inferior to the white schools in the segregated South. In a unanimous decision, it is determined that the segregated school system must be abolished .
1957 Little Rock, Arkansas
The federal court orders that public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, adhere to the order of integration. Arkansas’ Governor, Orval Faubus, sends the National Guard, to prevent nine African American students from enrolling at the school, using physical force, if necessary. President Eisenhower responds by sending federal troops to ensure the safety of the students and to ensure that state troops are not used to defy a federal order .
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