Timeline of the Federal Government’s Role in Public Education

Included below is a brief historical overview of federal involvement in public education.

Event Date

Explanation

Land Ordinance & Northwest Ordinance

1785/1787

Requirement of a system of public education to be established in each township formed under a specified formula. Regulated monies raised via taxes and selling or renting land.
Land Grants 1841/1848 Congress granted 77+ million acres of land in the public domain as endowments for support of schools. Federal government also granted surplus money to states for public education.
Early philosophy – first six presidents   Discussion of a national university and urging of federal involvement in public education. Seen as critical to preparation for citizenship in a republican form of government.
First Morrill Act otherwise known as the Land Grant Act

1862

Donated public lands to states to be used for the endowment to support and maintain at least one college with specific purpose of teaching branches of agriculture, mechanic arts and industrial education.
The original Department  (Office) of Education established

1867

Began to collect data – information on schools and teaching that would help states establish effective school systems.
Second Morrill Act

1890

Gave the Office of Education responsibility for administering support for the original system of land-grant colleges.
Smith-Hughes Act

1917

Promoted  vocational schools
Lanham ActImpact Aid laws

1941

1950

Eased the burden on communities affected by presence of military and federal installations: payments to school districts.
GI Bill

1944

Provided post secondary education assistance to GIs returning from World War II
George-Barden Act

1946

Provided funding for agricultural, industrial and home economics training for high school students
National Defense Education Act

1958

In response to Soviet Sputnik. NDEA included support for loans to college students in science, mathematics and foreign languages.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act

1965

Established comprehensive set of programs including Title I of federal aid to disadvantaged.
Title IX

1972

Prohibited discrimination in education based on gender.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

1973

Prohibited discrimination based on disability.
Department of Education cabinet level agency

1980

Recognized the important role of public education in our country.
Educational Testing Service (ETS) and NAEP

1983

Federal government transferred responsibility for administering the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to ETS: the nation’s report card.
Nation at Risk

1983

Report indicating that the USA was falling behind in education achievement.
President G.H. Bush

1989-1992

“Indian Education Bill of Rights”K-12 Drug awareness model

Advisory committee on Hispanic education

America 2000 education reform program

Work began on national standards

President W. Clinton

1993-1999

Academics 2000 offered grant to states / local school districts for innovation. Teach for America.
President G.W. Bush

2001-2008

Reauthorization of ESEA –No Child Left Behind.
President Barack Obama

2009 –

President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform – Reauthorization of ESEA.Race to the Top: Grants awarded to states with innovative ideas that accepted the Common Core Standards.
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