The following is a compiled timeline history of education in the United States taken from lecture notes over college years at Ball State University:

1635 The Boston Latin School began classes.

1636 Massachusetts chartered Harvard College.

1642 Massachusetts passed law compelling parents to teach their children how to read.

1647 Massachusetts became the first American colony to require public elementary and secondary schools.

1785 Georgia chartered the first state university.

1795 The University of North Carolina became the first state university to hold classes.

1819 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a state cannot annex a private college without the college’s permission

1833 Oberlin College became the first co-educational college in the U.S.

1852 Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school attendance law in the U.S.

1874 The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that taxes could be collected specifically to support public high schools.

1901 Joliet Junior College opened in Joliet, IL.

1917 Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act, the first act to provide federal funds for vocational education below the college level.

1944 Congress passed the first GI Bill, supplying funds to veterans to continue education.

1954 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools segregated by race are unequal and therefore unconstitutional.

1965 Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to aid local schools and to improve the education of children from low-income families.

1972 Congress passed the Education Amendments Act, which grants funds to almost every institution of higher learning to use as it wishes.

1978 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that college and university admission programs may not use specific quotas to achieve racial balance. However, they may give special consideration to applicants of minority groups.

1979 Congress established the U.S. Department of Education.

1983 The National Commission on Excellence in Education reported in A Nation at Risk that U.S. students lagged far behind students in other industrialized nations.

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