Office of Education Is Created (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The U.S. government makes a full commitment to public education.
Summary of Event
On March 2, 1867, President Andrew Johnson signed an act creating a department of education to collect and diffuse “such statistics and facts” concerning the progress and condition of education in the several states and territories as would aid the people of the United States in establishing and maintaining efficient school systems and “promote the cause of education throughout the country.” The act provided for the appointment of a commissioner of education charged with reporting annually to Congress the results of investigations and recommendations to carry out the statute’s purposes.
The story behind the creation of the United States Department of Education is, in many ways, the story of Henry Barnard, a native of Connecticut, who, when only twenty-six, dedicated himself to the cause of promoting and improving public school education in America. Reasonably well off, Barnard attended both public and private schools in his home state. He was graduated from Yale in 1830, was admitted to the Connecticut bar, and made a grand tour of Europe in 1835. Extensive travel and his own educational experience convinced Barnard that New England’s public schools, among America’s best, were seriously deficient. In no respect could this country’s highly decentralized, ungraded, and miserably taught public...
(The entire section is 1393 words.)
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