If one does the math, 13 x … Public education was conceived as a way to educate children in order to prepare them to be productive members of society. Many do not ponder the purpose of the public education system overlooking that this question lies at the heart of all that is done in school. What is the primary purpose of public education? Finally, in 1954, the Supreme Court overturned its ruling with the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, and public schools became open to people of all races. In the United States, the first schools began in the 13 original colonies in the 17 th century. Well, actually, I chose not to accost people during their dinner, but I did end up asking about 300 people both inside education and outside education what they thought the purpose of public education was. Teach your … From kindergarten through their senior year, students in the United States will spend thirteen years in US public education. Under this law, ED's mission is to: Strengthen the Federal commitment to assuring access to … For example, Boston Latin School, which was founded in 1635, was the first public school and the oldest existing school in the country. The earliest schools focused on reading, writing, and mathematics. Congress established the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on May 4, 1980, in the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88 of October 1979). While it's important for students to have a firm grasp of each subject, this can sometimes be problematic. One hundred fifty years later, in 1998, California breaks that treaty, by passing Proposition 227, which would make it illegal for teachers to speak Spanish in public schools. 1851 State of Massachusetts passes first its compulsory education law. The goal was simple. The federal Department of Education was established in 1867, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Public Schools Have a Public Purpose Richard D. Kahlenberg , a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, is the author of several books, including " … The purpose of education to some teachers is to impart knowledge about the subject matter they are teaching without much thought to other classes. Based on that original purpose, it is evident that public education today is, to borrow a metaphor from Jesus, “like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). The 1896 Supreme Court ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson upheld the legality of segregation. I wondered if the diversity of answers to such a basic question were a road-block to reform in itself. 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