First public education in America
After the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson argued that the newly independent nation needed an educational system, and he suggested that tax dollars be used to fund it. His pleas were ignored, however, and the idea for a public school system languished for nearly a century.Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.
Next came the movement to create equal schooling for all American children, no matter what their race. At the turn of the 20th century, schools in the South, and many in the North, were segregated.