20th Century (1900s-1950s)
By Kiara Jackson
1900 - The Association of American Universities is founded to promote higher standards and put U.S. universities on an equal footing with their European counterparts.
1909 - Educational reformer Ella Flagg Young becomes superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools. She is the first female superintendent of a large city school system. One year later she is elected president of the National Education Association.
1914 - The Smith-Lever Act establishes a system of cooperative extension services connected to land grant universities and provides federal funds for extension activities.
1929 - The Great Depression begins with the stock market crash in October. The U.S. economy is devastated. Public education funding suffers greatly, resulting in school closings, teacher layoffs, and lower salaries.
1935 - Congress authorizes the Works Progress Administration. Its purpose is to put the unemployed to work on public projects, including the construction of hundreds of school buildings.
1939 - Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, organizes a national conference on student transportation. It results in the adoption of standards for the nation's school buses, including the shade of yellow.
1946 - In the landmark court case of Mendez vs. Westminster and the California Board of Education, the U. S. District Court in Los Angeles rules that educating children of Mexican descent in separate facilities is unconstitutional, thus prohibiting segregation in California schools and setting an important precedent for Brown vs. Board of Education.
1946 - The computer age begins as the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first vacuum-tube computer, is built for the U.S. military by Presper Eckert and John Mauchly.
1947 - In the case of Everson v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court rules by a 5-4 vote that a New Jersey law which allowed reimbursements of transportation costs to parents of children who rode public transportation to school, even if their children attended Catholic schools, did NOT violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
1948 - In the case of McCollum v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court rules that schools cannot allow "released time" during the school day which allows students to participate in religious education in their public school classrooms.