Department of Education Timeline
by Chris Edwards
- 1787: The Northwest Ordinance provides grants of federal land for the establishment of educational institutions.1
- 1862: The Morrill Act provides grants of land to the states, which may be sold and the proceeds used to fund colleges that focus on agricultural and mechanical studies. However, "many states squandered the revenue from this endowment," according to a National Archives report.2
- 1867: Congress appropriates $15,000 for the creation of a Department of Education largely in response to lobbying by the National Teachers Association, which later became the National Education Association.3 The department, which has four employees, acts as a clearing house of data for educators and policymakers.
- 1868: After a bitter fight over federal encroachment in education, Congress downgrades the new department to an Office of Education within the Department of Interior. Education did not regain its separate departmental status until 1979.