I wondered if the diversity of answers to such a basic question were a road-block to reform in itself. If one does the math, 13 x … From kindergarten through their senior year, students in the United States will spend thirteen years in US public education. 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. The goal was simple. 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). 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. The earliest schools focused on reading, writing, and mathematics. 1851 State of Massachusetts passes first its compulsory education law. What is the primary purpose of public education? 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). Under this law, ED's mission is to: Strengthen the Federal commitment to assuring access to … 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. The original purpose of the agency was to collect information on individual schools that would help states establish their own effective public school systems. The 1896 Supreme Court ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson upheld the legality of segregation. Teach your … At the turn of the 20th century, schools in the South, and many in the North, were segregated. It also guarantees the continued use of the Spanish language, including in 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. Public Schools Have a Public Purpose Richard D. Kahlenberg , a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, is the author of several books, including " … The federal Department of Education was established in 1867, according to the U.S. Department of Education. While it's important for students to have a firm grasp of each subject, this can sometimes be problematic. Public education was conceived as a way to educate children in order to prepare them to be productive members of society. 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