ERIC Number: ED119389
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
A History of Compulsory Education Laws. Fastback Series, No. 75. Bicentennial Series.
Katz, Michael S.
Although some critics of public education are now questioning the value of compulsory schooling for all children, this concept is deeply ingrained in American history and social values. The first compulsory education law in this country was enacted in 1642 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Puritan notion of education as a moral, social obligation was thus given the sanction of law, a pattern later followed by nineteenth century crusaders for free public education. By 1918, all states had passed school attendance legislation, although until the 1930s, many were unsuccessful in enforcing their compulsory schooling laws. However, as the population increased, and as the demand for well-trained labor grew, the bureaucratic machinery for enforcement was created. Of course, not all elements of American society have supported compulsory public school attendance. Court cases dealing with Consitutional issues have arisen from the opposition of some groups to mandatory schooling. For example, the 1972 Wisconsin v. Yoder ruling by the Supreme Court granted Amish parents exemption for their children from laws compelling public school attendance past the eighth grade. (DS)
Descriptors: Compulsory Education, Educational History, Educational Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, History, Public Education, Public Schools, School Attendance Legislation, Social Values, State Legislation, Supreme Court Litigation, United States History
Phi Delta Kappa, Eighth and Union, Box 789, Bloomington, Indiana 47401 ($0.50, quantity and membership discounts; payment must accompany orders of $5.00 or less)
Publication Type: Reference Materials - Bibliographies
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Phi Delta Kappa, Bloomington, IN.