The education system of the United States started in the seventeenth century with the opening of the first public school, the Boston Latin School in 1635. The same year the very first 'free school' also opened at Virginia with the aim of providing education to the non-wealthy community. The beginning of the higher education was laid by the opening of the Harvard University in the year 1638. Thus the seventeenth century laid the foundation for a number of educational institutions at the 13 American colonies.
The system of education began in the first half of the seventeenth century and as the time developed, they started to introduce compulsory education schemes. And in the year 1642, the proper education, which included the principles of religion and basics of commonwealth, was made compulsory by the Massachusetts Bay Colony and this scheme was very soon adopted by the other colonies within 1640's to 1650's.
The main reason behind the introduction of education was to help the people to read the religious verses and the Bible. Many early colleges were established by the religious denominations in order to train ministers for the church.
The schools opened in the seventeenth century in the colonies were intended to educate boys and young men, but none emphasized on the education of girls. It was only in the late eighteenth century, 1767 that the tax supported schooling began at England for young women. But the education provided for the men and the very few rich and privileged women were much different at these time; men were taught to read and write while women were only trained to read the religious verses.
There was also a difference between the education of rich and the poor in the colonies. The children of the rich planters were either sent to private schools at places like England or taught by hired private tutors. But in rarer remote colonies like Georgia, many grammar schools were open of which some provided free education and permitted all the male, female sand the slave and Indian students to study it.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the writings of Lydia Maria Child, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, and Lydia Sigourney influenced the urban area with the introduction of the idea of 'republican motherhood' and the education for women who are the connecting chain of the society and the family was advocated. The subjects like mathematics and philosophy which were considered as a male only subject was integrated into the curricula at the public and private schools for girls. And by the end of the century, women began to show up in the role of educators in these institutions and supervisors of American moral and ethical values.
In the nineteenth century, most of the educators were not particularly skilled and all they processed was the bit of knowledge in their field of study. To overcome this, the two year 'normal School' was started in 1823 to train the teachers of the elementary schools before they got into the job.
The first public high school, the Boston English High school was opened in the year 1821. And slowly more and more public schools started to be established at different parts of the state. And by the end of the nineteenth century, the number of public school became much more than that of the private schools.
The census conducted in the year 1840 shows that about 55 percent of the girls and boys out of the total 1.8 million each between the age 5 and 15 attended primary schools and academics. While many states provided equal opportunity for every student's get education, some southern states strictly prohibited the enslaved African Americans from getting into school.
The beginning of the twentieth century was with the new law that required the children of the 31 states to attend the school compulsorily from the age of 8 to 14, and within twenty years about a majority of the nation's children were attending the schools.
The twentieth century also witnessed the rapid growth of urban high schools which provided the necessary credential to develop in education and to gain professional carriers. The number and the standards of the schools rose in the first years of the twentieth century and the secondary education began to emphasize on the college entry. The association of American University promoted higher standards of education and made the American Universities grow up the standards of the British Schools.
The century also saw the opening of about a thousand colleges which has about 160,000 students. Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Vanderbilt University and Duke University, and University of Chicago some which were founded around the start of this century.
For most part of the history of the American Education, segregation was made; the slave children and the African Americans were left behind. And the civil right movement and the Supreme court order of the Brown Vs Board of Education in the 1950's helped to remove the segregation in education system and by the later half of the twentieth century, most educational institutions in south America started to provide equal opportunity for every students to acquire education.