News Displays: Boston Latin School Is Founded, Monday, 4/23Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check the news postings on Learning at the Library, where you can delve into history.
The oldest and first public school in America, Boston Latin School, originally called the South Grammar School, was founded on April 23, 1635 with a curriculum based on religion, Latin, and classic literature. Modeled after the Boston Grammar School in Lincolnshire, England, Boston Latin School drew students from Boston's elite - the "Brahim" -- as well as children from other states. Early attendees included John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Treat Paine, and William Hooper. Today Boston Latin School is part of the Boston public school system and is s feeder for Harvard University, as well as other prestigious institutions of higher education.
April 3rd, 1962 marks the date when the landmark case of Engel versus Vitale was argued on the basis that it was unconstitutional for state officials to compose a school prayer and encourage its use in public schools. The prayer in question,
"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen."
had been recited by public school students since 1958 in New Hyde Park, New York until families, led by Steven Engel, of Jewish heritage, contested it violated their religious beliefs. With only seven Supreme Court justices presiding -- Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Associate Justices Hugo L. Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, John Harlan II, and Potter Stewart -- the ruling on June 25th, 1962 effectively made it unconstitutional for prayer to be used in public schools.
The Elementary-Secondary Education Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11th, 1965 as part of his efforts to address "The War on Poverty." This legislation funded elementary and secondary education, encouraging equal access to education and measures for accountability exercised more at the local, rather than federal level. ESEA was re-authorized by President George W. Bush as No Child Left Behind and then as Every Student Succeeds under President Barack Obama.
Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 - April 17, 1790) was one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States who played a great role in the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution, as well as in science, invention, publishing, and education. Franklin was the 6th president of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and also served as United States Minister to Sweden, United States Minister to France, 1st United States Postmaster General, and Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly. He authored "Poor Richard's Almanac" under the pseudonym Richard Saunders; founded the first public library of the United States; and also served as the first president of the Academy and College of Philadelphia which late became the University of Pennsylvania.