Education has and continues to play an essential role in American society, and the first Department of Education—also known as Office of Education or Bureau of Education—was established in 1867 to document and promote the “condition and progress of education” in the United States.
In the early days of American history, educational attainment was seen as less of a priority than it is today. Child labor laws had not yet gone into effect, and many children were required to work, help out on the family farm, or contribute in other ways to the home. As time passed, however, education became increasingly important as a means of getting ahead financially and establishing oneself as a productive member of society.
To understand how American education has evolved over the last century, Stacker investigated historical education data and took a deep dive into a 1993 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report that