School & District Management Series

Lessons of a Century

Americans in the 20th century made tremendous efforts to create, in the words of Noah Webster, “a system of education that should embrace every part of the community."In January 1999, Education Week began a yearlong series chronicling the successes and setbacks in those efforts over the past 100 years. Lessons of a Century appeared in 10 monthly installments, both in the print edition and on the World Wide Web. The series, now complete, examines all aspects of the educational landscape--people, trends, historical milestones, enduring controversies--with an emphasis on their continuing relevance. Essays by leading scholars and other observers offer additional perspective.You can read all 10 parts here as they originally appeared in Education Week on the Web by choosing selections on this page, or you can order the softbound book from our Products & Services Special Reports page.

School & District Management 1970s-1980s
Influential figures from this decade in American education.
December 15, 1999
7 min read
School & District Management 1990s
Influential figures from this decade in American education.
December 15, 1999
7 min read
School & District Management The 1900s
Influential figures from this decade in American education.
December 15, 1999
8 min read
School & District Management Featured Profiles
Featured persons who helped shape 20th century American education.
December 15, 1999
9 min read
Education Faces of a Century
The 100 entries in this last installment of Lessons of a Century show how forces and thinkers far removed from the classroom often shape what happens when the teacher closes the door and the pupils open their books.
December 15, 1999
1 min read
School & District Management 1920s-1940s
Influential figures from this decade in American education.
December 15, 1999
6 min read
School & District Management 1960s
Influential figures from this decade in American education.
December 15, 1999
7 min read
School & District Management Stanford Professor Created A New Breed of Professional
When a former student and colleague sought an affectionate nickname for Ellwood P. Cubberley, the Stanford University professor who would become one of the century's most influential educators, the young man chose "Dad." The name stuck, and from about 1903 to his retirement in 1933, "Dad" was how Cubberley was known to his students.
Bess Keller, November 17, 1999
5 min read
Federal The Evolving Federal Role
It was a moment steeped in symbolism. President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before the one-room schoolhouse in Stonewall, Texas, that he once attended. Flanked by his former teacher at the school, he signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
November 17, 1999
10 min read
School & District Management Who's in Charge?
American education grew up from the community outward. From Colonial times onward, local citizens built the schools, raised the money, hired the teachers, and chose which books to use. They also elected local leaders to oversee the job.
Lynn Olson, November 17, 1999
1 min read
School & District Management Opinion Democracy in Education— Who Needs It?
Without a system of local control by elected trustees in the 19th century, this country might not have created the most comprehensive and popular system of public education in the world.
David Tyack, November 17, 1999
13 min read
Education Funding School Finance: Slowly, the Burden Shifts to the States
In 1900, when the town of Stow in eastern Massachusetts was paying Josephine Newhall the less-than-princely sum of $323 to teach three grades for one semester, the townspeople more than likely picked up the tab.
Debra Viadero, November 17, 1999
5 min read
School & District Management Pulling in Many Directions
Before the 20th century, education was a decidedly local affair. The young American democracy, which had grown up in opposition to the hierarchies of Europe, operated on the simple premise of keeping government limited and close to home. Local citizens decided whether to have schools, raised the money, hired the teachers, and chose which books to use. They also elected lay leaders, in the form of local school trustees, to oversee the job.
Lynn Olson, November 17, 1999
23 min read
School & District Management No Easy Answers
Who should be in charge of the publish schools, and how should they be run?
Caroline Hendrie, November 17, 1999
23 min read