Since its beginnings, higher education in the United States has always been seen as an important part of making sure that the government truly works for the people. During the Colonial times in America, some of the foundations of the educational system that we take for granted were laid in place. This article will discuss only a few of these.
The Colonial Years
One of the first items of interest for those studying the history of higher education occurred in 1635 as this was when the Boston Public Latin School opened. It was literally the first secondary school in the American colonies. In addition, in the following year, one of the premier schools in higher education, Harvard College was established, and the school awarded its first baccalaureate degree in 1642.
In 1660, the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge helped to simplify the exchange of scientific information and ideas. The new scientific subjects became a part of courses of study in universities and secondary schools, and the importance of science in education became well established.
During the next 40 years, various secondary schools and centers for higher education established themselves throughout the original thirteen colonies. In fact, in 1700 the Quakers established a school for African Americans in Philadelphia, making true inroads to the idea of multicultural education.
For the next hundred years, through out the colonial period, a number of sanctuaries of higher education were established, and some are still going strong today. For instance, Yale University, which was named in honor of its benefactor Elihu Yale was first established in 1701, and later moved in 1718 to the present location of New Haven Connecticut. Other colleges and universities, all of which offer some form of higher education today were established during the years of 1775 to 1783.