New York State School Boards Association

Historical Origins of New York State School Boards

1638 First New York State schoolmaster comes from Holland to take charge of a school in the new Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.
1784 The New York State Legislature creates the Regents of the University of the State of New York.
1790’s and early 1800’s New York State passes laws establishing school districts and empowering its citizens to elect school boards to levy school taxes.
1812 Statute declares that common school districts be formed.
1822 Chapter 197 authorizes the Trustees of the Academy to act as trustees of the Goshen School District in Orange County.
1837 Buffalo establishes the first American superintendency.
1844 Start of the first state normal (teacher education) school in Albany.
1850’s and 1860’s Establishment of state-supervised public high schools and their gradual replacement of local academies.
1853 General act passed providing for the combination of the academy and common schools and for the election of boards of education for their management. The Warsaw School District is the first to apply for and gain admission to the Board of Education of Union Free Schools.
1854 Legislative establishment of a State Department of Public Instruction with a superintendent elected by the Legislature.
1867 Abolition of tuition and a shift to full tax support for public schools.
1880’s Growth of educational administration as an acknowledged profession and struggle for leadership between school boards and superintendents.
1904 Unification Act placing all education in New York under the Board of Regents operating through the first Commissioner of Education, Andrew S. Draper, and the State Education Department.
1913 The State Scholarship Act passed to issue scholarships for use in approved New York State colleges and universities.
1916 Educator Elwood Cubberly argues for smaller school boards, elected at-large and for longer terms.
1927 Educator George Counts criticizes boards for not being sufficiently representative.
1933 Educator Jesse Newlon articulates the need to separate the board’s functions from the administrators’, with the board as a legislature representing the people and the superintendent as their executive.
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