Akron, Ohio is known for many things from rubber to famous writers. But did you know that the people of Akron adopted a law that would become the foundation for the modern public school system, often referred to as the “K-12” system?
This modern model of education probably began in 1840 when Ansel Miller made the suggestion that the city ought to build free public schools for all children in the city paid for by property taxes. Initially the idea met with a lot of resistance. In 1843 Miller joined fores with Reverend Isaac Jennings. Three years later Jennings would become chairman of a committee of citizens who came together to figure out how to improve the school system.
On November 21, 1846 Akronites unanimously voted in favor of the committee’s plan, which was adopted by the Ohio State Legislature and made into law on February 8, 1847. In the fall of 1847 Akron’s first public schools, supported by property tax, were opened to the public.
The Akron School Law outlined a now-familiar system. One school district would serve the entire city. Within this district several elementary schools would serve the city and these schools would separate students into grades or classes based on individual achievement. Later on when there was demand for it a high school was also established. Property tax, as first suggested by Miller, would pay for the new school system. A community elected board would handle the budget and hiring of necessary professionals.
The State of Ohio saw the idea as such a success that in 1849 passed a state-wide law called the Ohio School Law, modeled after the idea created in Akron.
Jody Victor: Here’s what happened on this day, September 27, in history.
1290 Earthquake in Gulf of Chili China, reportedly kills 100,000 1540 Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded by Ignatius Loyola 1777 Battle of Germantown; Washington defeated by the British 1779 John Adams negotiates Revolutionary War peace terms with Britain 1787 Constitution submitted to the states for ratification 1821 Mexican Empire declares its independence 1821 Revolutionary forces occupy Mexico City as Spanish withdraw 1825 Railroad transportation is born with 1st track in England 1854 Steamship Arctic sank with 300 people aboard 1863 Jo Shelby’s calvery in action at Moffat’s Station, Arkansas 1877 John Mercer Langston named minister of Haiti 1881 Chicago Cubs beat Troy 10-8 before record small “crowd” of 12 1894 Aqueduct racetrack opens in NY 1905 First published blues composition goes on sale, WC Handy Memphis Blues 1905 Boston’s Bill Dinneen no-hits Chic White Sox, 2-0 1910 First test flight of a twin-engined airplance (France) 1919 Democratic National Committee votes to admit women 1919 Pitcher Bob Shawkey sets then Yank record with 15 strike-outs 1921 Yanks beat Indians 21-7 in Polo Grounds 1923 Lou Gehrig’s 1st homer 1928 US recognizes Nationalist Chinese government 1930 Bobby Jones completes the Grand Slam of Golf 1930 White Sox 1st baseman Bud Clancy didn’t handle the ball at all in a 9 inning game vs St Louis Browns 1931 Lou Gehrig completes his 6th straight season, playing in every game 1937 First Santa Claus school opens (Albion NY) 1938 Ocean liner Queen Elizabeth launched at Glasgow 1939 Warsaw, Poland, surrenders to Germans after 19 days of resistance 1940 Black leaders protest discrimination in US armed forces 1940 Floyd Giebells, 1st game, 2-0 pennant clinching beating Bob Feller 1941 First WW II liberty ship, freighter Patrick Henry, launched 1942 NY Giants beat Wash Redskins 14-7 without making a 1st down 1942 St Louis Cards win NL pennant on last day of the season 1950 Heavyweight champ Ezzard Charles defeats Joe Louis 1953 Bert Bechichar, Baltimore Colts, kicks a 56-yard field goal 1953 Typhoon destroys 1/3 of Nagoya Japan 1954 School integration begins in Wash DC & Baltimore Md public schools 1954 Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show” premiers 1959 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev concludes his US visit 1959 Typhoon Vera, hits Japanese island of Honshu, kills nearly 5,000 1961 Sierre Leone becomes the 100th member of the UN 1962 US sells Israel, Hawk anti-aircraft missiles 1963 At 10:59 AM the census clock, records US population at 190,000,000 1964 Phillies 7th straight loses sends them into 2nd place 1964 Warren Commission released, finding Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone 1967 Phillies Jim Bunning ties NL record of 5, 1-0 losses in a year 1968 Cardinal’s super pitcher Bob Gibson’s 13th shutout of the year 1970 Ken Boswell sets 2nd baseman record of 85 games without an error 1972 First game at Nassau Coliseum, Rangers beat Islanders 6-4 (exhibition) 1973 Nolan Ryan strikesout his 383rd batter of the year 1973 Soyuz 12 carries 2 cosmonauts into Earth orbit (2 days) 1977 Phillies clinch 2nd straight NL East Division title 1979 Congress’ final approval to create Dept of Education 1980 WHOT (Bkln NY pirate radio station) begins on 1620 AM & 92.5 FM 1982 John Palmer becomes news anchor of the Today Show 1985 Hurricane Gloria’s 130 MPH wind hits the Atlantic coast 1986 Senate joins House of Reps voting for sweeping tax reforms 1987 NFL players’ strike 1988 Grand jury evidence shows Tawana Brawley fabricated rape story 1988 Lab tests reportedly show Shroud of Turin not Christ`s burial cloth 1988 Senate votes for major federal tax code changes 1989 Sony purchases Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion cash 1990 A gunman holds 33 people (killing 1) hostage in Berkley Calif 1990 Deposed emir of Kuwait address the UN General Assembly 1990 Senate Judiciary committee approves Souter’s Supreme Court nomination 1990 Tour de France champion Greg LeMond visits White House 1991 “Princesses” premiers on CBS TV 1991 President Bush decides to end full-time B-52 bombers alert 1991 First scheduled NHL exhibition game in St Petersburg Florida, is cancelled due to poor ice conditions (NY Islanders vs Boston Bruins)