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Federal Role in Education

Legislation

Most education statutes can be found in Title 20, U.S. Code (Education) or Title 42, U.S. Code (Public Health and Welfare). Below are listed selected federal statutes.

Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1787
Sets aside land for the support of schools and the establishment of a university in the Northwest Territory. July 13, 1787, 1 Stat. 51.

First Morrill Act
Providing for the endowment of the first land-grant colleges. July 2, 1862, Ch. 130, 12 Stat. 503, 7 U.S.C. §§ 301, 305, 307 and 308.

Second Morill Act
Extends land-grant colleges into the Southern states, leading to the creation of many public black colleges and universities. Aug. 30, 1890, Ch. 841, 26 Stat. 417, 7 U.S.C. §§ 321–326, 328.

Vocational Education Act of 1917 (Smith-Hughes Act)
Provided federal support of vocation education at the secondary school level. Feb. 23, 1917, Ch. 114, 39 Stat. 929, 20 U.S.C. §§ 11–15, §§ 16–29.

Servicemen's Readjustment Act (G.I. Bill)
Provided for broad educational benefits to returning World War II veterans. June 22, 1944, P.L. 78-346, 58 Stat. 284, 38 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq.

Educational Agencies Financial Aid Act (Impact Laws)
Providing permanent federal aid to schools impacted by federal employees and activities. Sept. 30, 1950, P.L. 81-815, 64 Stat. 1100, 20 U.S.C. §§ 236–244

Civil Rights Act of 1964
One provision calls for a withdrawal of federal financial support from any discriminatory school districts. July 2, 1964, P.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1972, 1975a–1975d, 2000a–2000h-6.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
First federal program of general financial aid to primary and secondary education. April 11, 1965, P.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 U.S.C. §§ 236-244, 331-332b, 821-827, 841-848, 861-870,881-885.

Higher Education Act of 1965
Establishes a variety of programs, including guaranteed student loans and the Teacher Corps. Nov. 8, 1965, P.L. 89-329, 79 Stat. 1219, 20 U.S.C. §§ 403, 424-425, 441, 443, 591, 711, 713-717, 731, 743, 751, 1001-1011, 1021-1028, 1031-1034 et seq; 42 U.S.C. §§ 2751-2756.

Bilingual Education Act
Establishes federal legislation dealing explicitly with language and culture. Jan. 2, 1968, P.L. 90-247, 81 Stat. 816, 20 U.S.C. §§ 880b to 880b-6.

Title IX of 1972 Education Amendments
Makes discrimination in education on the basis of gender illegal. Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, P.L. 92-318, 86 Stat. 235, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.

Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975
Mandates free appropriate public education designed to meet the individual needs of all handicapped children. Nov. 29, 1975, P.L. 94-142, 89 Stat. 773, 20 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.

Department of Education Organization Act
Establishes the modern Department of Education as a cabinet-level department. Oct. 17, 1979, P.L. 96-88, 93 Stat. 668, 3 U.S.C. §19, 5 U.S.C. §§ 101, 5312, 5314-5216, 5 U.S.C. Appx; 20 U.S.C. §§ 928, 929, 1102, 1102 nt., 2390, 2711, 3012, 3401, 3401nt. 3402 et seq.; 21 U.S.C. § 1002; 29 U.S.C. §§ 761, 794c, 821, 829, 873, 879, 882, 914, 952.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
Incorporates into the Elementary and Secondary Act specific proposals in such areas as testing, accountability, parental control, and early reading. P.L. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425, Title 20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.

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