RG 053. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education & Board of Education
Identifier: RG 053
Timeline of Public Education in Rhode Island 1845 Office of Commissioner of Public Schools created. Commissioner of Public Schools authorized to aid and encourage free public libraries. First annual appropriation for education of the blind. 1849 First annual appropriation for teachers' institutes. 1850. Agreement with Brown University for establishing department for training of teachers. 1852 First normal school established. 1852 Secretary of State authorized to procure room for Library. 1854 Second normal school established. 1857 Commissioners appointed by Governor to visit England and the Continent, to ascertain best means of improving manufactures depending upon design. 1863 Land scrip, under Morrill act, assigned to Brown University, for establishing a college or department of agriculture 1863 Rhode Island Institute of Instruction chartered. Established 1844. 1864 Work of educating defective classes extended; annual appropriation for education of blind, deaf, dumb, idiots and imbeciles. 1866 Appropriation for normal training of teachers at academies. 1867 Towns authorized to levy taxes for free library support. 1868 Abolition of rate bills. State Law Library established under care of Clerk of Supreme Court. This library succeeded the Providence Bar Library and took over books of the state entrusted to the latter. 1870 State Board of Education established. 1871 Rhode Island Normal School established. 1873 State aid for evening schools. Appellate jurisdiction of Commissioner of Public Schools defined by the Supreme Court. 1882 Town maintenance of public schools made mandatory. 1882-1884. Rhode Island School of Design. State scholarships provided. 1884 Maximum state general school appropriation attained. Abolition of school districts permitted. State Home and School established. 1888. Rhode Island State College established, first as an agricultural and mechanics arts school. In 1893 the school was reorganized as a college of agriculture and mechanic arts. 1893 Free textbooks ordered. 1894 Factory inspection. Model and training school for Normal School. 1895 Providence and Brown University co-operate to train high school teachers. 1896 General Assembly asks State Board to recommend measures to promote a uniform high standard in schools. 1898 State Board of Education made exclusive agency for certificating teachers. New Normal School building opened. State appropriation to aid high schools. State appropriation to encourage grading of schools. 1900 School census under supervision of school committees. School committees to provide flags for schoolhouses. 1901 School committees to elect truant officers. 1902 Full term school attendance made compulsory. The state assumed responsibility for enforcing attendance. Compulsory school age raised to 13 years. School committees to fix compensation of superintendents. 1903 State aid for full-time superintendencies. Joint superintendencies authorized. 1904 All remaining school districts abolished. School committees may unite to elect joint superintendent. 1905 Minimum employment age 13 years. Act abolishing districts perfected. 1906 Procedure for condemning property for schools perfected. Commissioner Ranger reports plan for school improvement. 1907 Minimum employment age, 14 years. State home and school for feeble-minded. Teachers' pensions. State aid for travelling libraries. 1908 Instruction for adult blind in their homes. State certification for superintendents of schools. 1909 Towns required to provide high school education. Compulsory school age 14 years. Teachers' minimum salary law. 1910 Commissioner to investigate industrial vocational education. 1911 State aid for medical inspection in public and private schools. Board of Education to approve standards for sanitation. Travelling libraries and library visitor provided for. 1912 Graduate courses and free scholarships in education at Brown University authorized. State aid for industrial vocational education. 1913 Textile school at School of Design. Special assistance for rural schools. 1914 Minimum school year 36 weeks. State inspector of high schools appointed. Standards adopted. 1915 Provision for expert supervision for all towns. School committees have power to consolidate schools and provide transportation. (The law previously limited the power to schools of less than 12 in average attendance.) 1916 Age and employment certificate law perfected. 1917 Children must attend school to 16 years unless employed. Physical education. Dental inspection. School committees control repair and equipment of school buildings. Summer session at Normal School. Rhode Island accepted Federal aid for vocational education. 1920 The General Assembly changed the title of the Commissioner of Public Schools to Commissioner of Education. 1935 The Office of Commissioner of Education was abolished in January 1935, by the departmental reorganization act, which created the Department of Education headed by a director. 1973 Created by an act of the General Assembly, the Board of Regents for Education were sworn into office on July 3, 1973 with policy-making power over all public educational within the state- Elementary, Secondary and Post Secondary. 1981 Created by act of the General Assembly, the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education were sworn into office on June 23, 1981, with policy-making power over all educational programs within the state. 1981 Created by act of the General Assembly, the Board of Governors for Higher Education were sworn into office on June 23, 1981, with policy making power over all public higher education within the state. 2014 The 17-member Rhode Island Board of Education was created by the Rhode Island General Assembly and replaced the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Governors for Higher Education. This consolidated governance of all public education in Rhode Island.