Our “Teachable Moment” issue is on press and will be arriving in September. Here is a Back To School timeline that highlights major moments in New Jersey education.
1756 • The College of New Jersey, founded 10 years earlier, moves to Princeton.
1766 • Queens College is established in New Brunswick.
1817 • New Jersey establishes a State School Fund.
1825 • Queens College is renamed in honor of Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers.
1852 • Clara Barton, future founder of the American Red Cross, opens the first free public school in Bordentown. She left teaching after being passed over as head of school.
1853 • The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is founded in New Brunswick.
1856 • Seton Hall University is founded in Madison.
1866 • The State Board of Education is established.
1875 • New Jersey becomes the last state in the nation to offer free public education to all children.
1894 • A law requiring all school districts to pay for books and supplies makes NJ schools completely free for the first time.
1909 • New Jersey becomes the first state to pass a teacher tenure law.
1914 • Elizabeth Allen becomes the first woman to head the NJEA.
1917 • The state passes a law making physical education mandatory starting in first grade.
1922 • Nellie Parker becomes the first African American teacher in Bergen County, enduring threats by the Ku Klux Klan.
1933 • Albert Einstein and his family move to Princeton.
1939 • Rita Finkler founds the Department of Endocrinology at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark.
1940 • Wally Schirra enrolls at the Newark College of Engineering (now NJIT). He became the first astronaut to fly missions in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
1965 • The NJ School for the Deaf is renamed in honor of Marie Katzenbach, a member of the State Board of Education for more than four decades.
1968 • School employees are included in New Jersey collective bargaining law for the first time.
1975 • Judi Owens becomes the first African American president of the NJEA.
1995 • The state passes the Charter School Program Act.
2011 • New Jersey schools adopt the country’s most comprehensive anti-bullying policy.
2014 • Union High history teacher Nick Ferroni is named Sexiest Teacher Alive by People Magazine.
2015 • South Jersey teacher Ruth Reed vows to treat someone once a week at Wawa. Three years later, she comes to the rescue of country music star Keith Urban, who was short of cash at a Medford Wawa.
2018 • Ocean City High sign language teacher Amy Anderson is the state’s first-ever finalist for national Teacher of the Year.
2019 • New Jersey becomes the second state to require public schools to teach LGBT History.