Akron, Ohio - Education

Education

See also: Category:Education in Akron, Ohio and List of University of Akron people

Preschool, elementary, and secondary education is mainly provided by the Akron City School District. Planning of the district began in 1840, when Ansel Miller suggested to build free public schools for all children in the city, paid for by property taxes. After enduring much opposition by citizens, in 1843 Miller joined with Rev. Isaac Jennings. Three years later, Jennings became the chairman of a committee of citizens who discussed how to improve the school system. On November 21, 1846, their plan was approved unanimously by the citizens. The Ohio Legislature adopted the plan, called "An act for the support and better regulation of the Common Schools of the Town of Akron" on February 8, 1847. Akron’s first public schools were established in the fall of 1847 and were led by Mortimer Leggett. The first annual report showed that it cost less than $2 a year to educate a child. In 1857 the cost of running the schools for a year was $4,200. The primary schools were taught by young women, which the Akron Board of Education justified because they could be paid less and were under the supervision of a male superintendent. From 1877 to 1952, Akron graduated students semi-annually instead of annually. 9% of the city’s school-aged population were born in other countries in 1888. In the 1920s, an Americanization program was designed to help the many Akron students who were first-generation Americans. Classes were in the rubber companies and some of the schools. A “continuation school” began for working boys and girls who were required by law to have at least four hours of schooling a week. In 1924, Akron's platoon schools attracted visitors from all over the country. Being a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan during the decade, the majority of school board and government officials were members. Their influence ended with the arrival of Wendell Willkie. During the city's 1950s boom town phase, Akron schools grew eight times faster than the city’s population. In 1967, Kenmore launched the Air Force JROTC. In 1971, Jennings piloted the middle school model, which moved ninth-graders to the senior high school. In 1984, all-day kindergarten was piloted at Seiberling, Rankin and Hatton schools, and Ellet, East and Garfield high schools piloted the in-school suspension program. The district received an A+ evaluation from the state in 1987.

The city is home to the University of Akron, which the Princeton Review listed among the Best in the Midwest, in 2008. Originally Buchtel College, the school is home of the Goodyear Polymer Center and the National Polymer Innovation Center. All Akron Public Schools are currently going through a 15-year, $800 million rebuilding process. In recent times the city’s schools have been moved from “Academic Watch” to “Continuous Improvement” by the Ohio Department of Education. Akron also has many private, parochial and charter schools. Akron Public Schools made headlines in 2004 when a freshman student of Akron Digital Academy, the district’s own online charter school, was not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, an event later covered and satirized by The Daily Show. National Basketball Association player LeBron James, attended North High School and St. Vincent - St. Mary High School.

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