I had a request to share some of the Education Trivia recently presented at a San Luis Obispo County Rotary meeting. Schools have changed a great deal over the years. Erasable slates, better known as chalkboards, were updated to whiteboards and replaced with Smart Boards. Laptops and iPads replaced notebooks and textbooks like ballpoint pens replaced fountain pens that replaced ink wells. Test your trivia knowledge and take some time to reflect on education as it was and is today.

  1. In 375 BC, who wrote the Republic, a Socratic dialogue that discussed the role of education in a just society? 
  2. What method of teaching reading dating back to 1570 emphasizes the association of letters or groups of individual sounds? 
  3. Who is considered the father of modern education and wrote the 1762 influential work “Emile”? 
  4. In 1837, which country implemented the concept of kindergarten?
  5. In 1875, who advocated for creating U.S. state-funded public schools? 
  6. In 1917, which state was the last to offer free public schooling in the U.S.?
  7. In 1929, what event prompted what we know today as the school buses?
  8. Why did students in the U.S. practice ducking beneath their desks in 1942?
  9. What did the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Topeka unanimous Supreme Court ruling end?
  10. Why was the Arkansas National Guard mobilized to Little Rock Central High School in 1957?
  11. What education legislation was passed in 1958 because of Sputnik? 
  12. Which president signed the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the 1966 Child Nutrition Act that established the School Breakfast Program?
  13. What is the Education Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1972 that prohibits discrimination in federally funded schools based on sex?
  14. What is section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities called?
  15. In 1979, which president appointed Shirley Hufstedler as the first Secretary of Education and cabinet-level position? 
  16. In 1983, which president’s administration published “A Nation at Risk” with recommendations for how schools should teach students?
  17. In 1995, nine district teachers in Eugene, Oregon, introduced what non-traditional program for instructional delivery? 
  18. In 2001, NCLB was introduced; what does it represent in education jargon?  
  19. Which San Luis Obispo County school district still had student dormitories operating in the 1980s?
  20. In 1985, the State Legislature passed a minimum starting teacher salary of approximately how much?

Education is one of the most empowering forces in the world. Education can create knowledge, build confidence, break down barriers, increase opportunities, and promote social justice. Thank you for your continued support of education in our community. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools.


  1. Plato
  2. Phonics John Hart
  3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  4. Germany
  5. Horace Mann
  6. Tennesee
  7. Great Depression
  8. World War II Mock Air Raid
  9. Desegregation
  10. Safety and prevention of violence as the school began admitting Black students
  11. National Defense Education Act
  12. Lyndon B. Johnson
  13. Title IX
  14. Free Appropriate Public Education
  15. Jimmy Carter
  16. Ronald Reagan
  17. Outdoor Preschool
  18. No Child Left Behind
  19. Atascadero
  20. $19,000


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