Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Historical Documents

These documents explain the history of how public education started in the state.

  • If reporters would like more information about these historical documents, please use the Reporter Request Form to contact the Communications Division.
  • The Newsroom page provides a more detailed overview of services provided by the Communications Division.
  • The links and information below were developed for reporters and others involved in education.

Please note that many of these documents were scanned from photocopies. Some of the larger documents may be too large to view on some computers. In that case, the document has been separated into smaller segments where it would be best to download the document onto a local computer and viewed or printed from that computer. Accessible Alternative Versions (AAV) of these documents are provided for the visually impaired.


Tracing the Roots of Teacher Tenure, California Journal, (May 1999), 10-18, by Sigrid Bathen (PDF; 3MB; Posted 21-Feb-2006)
Accessible Alternative Version of Tracing the Roots of Teacher Tenure, May 1999
California Journal
, (May 1999), 10-18. Magazine feature in the May 1999 issue of California Journal on the history of teacher tenure in California and a movement to reform it.

California Department of Education History

A History of the California State Department of Education 1900-1967. Sacramento: Bureau of Publications, State Department of Education, November, 1968.

History of how the California Department of Education was formed and evolved in the state between 1960 through 1967:

Johnson, Leighton H., Development of the Central State Agency for Public Education in California 1849-1949. Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1952, pp.1, 126-139. (DOC; Modified 01-Apr-2009) | PDF (2MB: Modified 01-Apr-2009)
Selected pages on the history of education in California over a 100 year period.

Thumbnail History of Public Education in California, August 1961 (notes). (PDF; Posted 21-Jun-2007)
Accessible Alternative Version Thumbnail History of Public Education in California, August 1961 (notes)
Short synopsis outlining the history of public education California from 1849 to 1961. The author is unknown.

Timeline of California Standards-Based Reform
A short outline of significant events in California's standards based education reforms. All of these reforms are working in concert to improve student achievement.

Education Master Plan

The California Master Plan for Education [] External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 4MB) and the Office of the Education Master Plan Web site are available through the University of California Office of the President Web site. The Master Plan was written by a legislative committee and presented to the legislature in 2002, superseding the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education. The goal of the Master Plan for Education is to streamline education legislation and create one seamless system of public education, from pre-kindergarten through University.


A Brief Summary of Public Education in the State of California. Report by the Office of the Superintendent. Sacramento, California, 1970. (PDF; Posted 24-Mar-2006).
Accessible Alternative Version of A Brief Summary of Public Education in the State of California. Report by the Office of the Superintendent. Sacramento, California, 1970
Paper outlining the different components of education in California, including sections on "State School Laws," "Division of Instruction," and "State Board of Education," produced by the Office of the Superintendent.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, The. A report on the history of the office in the State of California, and a review of the recent trends in the other 49 states prepared by Assembly Legislative Reference Service, Sacramento, California, 1963.

Wood, Will C. Education — A Foundation for Business. A report presented to the Commonwealth Club of California, 1931 (Modified 03-Apr-2009) | DOC (Modified 03-Apr-2009)
Report by Bank of America Vice President Will C. Wood on his years with the California Department of Education between 1914-1927 and his observations on educational trends and policies. The location of the presentation is unknown.

Wood, Will C. The Relation of the City Superintendent to the Community, the School Board and the Teaching Body. (DOC; Modified 01-Apr-2009) | PDF (4MB; Modified 01-Apr-2009)
A report on the issue of constantly changing superintendents and how this relates to inconsistency in education and fads in teaching. The location and date of the report are unknown.


Dr. Edwin F. Klotz

Klotz, Dr. Edwin F. Analysis of the Relationship of the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Address before a Senate Education Subcommittee Hearing, Sacramento, California, 1967. (DOC; Modified 25-Mar-2009) | PDF (3MB; Modified 25-Mar-2009).
Testimony regarding Senate Resolution No. 357.

John Mockler

Mockler, John. "Testimony by John Mockler, Murdoch of Mockler and Associates to the Governor’s Commission on Educational Quality, Sacramento, California, 1987. (DOC; Modified 22-Apr-2009) | PDF (Modified 22-Apr-2009)
Testimony on the history of categorical funding in California.

Wilson C. Riles

Riles, Wilson C. "Educating Inner City Children: Challenges and Opportunities." A presentation to the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, Warrenton, Virginia, 1969. (DOC; Modified 03-Apr-2009) | PDF (2MB; Modified 03-Apr-2009)
Selected pages of a presentation on education problems children in the inner city.

Questions: Communications | | 916-319-0818 
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Trending in Quick References
Recently Posted in Quick References
No items posted in the last 60 days.