The Improving America’s School’s Act of 1994

On October 20, 1994, the Improving America’s Schools Act (P.L. 103-382; 108 Stat. 3518) became law.

It significantly revised the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. It was the last major alteration of the law before the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Below is a copy of the law as enacted—it is not the statute from the U.S. Statutes At- Large.


No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; P.L 107-110; 115 Stat. 1425) on January 8, 2002.  NCLB is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).   The original ESEA was 32 pages long; NCLB is 670 pages long.

The full text of the No Child Left Behind Act is accessible in the window below, and you also can see and download it at

Vocational Education Act of 1917, or Smith-Hughes Act of 1917

Smith Hughes National Vocational Education ActThis is the first law (P.L. 64-347; 39 Stat. 929) that authorized federal government oversight of a portion of high school curricula. It was signed into law on February 23, 1917.

You can see the full act at

Act to Establish a Federal Department of Education, 1867

Many are under the impression that the Department of Education was first created in 1979. That is not true. The first Department of Education was established on March 2, 1867 (14 Stat. 434). However, it did not have a secretary at its helm like other departments (e.g., the Department of War.)  Instead, it had a commissioner.

Federal Education Laws (Current)

The major corpus of current federal education laws and policies may be found in Title 20 of the U.S. Code.

However, some less-well-known education policies can be found elsewhere in the U.S. Code.

Laws (or statutes) as originally enacted by Congress are published elsewhere on this website.  Just look at the entries under the Laws category.