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Kalamazoo Case

Page history last edited by Karin David 8 years ago

Kalamazoo Case

Provided for free public secondary (high school) education

Presented by Karin David


Historical Context of Work

The Kalamazoo Case was a court case decided in 1874 by the Michigan State Supreme Court. It provided for the establishment of  high schools, paid for by public funding (taxes). It helped to bridge the gap from elementary school to university.

Education and Influences

Charles E. Stuart and other wealthy citizens in Kalamazoo, MI, filed suit when the district used public taxes to build a high school. They were opposed to seeing their tax dollars used for the common man to further his education past grade school.


Impact on Best Practices

Prior to the Kalamazoo Case, taxes paid for the establishment of grade school, but there was no free transitional school for common or poor families prior to entering a university. There were such establishments available for the wealthy. Thus, the common man was at a great disadvantage for higher education.

Problems or Failures

Charles Stuart and his co-plaintiffs were scolded by the judge in the case, Chief Justice Thomas M. Cooley. This ultimately led to the passage of the law.

Other Interesting Facts

Between 1870 and 1890, public high schools increased by 171 schools. A plaque outside the first publicly funded high school in Kalamazoo stands at this historic site.

Impact on Others

Chief Justice Cooley stated in his findings that, “Education, not merely in the rudiments, but in an enlarged sense, was regarded as an important practical advantage to be supplied . . . to rich and poor alike. . . .” As a result, both wealthy and poor could pursue a dream of higher education. This led to other states adopting a similar format in order to establish free, public high schools.


Kalamazoo Case, The -- Kids Encyclopedia | Children's Homework Help | Kids Online Dictionary | Britannica. (n.d.). Kids Encyclopedia | Children's Homework Help | Kids Online Dictionary | Britannica. Retrieved July 18, 2012, from http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-9327889/Kalamazoo-Case-The

Starring, C. R., & Knauss, J. O. (1969). The Michigan search for educational standards.    Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission.


Timmerman, E. (2012). The Kalamazoo School Case: Supporting High School Education - Kalamazoo Public Library. Kalamazoo Public Library Home Page - Kalamazoo Public Library. Retrieved July 18, 2012, from http://www.kpl.gov/local-history/education/kalamazoo-school-case.aspx


Wiles, J. W., & Bondi, J. C. (2011). Curriculum development: A guide to practice. (8th ed., p. 12). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.


This is the link to see the plaque outside the original school.




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