1845 – Wisconsin Approves Free Schools

On this date, under the leadership of Michael Frank, Wisconsin adopted "free" education for its residents. Frank’s plan narrowly passed the legislature by a vote of 90 to 79. Frank’s motivation for free education in Wisconsin was partially inspired by a similar campaign, promoted by Horace Mann in Massachusetts. On June 16, 1845 the . It was one of only three free schools in the country, outside the New England states. By August 1845, Wisconsin had five free schools in operation. [Source: , Fred L. Holmes, pg 78-92]