Public education in the U.S. traces its birth to very early in the Colonial era. On this date in 1647, the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorities ordered that every township with 50 or more householders assign at least one person to teach children to read and write. The teachers would be paid by the children’s parents or the general village population. Towns of 100 or more householders were required to establish schools with headmasters and instruction to prepare children for still higher education. Educating the young has been a growing priority for state and local governments ever since. State and local governments together spend a combined $1.2 trillion on education annually. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <www.census.gov>.