First Education Sec. Has Passed Away

Shirley Hufstedler, our nation’s first education secretary, has died. She was 90.

Hufstedler was one of the first women to graduate from Stanford Law School, and was appointed to the California Court of Appeals as an associate justice in 1966. She was soon appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as the judge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was regarded highly by many throughout her judgeship, and was widely considered the favorite to be the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court if a vacancy ever came about; unfortunately none did.

In 1979, Hufstedler was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to be education secretary; her confirmation was approved by the U.S. Senate 81 to 2. Although she remained in the position for only two years, she played an integral role in the creation of what we know as today’s U.S. Department of Education, creating an office of 17,000 employees with a $14 billion budget. Her career as secretary is known for restoring programs for the disabled and disadvantaged.

The National Association for Music Education wishes the Hufstedler family our condolences and thanks Mrs. Hufstedler for her fine work in serving our nation’s students.

Further reading:

Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, April 4, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (