Preceding Roland Fryer by more than 70 years, the New York City school board voted in 1936 to create “a ‘laboratory’ to analyze teaching methods and curricula,” according to a New York Times article from that year. Unlike Fryer’s Educational Innovation Lab, which will be funded by the Broad Foundation and other philanthropic organizations, the 1936 lab was part of a reorganization of the Board of Ed’s Bureau of Reference, Research, and Statistics. And while Fryer’s effort will cost $44 million, the board member offering the 1936 resolution requested only $156,000 — about $2.3 million in 2007 dollars.

The laboratory was to focus on experimenting with new teaching methods and promoting the sharing of successful strategies, though no details were given as to what new methods were being tested. Fryer intends to start out by testing motivational strategies like those he piloted in New York City’s Million Motivation Campaign, now discontinued for lack of funding.

More on the 1936 ed innovation lab after the jump.