In 1900s, the polity of unitary monarchy in China was forced to change to a more modern style by external interferences and internal crises, which entailed fundamental reforms in education. There are considerable studies focusing on reforms of educational system in late imperial China, in which the issue concerning the 1904 Decree replacing the 1902 Decree drew many scholarly attentions. It is widely accepted that the two imperial educational systems resemble each other; it is attributed commonly the failure of the 1902 Decree to its structural dysfunctions and fractional struggles at the Qing court. However, there is no concern with the ideological disconformity between the 1902 Decree and the New Policy of 1901. Based on original policy documents and other relevant sources, this study compares the two decrees by examining the political propositions of officials who drafted the regulations, differences in curricula and prescriptive textbooks, and their potential distinct influences on constitutionalism reform in late imperial China. The study argues that the failure of the 1902 Decree is twofold. First, its drafters consisted of people who were reform-minded and in favor of the radical democratic movement in 1898, which incurred disaffections at court and was discrepant to the autocratic monarchy that the ruling circle tried to maintain. Second, the 1902 Decree de-emphasized Chinese traditional learning and downplayed the scriptural Confucianism (Neo-Confucianism), which would undermine the court’s governance ideologically. Therefore, the ideological discrepancy between the reform-minded literati and the ruling circle mainly lead to the failure of the 1902 Educational System.