Nebraska’s first schools were conducted by missionaries for Native Americans. By 1820, Fort Atkinson had a school, and in 1849, Bellevue opened its first school. In 1855 the territorial legislature passed a free-school law, and it later chartered numerous colleges, of which only the one at Peru is still in operation. Secondary education was largely confined to private schools in the eastern towns of Nebraska until 1875. In 1869 the first state legislature created the University of Nebraska, which opened in 1871. In 1872 the first church-supported college, Doane College, was established at Crete (Kríti). School attendance in Nebraska is compulsory for all children between ages 6 and 18.
The present school system is supervised by the state Department of Education, which consists of an elected eight-member board and a commissioner appointed by the board. Nebraska’s total of 681 districts in 1997 was the fifth highest in the nation, behind only Texas, California, Illinois, and New York. Many of these are rural districts, some still with one-room schools. Private schools enroll 13 percent of the state’s children.
In the 2004–2005 school year Nebraska spent $10,264 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 13.4 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5 students). Of those older than 25 years of age in 2007, 89.6 percent had a high school diploma, while the country as a whole averaged 84.5 percent.
Nebraska had 15 public and 27 private institutions of higher learning in 2006–2007. Among the most notable of these schools were the University of Nebraska with campuses in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney; Peru State College, in Peru; Creighton University, in Omaha; Hastings College, in Hastings; Nebraska Wesleyan University, in Lincoln; and Wayne State College, in Wayne. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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