A sod schoolhouse was erected in Bon Homme County in 1860, and the first permanent schoolhouse in the region was built in Vermillion in the winter of 1864-1865. In 1862 the first legislature of the Dakota Territory passed a law establishing a school code. James S. Foster, the first territorial superintendent of public instruction, established a school system in 1864 based on that of New England.
School attendance is compulsory in South Dakota for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. In addition to public schools, there are a number of parochial and other private schools in the state, educating 9 percent of South Dakota’s children.
In the 2004–2005 school year South Dakota spent $8,477 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 per teacher). Of those older than 25 years of age in 2007, 88.2 percent had a high school diploma, while the country as a whole averaged 84.5 percent.
The first college established in South Dakota was Yankton College, which was founded by a Congregationalist group in 1881 and until its closure in 1984 was the oldest institution of higher education in the state. There are 12 public and 12 private institutions of higher education.
South Dakota State University in Brookings is the largest university in the state. The others include the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion; Dakota State University, in Madison; Black Hills State University, in Spearfish; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, in Rapid City; and Northern State University, in Aberdeen. Other significant schools include Huron University, in Huron; Augustana College, in Sioux Falls; National American University, in Rapid City; Mount Marty College, in Yankton; and Dakota Wesleyan University, in Mitchell. "South Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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