At the turn of the 20th century, North Carolina’s educational system was one of the weakest in the nation. School attendance was not required, and most school-age children did not go to school. Furthermore, there were few professionally trained teachers. Governor Charles B. Aycock, who took office in 1901, began a series of improvements that were continued under subsequent administrations. Schools were built at a rapid rate. The school year, originally four months, was gradually lengthened until, in 1943, it became nine months long. Over the first half of the 20th century many professional schools for training teachers were founded.
School attendance is compulsory for children from the ages of 7 to 16. Private schools enroll 8 percent of the state’s children. In the 2004–2005 school year North Carolina spent $7,901 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 13.8 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5 students per teacher). Of those older than 25 years of age in 2007, 83 percent had a high school diploma, while the national norm was 84.5 percent.
Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina is now a consolidated state institution with 16 constituent campuses. Six campuses, with locations in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh (North Carolina State), and Wilmington, were joined with ten other state institutions by legislation passed in 1971 to create the existing system. In 2006–2007 North Carolina had 75 public and 55 private institutions of higher learning.
Among the many private universities serving the state, the most well-known are Duke University, in Durham; Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem; and Davidson College, in Davidson. Other schools include Bennett College and Guilford College, both in Greensboro; Lenoir-Rhyne College, in Hickory; and Shaw University, in Raleigh. Research Triangle Park—with its apexes focused on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University in Durham, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh—is a unique complex for institutional, governmental, and industrial research that was established in 1959.
A rapidly shifting economy pushed the state to consider a different type of education for residents. Beginning in the late 1950s, state government began funding a variety of post-high school training centers. Known now as the North Carolina Community College System, it has grown to encompass 59 campuses. In 1999-2000 it enrolled approximately one out of every eight adults in the state. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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