The Georgia constitution of 1777 provided for state-supported schools in each county, but no funds were appropriated to implement the plan. In the 1780s a few academies were established with state endowments of land. In the 1830s religious groups founded manual labor schools where students worked to help pay for their education. A system of public education was finally organized in 1872 by Gustavus John Orr, the state school commissioner. State-supported education was limited to elementary schools and the state university until 1912, when high schools were included. In 1949 a foundation program was authorized to expand educational facilities. Some 9 percent of the state’s students attend private schools.
School attendance is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16. The public school system is supervised by the state board of education. There are also numerous private educational institutions in Georgia.
Until the 1960s whites and blacks had to attend separate schools. In 1954, however, the Supreme Court of the United States had outlawed segregation in public schools. After several years of officially-sanctioned resistance, integration of high schools was begun in Atlanta in 1961 and in Athens, Macon, and Savannah in 1964. Integration spread slowly thereafter. In the 2004–2005 school year Georgia spent $9,134 on each student’s education, compared with a national average of $9,910. There were 14.3 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5 students).
Of those older than 25 years of age in the state, 82.9 percent had a high school diploma, compared to the nation’s average of 84.5 percent.
The state university system includes four research universities, two regional universities, many four-year colleges, several junior colleges, agricultural experimental stations, and an agricultural extension service. The University of Georgia, in Athens, is the largest school in the system and the oldest state-chartered university in the United States. The university was incorporated in 1785, although classes were not begun until 1801. Other major state-supported schools include Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta; Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta; Georgia State University, in Atlanta; and Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro.
Georgia also has a number of distinguished private colleges and universities. Wesleyan College in Macon, founded in 1836, is the world’s oldest chartered women’s college. Atlanta University Center, a consortium of historically black institutions, is comprised of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morris Brown College, Spelman College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center, all in Atlanta. Other private colleges and universities in Georgia include Emory University, in Atlanta; Mercer University, in Macon; and Oglethorpe University, in Atlanta. In 2006–2007 Georgia had 74 public and 60 private institutions of higher learning. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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