There were a few Catholic mission schools among the Native Americans when Father Gabriel Richard was sent to Detroit in 1798. Considered the state’s first educator, he soon organized local schools. He was also largely responsible for establishing the nation’s first state university in 1817. This university, curiously named the Catholepistemiad, or institution of universal knowledge, later developed into the University of Michigan, which now has three campuses. Michigan was the first state to establish a modern public education system headed by a superintendent of public instruction with strong supervisory powers. It was the first state to establish, in the landmark Kalamazoo Case decided by the state supreme court in 1874, that high schools were part of the school system. In 1855 Michigan was the first state to create by law an agricultural college, opening for students in East Lansing in 1857.
In 1862 the institution became the first land grant college in the United States, emphasizing agriculture and applied science. Now Michigan State University, it is known for research in scientific agriculture and medicine.
Public schools are supported by local school districts and by state funds. Attendance is compulsory for children from the ages of 6 to 16. Some 9 percent of the state’s children attend private schools. In the 2004–2005 school year Michigan spent $10,998 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 17.5 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5). Of those older than 25 years of age in the state in 2007, 87.4 had a high school diploma, compared to the national norm of 84.5.
In 2006–2007 Michigan had 45 public and 60 private institutions of higher learning. In addition to Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, other schools in the state include Wayne State University and the University of Detroit Mercy, in Detroit; Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo; Hope College, in Holland; Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti; Central Michigan University, in Mount Pleasant; Northern Michigan University, in Marquette; Michigan Technological University, in Houghton; and Oakland University, in Rochester. "Michigan" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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