The Frame of Government drawn up by William Penn for the province of Pennsylvania in 1682 stipulated that the children of the province be instructed in reading, writing, and in “some useful trade or skill.” For more than 150 years, however, education remained primarily the responsibility of churches and private individuals. In 1834, the Free School Act provided for a statewide system of free elementary schools and for school directors, districts, and taxes. Since 1895, school attendance has been compulsory. At present all children from the ages of 8 to 17 are required to attend. Some 18 percent of Pennsylvania’s children attend private schools.
In the 2004–2005 school year Pennsylvania spent $11,729 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 15.2 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5). Of those older than 25 years of age in the state in 2007, 86.8 percent had a high school diploma. The national norm was 84.5 percent.
In 2006–2007 Pennsylvania had 65 public and 198 private institutions of higher learning. The Pennsylvania State University in University Park is a land-grant university only partly supported by state funds. Other state-related universities include the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is made up of 14 universities that are fully owned by the state.
The University of Pennsylvania grew out of a charity school founded in Philadelphia in 1740. It is a private institution that receives some state support. In 1765 it opened the first medical college in the United States and thus became the nation’s first university. The University of Pittsburgh grew out of the Pittsburgh Academy, chartered in 1787. It became a university in 1819. Other leading schools include La Salle University and Drexel University, in Philadelphia; Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh; Bucknell University, in Lewisburg; Dickinson College, in Carlisle; Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr; Franklin and Marshall College, in Lancaster; Moravian College and Lehigh University, in Bethlehem; Albright College, in Reading; Arcadia University, in Glenside; Gettysburg College, in Gettysburg; Grove City College, in Grove City; Juniata College, in Huntingdon; Lincoln University, in Lincoln University; Ursinus College, in Collegeville; Widener University, in Chester; Haverford College, in Haverford; Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore; Villanova University, in Villanova; and Washington & Jefferson College, in Washington.
Schools of the arts include the Moore College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, and the Curtis Institute of Music, all in Philadelphia. "Pennsylvania" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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