The first school in the Louisiana region was founded in 1725 in New Orleans by a Roman Catholic priest. Subsequently a number of private and parochial schools were established. In the 1770s Spaniards tried to create a public school system but failed. The first free public school system, supported jointly by city and state, was established at New Orleans in 1841, and a statewide public school system was established in the later 1840s.
Until the 1960s black and white school children were segregated for the most part. In 1960 token integration was enforced in two New Orleans public primary schools. Roman Catholic schools were desegregated in 1962. By 1970, all school districts were under court order to desegregate, and compliance was generally effective. Currently some schools continue to remain generally one-race, a result of district or neighborhood demographics.
School attendance in Louisiana is compulsory for all children from 7 to 18 years of age. Some 19 percent of the children attend parochial and other private schools; non-public school enrollment is particularly high in the New Orleans area.
In the 2004–2005 school year Louisiana spent $8,826 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 14.7 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5). Of those older than 25 years of age in the state in 2007, 79.9 percent had a high school diploma, compared to the national average of 84.5 percent.
The College of Orleans, the first institution of higher learning in Louisiana, lasted little more than a decade after opening in 1811 in New Orleans. Centenary College of Louisiana opened in 1825 in Jackson as the College of Louisiana; it was purchased by the Methodist Church in 1840 and was moved to Shreveport in 1907.
Louisiana’s largest institution of higher education is the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, which was opened in 1860 at Alexandria as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning. Moved to Baton Rouge in 1869, it became Louisiana State University in 1870 and in 1877 was united with Louisiana State Agricultural and Mechanical College. It now has branch campuses at Alexandria, Eunice, and Shreveport. Noted private universities include Tulane University, in New Orleans, and Loyola University-New Orleans, the latter a Roman Catholic institution. In 2006–2007 Louisiana had 55 public and 31 private institutions of higher education. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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