Throughout the periods of Spanish colonialism and government under Mexico, education in what is today New Mexico was largely in the hands of religious orders. Although a royal decree provided for a public school system for the territory in 1721, it was not until New Mexico became a United States territory in the 1850s that the first permanent schools were founded. The first public school law was passed in 1891. Educational opportunities are available to all residents throughout the state and at virtually all levels. Navajo educational facilities include primary and secondary schools, a vocational training school, and a community college. Native American schools are generally subsidized by the federal government though some tribes have sought grants and provided their own funds to enhance government educational facilities.
Elementary and secondary public schools are controlled by a 15-member board of education, headed by an appointed superintendent of public instruction. Attendance is compulsory from ages 5 to 18. Some 7 percent of the children attend private schools. In the 2004–2005 school year New Mexico spent $8,448 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 14.9 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5 students per teacher). Of those older than 25 years of age in 2007, 82.3 percent had a high school diploma, while the nation as a whole averaged 84.5 percent.
New Mexico had 28 public and 14 private institutions of higher learning in 2006–2007, a large number considering its relatively small population.
Among the more notable is the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque. The university also has branch campuses in Gallup, Valencia County, and Los Alamos; graduate centers in Los Alamos and Santa Fe; and an education center in Taos. Other public institutions of higher learning are New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces; New Mexico Highlands University, in Las Vegas; Western New Mexico University, in Silver City; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, in Socorro; and Eastern New Mexico University, in Portales. Private institutions include St. John’s College and the College of Santa Fe, both in Santa Fe; and United World College-USA, in Montezuma. "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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