Although the general assembly created a public school fund in 1796, no use was made of it until 1817 and 1818, when $1,000 was allocated to each county for the education of poor children. In 1829 the legislature passed “An Act for the Establishment of Free Schools.” Under the terms of the act, Delaware was divided into school districts, which were empowered to raise funds that would be matched, up to $300, by state funds. However, no district was compelled to raise money or to open a school.Delaware now has a modern school system. The seven members of the state board of education are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. Six of the members serve six year terms; the seventh serves at the pleasure of the governor. The state secretary of education is appointed by the governor, approved by the state senate, and serves at the pleasure of the governor. School attendance in Delaware is compulsory for all children from the ages of 5 to 16. Some 22 percent of the state’s children attend private schools.
In the 2004–2005 school year Delaware spent $12,534 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, 87.4 percent had a high school diploma, compared to an average of 84.5 percent for the nation as a whole.
The first state institution of higher education, Newark College (now the University of Delaware, at Newark) was founded in 1833. In 2006–2007 Delaware had 5 public and 5 private institutions of higher education. Among the most notable of these schools, besides the University of Delaware, were Delaware State University and Wesley College, both in Dover; Goldey-Beacom College and Widener University School of Law, both in Wilmington; and Wilmington College, in New Castle.
Delaware had 21 public tax-supported libraries in 2004. Each year libraries in the state circulate an average of 6.4 books for every resident. The Wilmington Institute Library, which dates from the 18th century, is the oldest library in Delaware. The largest library in the state is the University of Delaware’s library, with about 2.4 million volumes, including 2,000 volumes on the public and private life of Abraham Lincoln. Outstanding libraries devoted to the history of Delaware include the Delaware Public Archives, in Dover, and the library of the Historical Society of Delaware, in Wilmington. The Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation, in Greenville, has a noted collection on American economic history.
Located on the former country estate of Henry Francis du Pont, the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library in Winterthur has exhibits of furniture and household goods of the period from 1640 to 1840. The museum is open to the public for guided tours. Other important museums include the museum of the Historical Society and the Delaware Art Museum, both in Wilmington; the Delaware State Museums, in Dover; and the Delaware Museum of Natural History, in Wilmington. The Hagley Museum, in Wilmington, is a museum of American industrial history. The Zwaanendael Museum, in Lewes, was built by the state in 1931 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Dutch settlement in 1631.
It is believed that the first newspaper in the state was the Wilmington Courant, which was published for six months in 1762. The oldest continuously published newspaper is the Delaware Gazette, which continues today as the Wilmington News Journal. One of Delaware’s most notable publications was the former weekly newspaper entitled The Blue Hen’s Chicken. It was published and edited in the mid-19th century by Francis Vincent, who used the newspaper to advocate programs of civil rights, labor reform, and public service. There are 2 daily newspapers published in the state. The Wilmington News Journal, which is the state’s largest newspaper in circulation, has daily statewide circulation. The Delaware State News is published daily in Dover. Delaware has 9 AM and 12 FM radio stations. Several cable television systems operate in the state, and WHYY, a publicly supported educational television station, maintains studios in Wilmington and Philadelphia. The state’s first radio station, WDEL, in Wilmington, began operations in 1922. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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