In early colonial times, schools in Maryland were private institutions attended primarily by the sons of wealthy landowners. The first publicly supported school in the colony, King William’s School was established at Annapolis in 1696.
In 1826 a state law was enacted providing for public schools throughout the state, and the first of these was opened in 1829 in Baltimore. In 1839 Baltimore also became the site of the first U.S. public high school to be established south of the Mason-Dixon line. An effective statewide system of free public education, however, was created only after the establishment of a state board of education and the appointment of a state superintendent of public instruction in 1864.
School attendance is now compulsory in Maryland for children from the ages of 5 to 16. Some 17 percent of the children in the state attend private schools.
In the 2004–2005 school year Maryland spent $11,490 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 14.6 students for every teacher, compared to a national average of 15.5. Of those older than 25 years of age in the state, 87 percent had a high school diploma, while the national average was 85 percent.
Maryland’s oldest-existing institution of higher learning and the first college that was established is Washington College. It was established at Chestertown in 1782 and named for George Washington, who headed the list of contributors and served on the governing board.
CSt. John's College in Annapolis, chartered two years later, included the old King William’s School. The college is now known for its nonelective academic program that stresses the study of great works. The renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was opened in 1876. Among the other noted private colleges are Goucher College in Towson, Hood College in Frederick, and Loyola College in Maryland in Baltimore. The University of Maryland, College Park is the largest institution of higher learning in Maryland and the flagship of the state-administered University System of Maryland. In addition, there are state colleges and universities in Baltimore, Bowie, Frostburg, Saint Mary’s City, Salisbury, and Towson. Morgan State University in Baltimore has a tradition of serving the black community.
All of the Maryland public four-year colleges and universities, except St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Morgan State University, are now part of the University System of Maryland. Annapolis is the home of the United States Naval Academy. Among the various schools of art in the region is the renowned Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore. In 2006–2007 Maryland had 29 public and 29 private institutions of higher learning. "Maryland" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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