Although the president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, urged the Texas congress to establish public schools in 1838, public education was little developed until the annexation of Texas to the United States. Private schools, known as Cornfield schools, provided teachers who rotated among the plantations and communities during the 1840s and 1850s.
The public educational system was launched by a law passed in 1854. Then, under the constitution of 1876, a state board of education was created and part of the revenue raised from taxation and from the sale of public lands was set aside to support public education. The discovery of oil on the lands that were earmarked for the support of schools and colleges subsequently increased the value of the Permanent School Fund and the University Endowment Fund.
A commissioner of education, who is appointed by the governor, and elected members of the state board of education oversee the public education system of Texas. Some school districts are directly responsible to this agency, and others are supervised by locally elected county superintendents.
Texas has a comprehensive system of colleges and universities. The oldest institution of higher education in Texas is Southwestern University, in Georgetown, founded in 1840. Other notable schools include Baylor University, in Waco; Rice University, University of Houston, and Texas Southern University, all in Houston; Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth; and Southern Methodist University, in Dallas. The Texas A&M University System includes Texas A&M University, in College Station, with a branch in Galveston.
The University of Texas has principal campuses in Arlington, Austin, Brownsville, Dallas (in Richardson), Edinburg (University of Texas-Pan American), El Paso, Odessa (University of Texas of the Permian Basin), San Antonio, and Tyler. Lamar University, in Beaumont; University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, in Denton; Sam Houston State University, in Huntsville; Texas State University, in San Marcos; Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches; and Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, are also highly regarded public universities. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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