Indiana’s state constitution of 1816 was the first in the United States to provide for a system of free public schools from the elementary to the university level. However, such a plan proved far too optimistic for a pioneer society. Most of the voters at that time opposed taxation for education, which meant that no funding was available to establish such a system. In the late 1840s and early 1850s the need for free tax-supported schools in Indiana was strongly urged by Caleb Mills, a prominent Indianan educator, and in 1851 his recommendations were incorporated in a new state constitution. Although the development of a public school system was delayed by legal complications within the state and by the American Civil War (1861-1865), many public elementary schools were in use by 1870. School attendance in Indiana is compulsory for all children between the ages of 7 and 18. However, students of age 16 and 17 may leave high school if they submit to an exit interview and have written parental approval.
Today most children in Indiana attend public schools, but 11 percent attend private and parochial schools. In the 2004–2005 school year Indiana spent $10,266 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 17.1 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.5 students per teacher). Of those older than 25 years, 85.8 percent had a high school diploma, compared to an average for the United States of 84.5 percent.
About one-half of all college students in Indiana are enrolled in state-supported four-year schools of higher education. The largest institution is Indiana University, with its main campus in Bloomington.
It was chartered as Indiana Seminary in 1820. Purdue University, with its main campus in West Lafayette, was chartered as a land-grant college in 1865. The three other state universities are Indiana State University, in Terre Haute; Ball State University, in Muncie; and the University of Southern Indiana, in Evansville.
Many of the private colleges and universities in Indiana are affiliated with religious groups. The University of Notre Dame is an outstanding Roman Catholic school. Schools affiliated with Protestant denominations are DePauw University, in Greencastle; Earlham College, in Richmond; and Valparaiso University, in Valparaiso. Another notable institution is Butler University, located in Indianapolis. In 2006–2007 Indiana had 29 public and 76 private post-secondary educational institutions. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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