Education in colonial Maine was slow in developing. For many years the only formal education available to rural children was the so-called moving school, which traveled from town to town, spending only a few weeks in each locality. In 1828 the state established a public fund to support education. Money was raised by selling timber from public lands. The interest from this fund continues to help support public schools in Maine, but most of the funds for public schools come from local and state taxes.
In 1957 the state enacted a law offering financial assistance to local schools wishing to consolidate with other nearby schools in what are called “school administrative districts.”
Since that time most rural schools, especially small high schools, have been replaced by centrally located schools that serve several communities.
Schools in most Maine towns and cities, which are not part of school administrative districts, have popularly elected school boards. Each board is under the administrative guidance of a superintendent of schools, who serves one or more cities or towns. The department of education, headed by a nine-member board of education, is responsible for the administration of state laws relating to education and teacher certification and school construction standards.
Education is compulsory for children aged 7 to 17. Some 9 percent of Maine’s children attend private schools.
In the 2004–2005 school year Maine spent $11,877 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,910. There were 11.5 students for every teacher, one of the smallest class sizes in the nation. Of those older than 25 years of age in the state, 89 percent had a high school diploma, compared to the national norm of 85 percent.
In 1968 all state degree-granting institutions except the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine were consolidated into the University of Maine system. In 2006–2007 Maine had 15 public and 15 private institutions of higher education.
Institutions included the University of Maine, in Orono; the University of Southern Maine, in Portland; Bates College, in Lewiston; Bowdoin College, in Brunswick; Colby College, in Waterville; and Husson College, in Bangor. An important center for research in biology is the Jackson Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor. "Maine" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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