Primary and secondary education
Texas has over 1,000 school districts, ranging in size from the gigantic Houston Independent School District to the 13-student Divide Independent School District in rural south Texas. All but one of the school districts in Texas are separate from any form of municipal government, hence they are called "independent school districts", or "ISD" for short. School districts may (and often do) cross city and county boundaries. School districts have the power to tax their residents and to use eminent domain. The sole exception to this rule is Stafford Municipal School District, which serves all of the city of Stafford.
The public school systems are administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The TEA is divided into twenty Educational Service Center "regions" that serve the local school districts.
Especially in the metropolitan areas, Texas also has numerous private schools of all types (non-sectarian, Catholic, and Protestant). The TEA has no authority over private school operations; private schools may or may not be accredited, and achievement tests are not required for private school graduating seniors. Many private schools will obtain accreditation and perform achievement tests as a means of encouraging future parents that the school is genuinely interested in educational performance.
It is generally considered to be among the least restrictive states in which to home school. Neither TEA nor the local school district has authority to regulate home school activities; state law only requires that the curriculum 1) must teach "reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship" (the latter interpreted to mean a course in civics) and 2) must be taught in a bona fide manner. There are no minimum number of days in a year, or hours in a day, that must be met, and achievement tests are not required for home school graduating seniors. The validity of home schooling was challenged in Texas, but a landmark case, Leeper v. Arlington ISD, ruled that home schooling was legal and that the state had little or no authority to regulate the practice.
Colleges and universities
The University of Texas System (UT), established by the Texas Constitution in 1876, consists of nine academic universities and six health institutions. UT System institutions enrolled a total of 182,752 students in fall 2004 making it one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation. In 2004, the University of Texas at Austin, which is the largest institution in the UT System and in the state of Texas, maintained an enrollment of 50,377 students. The University of Texas at Austin was once the largest institution in the United States, but it is now one of the top three largest by population. Seven doctoral programs at UT Austin rank in the top 10 in the nation and 22 degree programs rank in the top 25, according to a comprehensive study of the quality of graduate schools conducted by the United States National Research Council. Four of the seven medical schools of Texas are within the University of Texas System. In 2004, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas was ranked the 12th highest ranking medical school in the United States, with four of Texas's 11 Nobel laureates.
The Texas A&M University System, established by the 1871 Texas legislature, is the second largest state university system of higher learning in Texas. Its flagship institution, Texas A&M University located in College Station, opened in 1876 and is the state's oldest public institution of higher education. Funded research generally exceeds that of all other Texas universities including UT Austin, and Texas A&M ranks among the top ten national universities in research. It is the second largest university in the state of Texas and also one of the top 10 largest schools in the nation. The University of Texas's rivalry with Texas A&M dates back to the late 19th century.
The University of Houston System is the largest urban state system of higher education in the Gulf Coast, which has four universities with three located in Houston. Its flagship institution is the University of Houston (UH), which is the only doctoral degree granting extensive research institution in Houston and is the third largest in the state of Texas with an enrollment of over 36,000. The interdisciplinary research conducted at UH focuses on such areas as superconductivity, space commercialization, biomedical engineering, economics, education, petroleum exploration and management. UH is also home to over 40 research centers and institutes. Amongst the University of Houston's colleges is the University of Houston Law Center. The UH Law Center's Health Law and Policy Institute is ranked number one in the nation while the Intellectual Property Law Program is ranked fifth, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Houston is also the location of Rice University, which boasts one of the largest financial endowments of any university in the world. The small undergraduate student body has one of the highest percentages of National Merit Scholarship winners in the United States. Rice University maintains a variety of research facilities and laboratories. Rice is also associated with the Houston Area Research Center, a consortium supported by Rice, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston.
Another liberal arts college in Houston is the University of St. Thomas. It was founded by the Basilian Order in 1947 as a Roman Catholic university. Former UST president Archbishop J. Michael Miller currently serves in the Roman Curia as the prefect of Catholic universities throughout the world. The campus is also home to some major historic buildings, such as the Link-Lee Mansion (once the largest house in Texas) and Hughes House (the childhood home of Howard Hughes).
Further, Houston is home to Texas Southern University, the first historically black college and university to house a law school; it was also the first state-supported institution in the city of Houston. Over the years, the university's educational facilities and programs expanded, and many of its graduates began to achieve local, regional, and national recognition for their influence in politics, education, business, technology, medicine, and the arts. Its pioneering spirit continues today.
The University of North Texas System, has three schools in the North Texas region, all of which are in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The flagship institution is the University of North Texas (UNT) located in Denton. UNT, considered one of the top music schools in the nation, is the largest in the region and forth largest in the state with an enrollment of over 34,500. The fields taught at UNT focus on such areas as business management, education, engineering, hospitality, music and science. The UNT system also oversees the University of North Texas at Dallas, the only university located in the City limits of Dallas, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, the only college in Texas that specalizes in osteopathic medicine.
Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is also the home to several other universities including three UT System institutions, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Texas Women's University, in Denton, is the largest state-supported university for women in the United States. In additton traditional 4-year schools, four community college districts have a combined total population of almost 150,000 students. The Metroplex is home several private universities such as Southern Methodist University, which has the Metroplex's largest law school, University of Dallas, and Texas Christian University. For more information see: List of Dallas-Fort Worth area colleges and universities
San Antonio is home to many colleges and universities, such as The University of Texas at San Antonio, the second-largest institution of the University of Texas System, which is expanding to become a research university. Other universities in the city are the University of Texas Health Science Center, Trinity University, St. Mary's University, University of the Incarnate Word, and Our Lady of the Lake University.
Texas Tech University in Lubbock serves as the largest educational institution in West Texas. It was founded in 1923 and has a current enrollment of over 29,000 including undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral students. In addition to Lubbock, Texas Tech has Texas campuses in Abilene, Amarillo, Fredericksburg, Highland Lakes, and Junction. It has international campuses in Quedlinburg, Germany and Seville, Spain.
The Texas Tech University System consists of Texas Tech University's eight campuses and Angelo State University in San Angelo. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centers, found in Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock and Odessa, Texas, are also part of the Texas Tech University System.
Baylor University, chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas, is the oldest university in Texas operating under its original charter. It purports to be the largest Baptist university in the world, having an enrollment of over 14,000 students. Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools. The 735-acre campus is located just southeast of downtown Waco, roughly bounded by Interstate 35, Speight Avenue, Eighth Street and the Brazos River.
Other major public universities in Texas include Texas State University-San Marcos (formerly Southwest Texas State University).
Top 15 Texas universities by Enrollment
|Top 15 as of Fall 2006|
|1||University of Texas at Austin||Austin||49,697|
|2||Texas A&M University||College Station||45,143|
|3||University of Houston||Houston||34,334|
|4||University of North Texas||Denton||33,500|
|5||University of Texas at San Antonio||San Antonio||28,534|
|6||Texas State University||San Marcos||28,132|
|7||Texas Tech University||Lubbock||27,996|
|8||University of Texas at Arlington||Arlington||25,297|
|9||University of Texas at El Paso||El Paso||19,842|
|10||University of Texas–Pan American||Edinburg||17,337|
|11||Sam Houston State University||Huntsville||16,445|
|12||University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College||Brownsville||15,697|
|13||University of Texas at Dallas||Dallas||14,536|
|15||University of Houston–Downtown||Houston||11,449|
Top 12 Texas universities by Research and Development expenditures
|Institution||R&D Expenditures, FY 2005||ranking|
|Baylor College of Medicine||$442.7 million||1|
|Texas A&M University||$434.9 million||2|
|UT Austin||$422.9 million||3|
|UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center||$341.9 million||4|
|UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas||$320.8 million||5|
|UT Health Science Center at Houston||$156.5 million||6|
|University of Houston||$81.5 million||9|
|Texas A&M Health Science Center||$70.7 million||10|
|Rice University||$63.6 million||11|
|Texas Tech University||$48.5 million||12|
Top Texas universities by Nobel Laureate affiliation
Texan universities ranked according to their number of Nobel laureate affiliations are:
- University of Texas at Austin: 9
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas: 5
- Texas A&M University: 4
- Rice University: 3
- University of Texas at Dallas: 3
- The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: 2
- Baylor College of Medicine: 2
- Southern Methodist University: 1
- University of Houston: 1
- ^ "Texas Home School Coalition FAQ". http://www.thsc.org/FAQ/default.asp. Retrieved 2006-04-29.
- ^ The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas list of Texas Nobel Laureates
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- ^ http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/pdf/1211.pdf
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