Massachusetts - Education

Education

Harvard University and MIT are both widely regarded as in the top handful of universities worldwide for academic research in a myriad of disciplines.

Massachusetts was the first state to require municipalities to appoint a teacher or establish a grammar school with the passage of the Massachusetts Education Law of 1647, and 19th century reforms pushed by Horace Mann, founder of Westfield State University, laid much of the groundwork for contemporary universal public education. Massachusetts is home to the country's oldest public elementary school (The Mather School, founded in 1639), oldest high school (Boston Latin School, founded in 1635), oldest boarding school (The Governor's Academy, founded in 1763), oldest college (Harvard University, founded in 1636) and oldest women's college (Mount Holyoke College, founded in 1837).

In 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory school attendance laws. The per-student public expenditure for elementary and secondary schools (kindergarten through grade 12) was fifth in the nation in 2004, at $11,681. In 2007, Massachusetts scored highest of all the states in math on the National Assessments of Educational Progress.

Massachusetts is home to 121 institutions of higher education. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both located in Cambridge, consistently rank among the world's best universities. In addition to Harvard and MIT, several other Massachusetts universities consistently rank in the top 40 at the national level in the widely cited rankings of U.S. News and World Report: Tufts University (#29 for 2012), Boston College (#31), and Brandeis University (also #31).

Among liberal arts colleges, three of the top handful in the nation are within the state of Massachusetts: Williams College (#1 in the liberal arts ranking of USNWR), Amherst College (#2), and Wellesley College (#6). Others regularly placing in the top 40 are Smith College (#19), College of the Holy Cross (#29), and Mount Holyoke College (also #29). According to this "granddaddy of the college rankings", roughly five (12.5%) of the top 40 research universities and six (15%) of the top 40 liberal arts colleges reside in this state that contains only 2% of the U.S. population.

The public University of Massachusetts (nicknamed UMass) features five campuses in the state, with its flagship campus in Amherst that enrolls over 25,000 students.

Further information: List of colleges and universities in Massachusetts, List of engineering schools in Massachusetts, and List of high schools in Massachusetts

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