The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 44
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
required all municipalities to establish primary schools.12 Two
months later the state legislature placed the primary schools
under the control of local authorities who were charged with
the responsibility of raising the necessary funds.13 This action
keynoted government educational policy during the Mexican
Decree followed decree as state authorities endeavored to prod
local officials into establishing schools. When one law failed to
produce results, another was passed. Whereas earlier decrees
were couched in general terms, later decrees became more and
more detailed in laying down the exact pattern for the proposed
educational system. Some of the suggestions offered were cer-
tainly original, even fantastic. In 1828, for example, Governor
Jose Maria Viesca urged parents to send their children to the
best possible schools. He even suggested that the state should
send five orphans to school in Illinois.' When the Lancasterian
system of education became known in Mexico, state authorities
endeavored to impose the system, full-grown, on Texas.'"
Despite these efforts, however, all attempts at creating a state-
supported system of public education proved ineffective. Though
the decrees demonstrated that state officials recognized the need
for education, the state, chronically without funds, did not im-
plement its decrees with financial assistance. Instead, the finan-
cial burden was placed on local authorities who were in no
position to bear it.
It was not until 1833 that the state, in response to popular
demand, began to make land grants for the support of local
schools.17 Obviously, the mere grant of state lands in a frontier
area was not in itself a panacea for the problems confronting a
12Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas, Article 215, March, 1827, in
H. P N. Gammel, Laws of Texas (io vols.; Austin, 1898), I, 341.
13Decree of Coahuila and Texas, No. 37, June, 1827, in E. C. Barker (ed.),
"Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828-18 2," Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, XXI, 300.
14See Max Berger, "Texas Education Legislation during Mexican Period," Texas
Outlook, Vol. XXIX, no. 8, pp. 30-32 for a more complete treatment of this
"GViesca to Ayuntamiento, July 5, 1828, MS., Bexar Archives.
,sDecree of Coahuila and Texas, No. 92, May 13, 1829, in Gammel, Laws of
Texas, I, 237-240o.
17Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, Numbers 229, 240, and 244, in ibid., I, 323-336.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948, periodical, 1948; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/m1/62/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.