Harris County Department of Education
6300 Irvington Blvd. at 800 Caplin
Houston , 77022
Marker faces away from the outside fence and can only be properly viewed from the inside. Visitors can park on the surface lot across from Reagan Building. Tell the guard that you are a visitor.
Directions: From 610 Loop, north on Irvington, two blocks to Caplin, turn right. The marker is in the atrium area between Dept. of Education Administration building and the parking garage on Caplin Street. Look for an iron fence with a large star on the gate about 50 yards east of Irvington
Key Time Period: 1877 - 1892 Post-Reconstruction
Marker Text: The Texas Declaration of Independence specifically noted the lack of a public education system as one compelling reason for establishing a separate republic. Later, as a result, Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar led the Congress in setting aside land in each county to support primary schools and colleges.
As Texas continued to develop during the 19th century, additional legislation began to define a cohesive educational system. By November 1856, Harris County funded schooling for indigent children; within two years, the county also used public monies for teacher examinations. During the next decades, the state created the office of the State Superintendent of Schools, allowing each county to establish the office of County Superintendent.
Early Harris County schools were served by district and community systems. In 1889, the county created its Department of Education, and all schools became part of its jurisdiction. B. L. James became the first County Superintendent, and he oversaw more than 50 Common School Districts. These districts together served approximately 900 students. In the 1920s, once a district's enrollment reached 500, it could attain independent status.
As the Texas school district system changed throughout the 20th century, services of the Harris County Department of Education evolved. In 1978, the Legislature abolished state funding for county school trustees, and by 2003 only two such entities fully functioned -- in Harris and Dallas counties -- existing as non-profit support organizations. Today, the Harris County Department of Education supports students, teachers, administrators, school boards and public schools with a wide range of programs. (2005)
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 453 Q
GPS Coordinates: 29 48.939, 95 21.665
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 13042