Education in North Carolina

Elementary and secondary education
Elementary and secondary public schools are overseen by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction is the secretary of the North Carolina State Board of Education, but the board, rather than the superintendent, holds most of the legal authority for making public education policy. In 2009, the board's chairman also became the "chief executive officer" for the state's school system. North Carolina has 115 public school systems, each of which is overseen by a local school board. A county may have one or more systems within it. The largest school systems in North Carolina are the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Wake County Public School System, Guilford County Schools, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, and Cumberland County Schools. In total there are 2,338 public schools in the state, including 93 charter schools.

Colleges and universities
In 1795, North Carolina opened the first public university in the United States—the University of North Carolina (currently named the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). More than 200 years later, the University of North Carolina system encompasses 17 public universities including UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, Western Carolina University, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC Wilmington, UNC School of the Arts, and Appalachian State University. The system also supports several well-known historically African-American colleges and universities such as North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University, Elizabeth City State University, and Fayetteville State University. Along with its public universities, North Carolina has 58 public community colleges in its community college system.

North Carolina is also home to many well-known private colleges and universities including: Duke University, Wake Forest University, Davidson College, Elon University, Guilford College, the first coeducational institution of higher learning in the South, Salem College, the first school for young women in the South, Shaw University, the first historically black college or university in the South, John Wesley College (North Carolina), the oldest undergraduate theological education institution in North Carolina, Campbell University and High Point University.

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