Normal colleges where Texans learned to teach
Oct. 10, 1879 was the first day of classes at Sam Houston Normal Institute, Texas’ third tax-supported college and the first devoted to training teachers. With the end of the post-Civil War occupation and the restoration of popular rule in 1874, Texans finally turned their attention to the long neglected issue of education. Gov. Richard Coke cited the lack of “a sufficient number of educated and trained teachers,” a void the handful of small private institutions of higher learning could not be expected to fill. Nearly everyone agreed on the pressing need for a public college that specialized in teaching teachers to teach, but the problem was how to pay for it.