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From its founding in 1792, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, compared with the states north of the Ohio River, followed a typically southern style of education. Before the Civil War a slave oligarchy controlled the political destiny of the state. After the Civil War, ironically because two-thirds of Kentuckians who fought in that war were on the Union side, the state became even more southern in many ways. Racism and segregation prevailed until the mid-1950s when the state began making rapid and successful strides to integrate its public and private schools. Equity and equality have always been stumbling blocks for education in Kentucky. From the state’s founding if you came from a middle class family your chances of getting a creditable education in Kentucky have been good. However, if you came from a poor family, a rural area, particularly in eastern Kentucky, or were female or African-American, your chances were considerably diminished. These problems appear to have abated in more recent years. More progress will be made, but only if funding by state government exceeds national averages, allowing the state to reach parity with those states which are also improving their systems.