If you can read this post, Texans, thank Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas.
He championed the Education Act, passed on Jan. 26, 1839, which set the foundation for Texas public schools. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas later designated the date as Mirabeau B. Lamar Day.
Though the 1836 Texas Constitution called for "a general system of education," nothing happened until the Georgia-born Lamar was elected in late 1838 on a vow to get Texas schools up and running.
Texas was cash-strapped but land rich, so Lamar decided to use public domain lands (and their value) to endow education. Each county got three leagues (more than 13,000 acres each) for public schools, and 50 leagues were designated to fund higher education in the new republic.
County schools had received more than 4 million acres of land by the time the State of Texas switched to a different school funding mechanism.