The Office of County Superintendent of Schools was established in 1887 to provide leadership for improving public education. In 1911, the Rural High School Law established county boards of education and permitted creation of rural high schools and consolidation of common school districts. This law, together with the compulsory school attendance law in 1915 and authorization of state purchase of textbooks in 1917, pushed forward expansion of rural aid to schools and helped improve the education provided to children of Texas farming and ranching families. By the 1940s and 1950s, when improvement in transportation and a decreasing rural population brought annexation and consolidation, the need for a county superintendent of schools declined. A state law in 1978 abolished, with a few exceptions, the county office of superintendent and board of trustees in all counties without common or rural school districts.