Here are some one liners...
The Lone Star Education Windfall -- The Texas budget has a surplus so they set aside half of the excess for education.
Bleeding Kansas -- Reverend Beecher sends "Bibles" to Kansas to fight the Missouri Ruffians. The boxes really contain rifles.
In Other News -- Cocaine, Florence Nightingale and Rayon.
The Lone Star Education WindfallThe US federal government has appropriated almost 8 million dollars to settle the Texas debt and any expenses incurred with the recent border treaty with Mexico... meaning paying for the Texas Rangers to patrol the border. For reasons that are complex and difficult to explain about 4 million dollars is left over or about 83 million dollars in today's money. (Nothing to see here. Let's move on.) Texas spends that money on government buildings and pet projects as one might expect. The money is also distributed to counties which use the money to build courthouses and such, but Texas does something that would be unexpected in modern times. It sets aside half of the money for education: community, religious, and even home schooling although they are called "field schools" at this time. Students meet under a tree or in a one room schoolhouse near the fields. There are no public schools as yet, and the state cannot directly tax residents for education. (It's illegal!) Communities organize their own schools and the state reimburses them on a per student basis. Whatever Texas was spending per student in 1854, they almost double it in 1855. The teachers receive the lion's share of the increase, and believe me, no teacher in Texas ever went hungry or could not find a place to sleep. This is all to the state's credit, but by 1860 the state will be deep in debt again. 
Bleeding KansasThe capitol of Kansas is Topeka, no... Lecompton... wait... it's Leavenworth... uh... how about Wyandotte (WHY-en-dot)? Yeah. That's it! (Wyandotte is now part of Kansas City) Well... as you can see the Kansas Territory residents are having problems making a decision. They must decide whether to become a slave state or a free state. The reason for their indecision is because of MASSIVE voter fraud. The people of Missouri have been jumping the border and voting in the Kansas elections. The majority of Kansans are voting to be a free state but the number of fraudulent votes from Missouri is more than the legitimate votes. This has caused the elections to be thrown to the pro-slavery candidates. While the courts have called for a reelections in a few districts it is not enough to offset the massive pro-slavery win. Frankly, the Missouri "Ruffians" have become quite firm in their convictions on slavery.... violently firm. To combat the pro-slavery violence, Reverend Beecher has sent a shipment of Sharps Rifles to Kansas. The shipping crates are labelled as "Beecher's Bibles" so the rifles take on the same name. Reverend Beecher says that rifles are "a greater moral agency than the Bible." (Please note that his sister is Harriet BEECHER Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.) Over all, maybe 1,000 rifles will be shipped. By next year Kansas will be awash in blood.   
In Other News
- Cocaine is isolated from coca leaves. Until now, European scientists could not get enough fresh leaves from South America to isolate the alkaloid.