Education in New York City
Education in New York City is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. The city's public school system, the New York City Department of Education, is the largest in the world, and New York is home to some of the most important libraries, universities, and research centers in the world. The city is particularly known as a global center for research in medicine and the life sciences.
In 2006, New York had the most post-graduate life sciences degrees awarded annually in the United States, 40,000 licensed physicians, and 127 Nobel laureates with roots in local institutions. The city receives the second-highest amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health among all U.S. cities. It also struggles with disparity in its public school system, with some of the best and worst performing public schools in the United States. Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg the city embarked on a major school reform effort.
The New York Public Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system in the country, serves Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Queens is served by the Queens Borough Public Library, the nation's second largest public library system, and Brooklyn Public Library serves Brooklyn. The New York Public Library has several research libraries, including the Main Branch and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
There are about 594,000 university students in New York City attending around 110 universities and colleges. New York State is the nation’s largest importer of college students, according to statistics which show that among freshmen who leave their home states to attend college, more come to New York than any other state, including California. Enrollment in New York State is led by New York City, which is home to more university students than any other city in the United States.
Public higher education is provided by the many campuses of the City University of New York (CUNY) and the State University of New York (SUNY). CUNY is built around the City College of New York, whose own history dates back to the formation of the Free Academy in 1847. Much of CUNY's student body, which represent 145 countries, consists of new immigrants to New York City. CUNY has campuses in all of the five boroughs, with 11 four-year colleges, 6 two-year colleges, a law school, a graduate school, a medical school, an honors college, and a journalism school. A third of college graduates in New York City are CUNY graduates, with the institution enrolling about half of all college students in New York City. The City University's alumni include Jonas Salk, Colin Powell, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
New York also has many nationally important independent universities and colleges, such as (in alphabetical order) Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, Long Island University, Manhattan College, New York Institute of Technology, New York University, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, Pace University, Pratt Institute, St. John's University, The New School, and Yeshiva University. The city has dozens of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions, such as St. Francis College, The Juilliard School and The School of Visual Arts.
Columbia University, an Ivy League university in northwestern Manhattan founded in 1754, is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Barnard College is an independent women's college, one of the original Seven Sisters, affiliated with Columbia. Through a reciprocal agreement, Barnard and Columbia students share classes, housing, and extracurricular activities, and Barnard graduates receive the degree of the University.
New York University (NYU) is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in the United States.
The New School, located mostly in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, is a private multidisciplinary university housing eight specialized colleges, including the internationally recognized art school, Parsons The New School for Design. Founded in 1919 as The New School for Social Research, the university established itself as a modern free school where adult students could "seek an unbiased understanding of the existing order, its genesis, growth and present working."
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, was founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper to provide tuition-free education in engineering, architecture and the fine arts. For 150 years, the College has admitted students based on merit alone and provided each with a full-tuition scholarship.
Three of the United States' leading Roman Catholic colleges are in New York City. The Jesuit-associated Fordham University, with campuses in Manhattan and the Bronx, was the first Catholic university in the Northeast, founded in 1841. St. John's University was founded by the Vincentian Fathers in 1870 and now has campuses in Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island; it is the country's largest Catholic university (over 20,000 graduate and undergraduate students). Manhattan College, founded in 1853 by the De La Salle Brothers and well known for its Engineering program, is located the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx and offers students a liberal arts education, Division I athletics, and graduate degree options in Business, Education, and Engineering.
New York Law School is a private law school in lower Manhattan and is one of the oldest independent law schools in the United States.
The New York Academy of Sciences is a society of some 20,000 scientists of all disciplines from 150 countries.
Primary and secondary education
The New York City public school system is the largest in the world. More than 1.1 million students are taught in more than 1,700 public schools with a budget of nearly $25 billion. The public school system is managed by the New York City Department of Education. It includes Empowerment Schools.
Among New York City public high schools are selective specialized schools, such as
- CUNY-run Hunter College High School (the public school which sends the highest percentage of its graduates to Ivy League schools in the United States; ranked as the top public high school in the United States),
- Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School The school that requires the highest cutoff of the SHSAT, and the teaching home of Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt; often considered one of the best public high schools in the United States),
- Bronx High School of Science (which has the largest number of graduates who are Nobel Laureates of any high school in the world) and
- Brooklyn Technical High School (one of the few public schools that uses a college-style major system after their students' sophomore year, and one of the largest populated and largely constructed schools in the nation).
- Townsend Harris High School in Queens is another selective school situated on a bucolic campus that offers small class sizes compared to schools of equal rigor, where the average student studies two non-English languages including Latin and/or Greek.
- The Brooklyn High School of the Arts is the only high school in the United States to offer a major in Historic Preservation.
- The High School of American Studies at Lehman College, and Staten Island Technical High School has rapidly become one of New York's hardest schools to get into, and was ranked by U.S. News & World Report the highest specialized high school in NYC, beating Stuyvesant and Bronx Science.
- Bard High School Early College is one of the few, tuition-free, early college entrance programs in the nation that provides graduates with a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree. Murry Bergtraum High School is the oldest business high school in Lower Manhattan that integrates an array of specialized courses such as shorthand, and MOS certification courses (including courses that are not offered elsewhere in the United States.
- The Harvey Milk High School is the only public high school in the United States for gay, lesbian, and transgender students. Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, long considered the prototype for all performing art high schools across the world, has a very selective audition process. LaGuardia offers conservatory caliber training in the fields of dance, art, vocal music, instrumental music and drama. The movie Fame is based on this school and it has a long list of notable alumni. The High School of Art and Design is one of the oldest vocational schools in the United States, training students in the visual arts since 1936.
A small portion of land that is between Pelham and Pelham Bay Park, with a total of 35 houses, is a part of the Bronx, but is cut off from the rest of the borough due to the way the county boundaries were established; the New York City government pays for the residents' children to go to Pelham Union Free School District schools, including Pelham Memorial High School, since that is more cost effective than sending school buses to take the students to New York City schools. This arrangement has been in place since 1948. As of 1997 one student at Pelham Memorial and five students in elementary and middle school lived in this section, and New York City paid Pelham School District $15,892.86 per year for the high school student and $8,650.08 per year for the other students.
School funding lawsuit
A constitutional challenge to the New York State school funding system was filed in 1993 by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. The lawsuit, CFE v. State of New York, claims that the state's school finance system under-funds New York City public schools and denies its students their constitutional right to a sound basic education.
The Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, ruled in 1996 that the New York State constitution requires that the state offer all children the opportunity for a "sound basic education". In 2001, State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse found that the current state school funding system was unconstitutional. Governor George Pataki appealed the decision, which was overturned in 2002 by the Appellate Division. CFE appealed to the Court of Appeals, which again found in favor of CFE in 2003. The Court of Appeals gave the State of New York until July 30, 2004 to comply with its order.
The state failed to meet this deadline, however, and the court appointed three referees who were given until November 30, 2004 to submit a compliance plan to Justice Leland DeGrasse of the State Supreme Court. Justice DeGrasse agreed with the referees' recommendations and in 2005 ruled that New York City schools need nearly $15 billion to provide students with their constitutional right to the opportunity to receive a sound basic education.
Governor Pataki appealed again to the Appellate Division. In 2006, however, the Appellate Division ordered the State Legislature to consider a plan to direct between $4.7 billion and $5.63 billion to New York City schools and upheld an earlier ruling to provide about $9.2 billion in capital funds to the school system over five years. New York City's public secondary schools include: Bard High School Early College, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, Hunter College High School, LaGuardia High School, Staten Island Technical High School, Stuyvesant High School, and Townsend Harris High School. The city is home to the largest Roman Catholic high school in the U.S., St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and the only official Italian-American school in the country, La Scuola d'Italia Guglielmo Marconi on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
There are approximately 900 additional privately run secular and religious schools in the city, some of which are among the top independent schools in the nation.
New York City private schools include Brearley School, Dalton School, Spence School, Browning School, Chapin School, Friends Seminary, Nightingale-Bamford School, Regis High School, Loyola School, LREI, Hewitt School and Convent of the Sacred Heart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; Collegiate School, The Dwight School,Rudolf Steiner School, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, and Trinity School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan; Horace Mann School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Riverdale Country School in Riverdale, Bronx; Bay Ridge Prep, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn Friends School, Mary McDowell Friends School and Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn; and Queens Paideia School in Long Island City, Queens.
There are many parochial schools, serving elementary and secondary levels of students. The main denominations or religions operating these institutions are Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic.
Roman Catholic schools
Examples of Roman Catholic institutions include Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan and St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, the largest Catholic high school in the U.S. Also, The Mary Louis Academy, an all-girls Roman Catholic school located in Jamaica Estates, Queens, The Loyola School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a co-ed Jesuit school, Xavier High School, an all-boys Jesuit school in Manhattan, and several others.
Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn, is an example of a Modern Orthodox Jewish school. The Satmar Jewish community of Brooklyn operates its own network of schools, which is the fourth largest school system in New York state.
Weekend education programs
The Japanese Weekend School of New York (JWSNY), a Japanese weekend supplementary school system headquartered in New Rochelle, New York, holds classes for Japanese expatriates and Japanese Americans in the Rufus King School in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
New York City has three public library systems, the New York Public Library, serving Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island; the Brooklyn Public Library; and the Queens Borough Public Library. The New York Public Library comprises simultaneously a set of scholarly research collections and a network of community libraries and is the busiest public library system in the world. Over 15.5 million patrons checked out books, periodicals, and other materials from the library's 82 branches in the 2004–2005 fiscal year. The Library has four major research centers. The largest is the Library for the Humanities, which ranks in importance with the Library of Congress, the British Library, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It has 39 million items in its collection, among them a Gutenberg Bible, the first five folios of Shakespeare's plays, ancient Torah scrolls, a handwritten copy of George Washington's Farewell Address and Alexander Hamilton's handwritten draft of the United States Constitution. It also has a large map room and a significant art collection.
The Brooklyn Public Library is the fourth-largest library system in the country, serving more than two million people each year. The Central Library is its main reference center, with an additional 58 branches in as many neighborhoods. Foreign language collections in 70 different languages, from Arabic to Creole to Vietnamese, are tailored to the neighborhoods they serve.
The Queens Library is the No. 1 library system in the United States by circulation, having loaned 20.2 million items in the 2006 fiscal year. The Queens Library serves the city's most diverse borough with a full range of services and programs for adults and children at the central reference library on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens and at its 62 branches. Collections include books, periodicals, compact discs and videos. All branches have a computerized catalogue of the library's holdings, as well as access to the Internet. Lectures, performances and special events are presented by neighborhood branches.
The $50 million Bronx Library Center is the newest major New York City library building to be built. It is the first "green" public library in the city, built with ecologically sound recycled materials and designed to promote energy efficiency, usage of natural daylight, waste reduction, and improvement in air quality. It has 200,000 print and audiovisual materials available for checkout and features a 150-seat auditorium for public performances, a story hour room for readings to children, and individualized career and educational counseling. 127 computers throughout the building are wired for Internet access. The library also has wireless capabilities, and provides 30 laptops that patrons can use anywhere on the premises.
There are several other important libraries in the city. Among them is the Morgan Library, originally the private library of J. P. Morgan and made a public institution by his son, John Pierpont Morgan. It is now a research library with an important collection, including material from ancient Egypt, Émile Zola, William Blake's original drawings for his edition of the Book of Job; a Percy Bysshe Shelley notebook; originals of poems by Robert Burns; a Charles Dickens manuscript of A Christmas Carol; 30 shelves of Bibles; a journal by Henry David Thoreau; Mozart's Haffner Symphony in D Major; and manuscripts for George Sand, William Makepeace Thackeray, Lord Byron, Charlotte Brontë and nine of Sir Walter Scott's novels, including Ivanhoe. The library is currently undergoing a significant expansion designed by Renzo Piano.
New York City is home to hundreds of cultural institutions and historic sites, many of which are internationally known.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world's largest and most important art museums, located on the eastern edge of Central Park . It also comprises a building complex known as "The Cloisters" in Fort Tryon Park at the north end of Manhattan Island overlooking the Hudson River which features medieval art. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is often considered a rival to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest art museum in New York and one of the largest in the United States. One of the premier art institutions in the world, its permanent collection includes more than one-and-a-half million objects, from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, and the art of many other cultures.
There are many smaller important galleries and art museums in the city. Among these is the Frick Collection, one of the preeminent small art museums in the United States, with a very high-quality collection of old master paintings housed in 16 galleries within the former mansion of steel magnate Henry Clay Frick. The collection features some of the best-known paintings by major European artists, as well as numerous works of sculpture and porcelain. It also has furniture, enamel, and carpets.
The Jewish Museum of New York was first established in 1904, when the Jewish Theological Seminary received a gift a 26 Jewish ceremonial art objects by Judge Mayer Sulzberger. The museum now boasts a collection 28,000 objects including paintings, sculpture, archaeological artifacts, and many other pieces important to the preservation of Jewish history and culture.
Founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican artists, educators, community activists and civic leaders, El Museo del Barrio is located at the top of Museum Mile in East Harlem, a neighborhood also called 'El Barrio'. Originally, the museum was a creation of the Nuyorican Movement and Civil Rights Movement, and primarily functioned as a neighborhood institution serving Puerto Ricans. With the increasing size of New York's Latino population, the scope of the museum is expanding.
The American Museum of Natural History is a landmark of Manhattan's Upper West Side, with a staff of more than 1,200. The museum sponsors over 100 special field expeditions each year. The Museum is famous for its habitat groups of African, Asian and North American mammals, for the full-size model of a Blue Whale suspended in the hall of oceans, for the 62-foot (19 m) Haida carved and painted war canoe from the Pacific Northwest, and for the "Star of India", the largest blue sapphire in the world. The circuit of a complete floor is devoted to vertebrate evolution, including the world-famous dinosaur replicas. The Museum's anthropological collections are also outstanding: Halls of Asian Peoples and of Pacific Peoples, of Man in Africa, Native Americans in the United States collections, general Native American collections, and collections from Mexico and Central America.
One of the premiere botanical gardens in the United States, the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx was modeled after the Royal Botanic Gardens in London. With 48 different gardens and plant collections, nature enthusiasts can easily spend a day admiring the serene cascade waterfall, wetlands, a 50-acre (200,000 m²) tract of old-growth oaks, American beeches, cherry, birch, tulip and white ash trees — some more than two centuries old. Garden highlights include an 1890s-vintage, wrought-iron framed, "crystal-palace style" greenhouse; the Peggy Rockefeller memorial rose garden (originally laid out by Beatrix Farrand in 1916); a Japanese rock garden; a 37-acre (150,000 m²) conifer collection, extensive research facilities including a propagation center, 50,000-volume library, and a herbarium archive of hundreds of thousands of botanical specimens dating back more than a century. At the heart of the Garden are 40 acres (162,000 m²) of virgin woodlands which represent the last stretch of the original forest which covered all of New York City before the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century. The forest itself is split by the Bronx River and includes a riverine canyon and rapids, and along its shores sits the landmark Lorillard snuff-grinding mill dating back to the 1840s.
The Brooklyn Children's Museum is a general purpose museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Founded in 1899, it was the first museum in the world to cater specifically to children. The museum is currently undergoing extensive renovation and expansion.
The New York Hall of Science is a hands-on science and technology center with more than 400 exhibits exploring biology, chemistry, and physics. It is located in one of the few remaining structures of the 1964 New York World's Fair.
The Rubin Museum of Art is a museum dedicated to the collection, display, and preservation of the art of the Himalayas and surrounding regions, especially that of Tibet. It is located at 150 West 17th Street between the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) and Seventh Avenue in the Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City. The Education Department at the Rubin Museum of Art fosters a deeper experience with the art of the Himalayas through close observation, discovery, thinking, and emotion and encourage visitors to consider the interplay between art and culture, and to make personal connections to visual art through meaningful interactions.
New York is a center of scientific research, particularly in medicine and the life sciences. The city has 15 nationally leading academic medical research institutions and medical centers. These include Rockefeller University, Beth Israel Medical Center, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, Mount Sinai Medical Center (where Jonas Salk, developer of the vaccine for polio as an intern) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the medical schools of New York University. In the Bronx, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine is a major academic center. Brooklyn also hosts one of the country's leading urban medical centers, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, an academic medical research institution and the oldest hospital-based medical school in the United States. Professor Raymond Vahan Damadian, a pioneer in magnetic resonance imaging research, was part of the faculty from 1967 to 1977 and built the first MRI machine, the Indomitable, there. The New York Structural Biology Center, in upper Manhattan, is a highly regarded federally funded medical research center with the largest and most advanced cluster of high-field research magnets in the United States. More than 50 bioscience companies and two biotech incubators are located in the city, with as many as 30 companies spun out of local research institutions each year.
The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is a component laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Earth-Sun Exploration Division and a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Current research at GISS emphasizes a broad study of global climate change. It also conducts basic research in space sciences in support of Goddard programs.
Rockefeller University, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is a world-renowned center for research and graduate education in the biomedical sciences, chemistry, and physics. Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901, the university has been the site of many important scientific breakthroughs. Rockefeller scientists established that DNA is the chemical basis of heredity, discovered blood groups, showed that viruses can cause cancer, founded the modern field of cell biology, worked out the structure of antibodies, developed methadone maintenance for people addicted to heroin, devised the AIDS "cocktail" drug therapy, and identified the weight-regulating hormone leptin. Twenty-three Nobel Prize winners have been associated with the university, an amazing figure considering that Rockefeller University houses a relatively small amount of labs.
The Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory in The Bronx, built with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, New York State and New York City, and named for its largest private donor, is a major new research institution at the New York Botanical Garden opened in 2006. The laboratory is a pure research institution, with projects more diverse than research in universities and pharmaceutical companies. The laboratory's research emphasis is on plant genomics, the study of how genes function in plant development. One question scientists hope to answer is Darwin's "abominable mystery"; when, where, and why flowering plants emerged. The laboratory's research also furthers the discipline of molecular systematics, the study of DNA as evidence that can reveal the evolutionary history and relationships of plant species. Staff scientists also study plant use in immigrant communities in New York City and the genetic mechanisms by which neurotoxins are produced in some plants, work that may be related to nerve disease in humans. A staff of 200 trains 42 doctoral students at a time from all over the world; since the 1890s scientists from the New York Botanical Garden have mounted about 2,000 exploratory missions across the planet to collect plants in the wild. At the plant chemistry laboratory chemical compounds from plants are extracted to create a library of the chemistry of the world's plants and stored in a 768-square-foot (71.3 m2) DNA storage room with 20 freezers that store millions of specimens, including rare, endangered or extinct species. To protect them during winter power outages, there is a backup 300-kilowatt electric generator.
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