Education in New York City
Learn more about 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 United States, 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.
New York has 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 has embarked on a major school reform effort.
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 is led by New York City, which is home to more college students than any other city in the United States, even Boston.<ref>The New York Observer. "New York, College Town."</ref>
The City University of New York (CUNY), with over 450,000 students and the third-largest university system in the United States, has graduated the highest number of Nobel Laureates of any public university in the world. CUNY's history dates back to the formation of the Free Academy in 1847. Much of its student body, which represent 145 countries, is comprised of new immigrants to New York City. The City University of New York 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, Andrew Grove, co-founder of Intel, Barbara Boxer, Harvey Pitt, Paul Simon from Simon and Garfunkel and Joy Behar.
Columbia University is an Ivy League university in upper Manhattan. It was established in 1754 as King's College and is the fifth oldest chartered institution of higher education in the United States. During these early years, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, and Robert Livingston studied at Columbia.
Barnard College is a highly selective 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. Barnard's alumnae include Anna Quindlen, Martha Stewart, Zora Neale Hurston, and Margaret Mead.
New York University (NYU) is a major research university in lower Manhattan. Founded in 1831 by a group of prominent New Yorkers, NYU has become the largest private, not-for-profit university in the United States with a total enrollment of 39,408. The University comprises 14 schools, colleges, and divisions, which occupy six major centers across Manhattan.
The Cooper Union is a tuition-free school specializing in art, architecture and engineering. It is a privately funded school in the East Village that boasts one of the lowest admission rates in the US (10~12%) as it maintains an exclusive student body of 900 students.
Fordham University, which has campuses in Manhattan and the Bronx, was the first Catholic university in the northeast. It was founded in 1841 and is run by the Jesuits. The university has four undergraduate schools and six graduate schools in these fields: law, education, social work, business, religion, and arts and sciences. In addition to Manhattan and the Bronx, Fordham has three other campuses, two in Westchester County, New York, and one in Beijing, China.
Pace University, which has campuses in lower Manhattan and Westchester County, specializes in business and finance courses. With its competitive debate, Mock Trial, and Moot Court teams, the school has an intensive law program. The school's Honor College is 28th in the nation.
The New School, whose graduate faculty was founded by scholars exiled by totalitarian regimes in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s, is known for its progressive intellectual tradition. This university is made up of several different and unique divisions, including Parsons The New School for Design, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, The New School for Social Research, and Mannes College of Music
Long Island University, in downtown Brooklyn, hosts the Friends World Program, an international studies college with regional centers around the globe founded by Quakers in 1965. The University also issues the prestigious annual Polk Awards in journalism.
New York Institute of Technology, which has campuses in Manhattan and Long Island, specializes in career-oriented education. NYIT also operates the only college of Osteopathic Medicine in New York State, and is the birthplace of the 3D computer animation system.
In addition to many more universities, New York City is home to several of the nation's top schools of art and design, including Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Arts, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Three of the nation's most prestigious conservatories, The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes The New School for Music are located on the Upper West Side.
Although most big time college athletics is concentrated in large Mid West land grant public universities, two private (Catholic) schools Manhattan College and St. John's University have competitive Division I NCAA basketball programs; St John's recently won the Men's Division I soccer title. In Division II competition, NYIT has won two of the last four NCAA Division II lacrosse championships, in 2003 and 2005.
The city is also the only place that is home to two top-five ranked law schools in the United States. U.S. News and World Report ranks the Columbia Law School and the New York University School of Law as tied for fourth place.
The New York Academy of Sciences is a society of some 20,000 scientists of all disciplines from 150 countries. It seeks to advance the understanding of science, technology, and medicine, and to stimulate new ways to think about how research is applied in society and the world. It is also active in human rights and seeks to promote the rights of scientists, health professionals, engineers, and educators around the world. Past members include Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Charles Darwin, John James Audubon, and Albert Einstein. In 2005 its President's Council included 16 Nobel Prize winners.
The American University of Beirut in Lebanon and the American University in Cairo in Egypt hold charters from the state of New York. Both universities maintain administrative offices in New York City.
 Public schools
The New York City public school system is the largest in the United States. More than one million students are taught in 1,200 separate public schools. Because of its immense size -- there are more students in the system than residents in eight US states -- the New York City public school system is the most influential in the United States.
Dedication to the sciences starts early for many New Yorkers, who have the chance to attend such selective specialized high schools 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), Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School (the public school with the lowest acceptance rate in the country), Bronx High School of Science (which boasts the largest number of graduates who are Nobel Laureates of any high school in the world) and Brooklyn Technical High School (the one of the fewest public school that uses a college style major system after their students' sophomore year). The Brooklyn High School of the Arts is the only high school in the United States to offer a major in Historic Preservation.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 controversial Harvey Milk High School is the only public high school in the United States for gay, lesbian, and transgendered students.
 Private schools
There are about 1,000 additional privately run secular and religious schools in New York. These include some of the most prestigious private schools in the United States, such as Claremont Preparatory SchoolThe Dalton School, Packer Collegiate Institute, Trinity School, The Collegiate School, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Regis High School,Marymount School, Ramaz, Brearley School, St. Ann's School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, The Dwight School, Riverdale Country School,Manhattan Country School and Horace Mann. About 30,000 city students attend private schools in New York, compared with about 1.1 million in the public system.
 Parochial schools
There are several parochial schools, serving elementary and secondary levels of students. Main denominations or religions operating these institutions are Roman Catholic, Jewish -Orthodox and some non-Orthdox, and Muslim. The Satmar Jewish community of Brooklyn operates its own network of schools, which is the fourth largest school system in New York state.
 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 1995 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.
- See also: Campaign for Fiscal Equity
New York City has three public library systems, the New York Public Library, serving the Bronx, Manhattan, 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 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, Emile 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 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 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 1890's-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 1840's.
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.
 Scientific research
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, was 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 Indomnitable, there. 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.
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 1890's 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 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.
 See also
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