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Education in Category: New York City is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. The city's public school system is managed by the New York City Department of Education. It is the largest public school system in the world.

The city boasts some of the most important libraries, universities, and research centers in the world. It 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.


Public Schools

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The New York City public school system teaches more than 1 million students at more than 1,500 schools. It boasts some of the best and worst performing public schools in the United States as it struggles with disparity issues from neighborhood to neighborhood. Still with all the challenges of educating the city’s diverse population, the system does boast some impressive statistics.

Among New York City public high schools are selective specialized schools such as City University of New York -run Hunter College High School (the public school which sends the highest percentage of its graduates to Ivy League schools in the United States; considered one of the best public high schools in the United States), Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School (the public school with the lowest acceptance rate in the country; often considered one of the best public high schools in the United States), 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 few public school 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 takes three different 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 has rapidly become one of New York's hardest schools to get into, and was ranked 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 transgendered 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 notable alumni too long to list. 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.

Common school funding controversies plague New York City as they do other cities and states in the US. In New York, 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 matter has been winding through the court system after numerous appeals since then and in 2006 the courts ordered the State Legislature to direct $9.2 billion into the city’s schools over a 5 year period.

Private Schools

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.

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 Muslim. 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 Ramaz School in Manhattan is an example of a Modern Orthodox Jewish school, and the Al-Noor School in Brooklyn is an example of an Islamic private school. The Satmar Jewish community of Brooklyn operates its own network of schools, which is the fourth largest school system in New York State. New York City private schools include Brearley School, Dalton School, Spence School, Browning School, The Chapin School, Nightingale-Bamford School, Loyola School (New York), The Hewitt School, and Convent of the Sacred Heart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; Collegiate 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; The Packer Collegiate Institute and Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn; and Queens Paideia School in Long Island City, Queens.

Higher Education

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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.

The higher education sector is also a vital contributor to NYC's economy, employing 110,000 people in 2007 and accounting for nearly 2.5 percent of overall employment in NYC.

Public higher education is provided by the many campuses of the City University of New York (CUNY), which has over 450,000 students, second in number only to the separate State University of New York (SUNY) and California State University. 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 Barnard College, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, Long Island University, New York University (NYU), 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 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.

Two of the United States' leading Roman Catholic universities 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).

Yeshiva University, in Washington Heights, is a Jewish university rooted in [America's oldest Yeshiva], founded in 1886.

One of the nation's most prestigious conservatories, The Juilliard School, is located on the Upper West Side.

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.

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Scientific Research

New York is a center of scientific research, particularly in medicine and the life sciences. It is also home to the New York Academy of Sciences which is a society of some 20,000 scientists of all disciplines from 150 countries dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge and research.

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. 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 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 (71.3 m2) DNA storage room with 20 freezers that store millions of specimens, including rare, endangered or extinct species.


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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 check out books, periodicals, and other materials from the library's 82 branches on average each year. The Library has four major research centers including the Main Branch and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 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 Borough Public 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, 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.

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