Boston's school district is one of the nation's 60 largest. Boston spends nearly 30 percent of its annual budget on school matters, and its system excels in special education classes. The Boston School Committee is a seven member board, whose member are appointed by Mayor Menino. In 2005 the district was a finalist for the Broad Prize for Urban Education, the fourth time in as many years.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Boston public schools as of the 2004–2005 school year.
Total enrollment: 58,310
Number of facilities elementary schools: 66
elementary and middle schools: 11
middle schools: 18
high schools: 25
other: 7 early learning centers, 6 special education centers
Student/teacher ratio: 13:1
Funding per pupil: $10,739 (2003-2004)
Several prestigious private secondary schools also operate in Boston, among them the Commonwealth School, known for its focus on humanities and languages. Boston University's Academy, a five-year private preparatory school on its campus, permits students to take freshman-year college classes while still in high school. Boston also has an active parochial school system.
Public Schools Information: Boston Public Schools, Central Administration Office, 26 Court St., Boston, MA 02108; telephone (617)635-9000
In the mid-2000s, the New England Board of Higher Education reported 68 colleges and universities in the Boston metropolitan area, at which approximately 250,000 students were enrolled. Once nicknamed the "Athens of America," Boston is home to some of the most venerable institutions of learning in the country. Boston University, founded in 1839, excels in medicine, law, foreign studies, and computing. Tufts and Harvard universities maintain their medical schools in Boston to take advantage of the teaching/learning opportunities offered by city hospitals such as Massachusetts General. Among the four-year liberal arts schools in Boston are Emerson, which publishes the Emerson Review twice yearly, and Emmanuel, a Roman Catholic women's institution. The University of Massachusetts maintains a commuter campus in Boston. Northeastern University is a small, mostly residential school, Wheelock College focuses on early childhood education and human services, and Simmons College and Suffolk University are small co-educational schools.
Boston-area technical schools include the Franklin Institute of Boston (for engineering), Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, Boston Technical Center, the Northeastern Institute of Industrial Technology, the New England School of Art and Design, the Women's Technical Institute and Wentworth Institute of Technology (for engineering). Boston's fine arts schools include The Berklee College of Music, a world renown independent school of music, not only in performance, but in composition, recording engineering, and music management. Boston's other fine arts schools include the Boston Conservatory of Music (with the Boston Chamber Music Society in residence), Massachusetts College of Art, the Art Institute of Boston, New England Conservatory of Music, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Among the city's two-year colleges are Bay State Junior College, Bunker Hill Community College, Fisher College, Labourne College, and Roxbury Community College.
Nearby institutions of note include Harvard University, Radcliffe College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, along with Boston College in Chestnut Hill and Brandeis University in Waltham.
Boston's public library system, established in 1854, serves patrons in the city and several suburbs and is the nation's first instance of a tax-supported system. It maintains 26 neighborhood branches that house more than 13 million books and a bookmobile, and has over 2.2 million visitors a year. The main library, an Italian Renaissance building in downtown Copley Square, contains a rare book collection and is decorated with murals by John Singer Sargent and art work by other famous American painters and sculptors. The President John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum is also found in Boston, along with a number of specialized law, finance, technical, and educational libraries.
Many research institutions are grouped in and around Boston, covering topics ranging from engineering to philosophy. Boston University facilities conduct research on foreign affairs, communication, computing, medicine, polymer chemistry, and a host of other subjects. Harvard University's research efforts include business, international affairs, law, medicine, physics, computers, and more. Massachusetts Institute of Technology's research programs focus on engineering, biotechnology, ocean studies, chemistry, robotics, electronics, and others. Research institutes of colleges include the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, the Boston Sickle Cell Center, and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, three offerings that serve to underline Boston's prominence in the medical research field.
Public Library Information: Main Library, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02117-0286; telephone (617)536-5400; fax (617)236-4306