Houston: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest in Texas and the seventh largest in the United States. In 2002 HISD was named the nation's top-performing urban school district by the California-based Broad Foundation, due in part to its success in narrowing the achievement gap between economic and ethnic groups.
The following is a summary of data regarding Houston's public schools as of the 2003–2004 school year.
Total enrollment: 211,157
Number of facilities elementary schools: 183
middle schools: 34
senior high schools: 32
other: 28 charter schools, 114 magnet programs, and 18 combined-level schools
Student/teacher ratio: 17:1
Teacher salaries (2004–2005)
Funding per pupil: $7,589 (2001–2002)
More than 52,000 students are enrolled in the area's 211 private and parochial schools.
Public Schools Information: Houston Independent School District, Hattie Mae White Administration Bldg., 3830 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77027-5802; telephone (713)892-6391
Colleges and Universities
Houston's 289,000 college students make it one of the nation's leading academic centers. Forty-one public colleges, universities, and institutes dot the Houston landscape. The oldest is Rice University, while the largest is the University of Houston, with three campuses in the immediate Houston area. Other major educational centers include Texas Southern University, University of St. Thomas, and Houston Baptist University. The city also has three law schools and abundant medical training, including the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center. The Houston Community College System is one of the city's largest, enrolling 33,821 students in 2002.
Libraries and Research Centers
Houston has two major public library systems: the Houston Public Library system and the Harris County Public Library system. In addition to the central Houston Public Library downtown, a 333,000-square-foot facility with a capacity of 2 million volumes, the Houston Public Library system encompasses 38 branches along with the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research and the Parent Resource Library in the Children's Museum of Houston. Its collections include the Greenberg Collection, Texas and Local History Collection, U.S. Government Documents, and the Video Library. The system also includes the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, a cooperative project formed in 1976 with Rice University, Texas Southern University, and the University of Houston. Housed in the Julia Ideson Building, this collection makes available the documentary, oral, and visual evidence of Houston's past, including African American, Mexican American, architectural, photographic, jazz music, and oral history components.
The Harris County Public Library maintains 26 branches and 2.3 million items in its collection. Specialized libraries and research centers in Houston range from numerous medical and legal facilities to a library run by the American Brahman Breeders Association.
NASA's Johnson Space Center coordinates a great deal of development and design work for the U.S. Space Station. The University of Houston's 24 research entities include the Texas Learning & Computation Center, the Institute for Space Systems Operations, the Environmental Institute of Houston, Center for Materials Chemistry, Center for Public Policy, and Center for Immigration Research. Rice University conducts more than $40 million in grant research annually in such fields as computing, nanotechnology, laser technology, robotics, groundwater management, toxic chemical clean-up, global warming, material science, astronomy, space physics, and biomedical engineering. The Houston Advanced Research Center combines the facilities of nine major universities in translating scientific advances into practical applications. Between 2000 and 2004, the Texas Medical Center committed $3.5 billion to research in such areas as cardiovascular, cancer, cell biology, and genetics. Baylor College houses a major center for AIDS research.
Public Library Information: Harris County Public Library, 8080 El Rio, Houston, TX 77054; telephone (713)749-9000. Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney St., Houston, TX 77002; telephone (832)393-1313
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