Miami: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Like all public schools in the state of Florida, the public elementary and secondary schools of Miami are part of a county-wide district. The Miami-Dade County district, fourth largest in the United States, is administered by a partisan nine-member elected school board that appoints a superintendent.

The district operates the largest magnet school system in the nation, offering 77 specialized fields of study in such areas as mathematics, science, and technology; gifted; international education; Montessori; visual and performing arts; communications and humanities; and careers and professions. Additionally, 25 charter schools are under contract with the school district. In 2002–2003, more than 117,000 children were enrolled in the kindergarten through the twelfth grade at 286 schools and centers.

The following is a summary of data regarding Miami's public schools as of the 2002–2003 school year.

Total enrollment: 371,482

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 206

junior high/middle schools: 53

senior high schools: 36

other: 45

Student/teacher ratio: 19:1

Teacher salaries

average: $45,905

Funding per pupil: $5,858 (2001–2002 operating and special revenue funds)

Miami-Dade County has more than 400 private schools enrolling approximately 50,000 students.

Public Schools Information: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 1450 N.E. Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132; telephone (305)995-1000

Colleges and Universities

The Miami area has dozens of institutions of higher learning, including five vocational/technical schools. Florida International University, which enrolls more than 31,000 students, is the state's largest public university. The University of Miami is a private university noted for its business school. Miami-Dade Community College, with nearly 47,000 students, is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Barry University and St. Thomas University are both affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church; Florida Memorial College is affiliated with American Baptist Churches in the USA; and Trinity International University is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America. International Fine Arts College offers Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's degrees.

Libraries and Research Centers

In addition to its main branch in downtown Miami, the Miami-Dade Public Library System operates 34 branches and four regional libraries, with a regional library on Miami Beach and a branch in Sunny Isles Beach scheduled to open in 2005. Its collection numbers more than 3.8 million volumes; 1 million volumes can be found at the Main Library in the downtown Metro-Dade Cultural Center, where the largest collection of books and documents in the Southeast are housed. The library also holds numerous newspapers, magazines, films, records, tapes, sheet music, and photographs. The Main Library serves as a resource center for the system and provides information via eight subject departments: art, business, Florida, languages, music, science, urban affairs, and genealogy. Special collections are held in the Florida Room, the Foundations Center Regional Collection, and the U.S. and State Documents department; special interests include Florida and foreign languages, particularly Spanish. The library sponsors a wide array of educational and culturally enriching programs and exhibitions attended by more than 500,000 patrons annually. In 2002 the library system returned bookmobile service to outlying suburban neighborhoods.

Miami is home to more than 40 special libraries, including the University of Miami, which houses more than two million volumes. The library at the Wolfsonian Museum features a collection of about 36,000 books and other materials focusing on industrial arts, design, and architecture. The Wolfsonian's research and study center traces the interconnections of European culture with other cultures. Numerous other research centers are affiliated with academic institutions, conducting research activities in such fields as medicine, energy, marine science, economics, Latin America and the Caribbean, the environment, and aging.

Public Library Information: Miami-Dade Public Library System, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33130-1523; telephone (305)375-5026; email