San Francisco: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Founded in 1851, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) was the first public school district established in California. The SFUSD is a multicultural, multilingual, major urban public school system in which ethnic and racial diversity is considered a strength. English is the second language of nearly one-third of SFUSD students. The student body is currently 10.3 percent white, 21.3 percent Latino/Latina, 15.2 percent African American, 30.5 percent Chinese, 1 percent Japanese, 0.9 percent Korean, .06 percent Native American, 6.7 percent Filipino, and 11.9 percent other non-white ethnicities. The SFUSD encompasses all of San Francisco County, making it one of the largest in the state of California. The school board consists of seven partisan members who appoint the superintendent. The San Francisco school system provides a rigorous curriculum that develops student curiosity and creativity while preparing them for success at college and in careers.

The following is a summary of data regarding San Francisco public schools as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 58,566

Number of facilities elementary schools: 78

middle schools: 17

senior high schools: 21

other: 39 children's centers

Student/teacher ratio: varies by school, subject, and grade level

Teacher salaries (2001-2002)

minimum: $38,000

maximum: $64,326

Funding per pupil: Figure available on a per-school basis only

A number of private and parochial schools provide alternative forms of education in the San Francisco area.

Public Schools Information: San Francisco Unified School District, 555 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102; telephone (415)241-6000

Colleges and Universities

San Francisco has many fully accredited colleges and universities, including San Francisco State University (enrollment 28,804); the University of California, San Francisco (enrollment 2,800); Golden Gate University (enrollment 3,092); the University of San Francisco (enrollment 6,415); City College of San Francisco (17,819); the Hastings College of the Law; and the Academy of Art College. These and other area institutions offer graduate and professional degrees in more than 100 fields of specialization. Nearby Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, two schools with international reputations, provide still more opportunities for educational pursuits.

Libraries and Research Centers

The San Francisco Public Library consists of the main library and 26 other branches throughout the city, providing a total of more than 2 million volumes, as well as films, videotapes, CDs, recordings, art reproductions, and extensive services for the hearing impaired. The library's special collections include material on calligraphy, the history of printing, Panama Canal manuscripts, science fiction and fantasy, San Francisco history, gay and lesbian history, and a document department featuring United Nations, federal, state, and local documents. By the year 2010, the Main's collection is projected to hold 1.3 million books, 6 million microfiche and microfilm items, and 340,000 bound periodicals. In November 2000, a $129 million bond measure passed that will provide the public with seismically safe, accessible, code compliant branch libraries in every neighborhood of San Francisco. Combined with other state and local, public and private fund sources, this program will allow the renovation of 19 branches, replace four leased facilities with city-owned branches, and construct a new branch in Mission Bay; in 2005 several projects were completed, with construction or preliminary assessments underway at other branches and new building sites. A variety of other professional, scholastic, and special interest libraries serve the metropolitan area.

The city's proximity to Silicon Valley produces a large amount of research activity. Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley are world-class research institutions specializing in a variety of fields. Other important research centers include the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, which conducts extensive bio-genetic research, and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, which works with high-energy lasers and weapons research. The California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute conducts clinical trials and research programs in a variety of medical subjects, including pain, cancer, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, hepatitis, and others.

Public Library Information: San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102; telephone (415)557-4400