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On the Importance of the New
Columbia Science, Math and
Engineering Public Secondary School

"It is the goal and passion of all educators – whether they are teachers, professors, principals, or university presidents – to ensure that every student in the nation has access to a world-class education. This new school represents an important step in expanding the educational opportunities available to students in New York City's public schools.

The development of this school responds to a great national need. I say this not only as an educator but also as a parent and citizen. Today, while governments and businesses race to discover cutting-edge technologies in areas such as medicine, mass communications, and alternative energy, America is struggling to maintain its global leadership in science, math, and engineering. A recent bipartisan report of the National Academies has highlighted what is now all too clear – that, as a group, public school students in the United States are undereducated in these areas and, further, that our country is facing a critical lack of professionals entering these fields. This is particularly true with respect to women and minorities.

To compete in this high-tech age, it is vital that our nation's public schools and its institutions of higher education find new ways to work together on strengthening science, math, and engineering programs in our high schools and universities. That is where we will produce the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. We envision this new public school as dedicated to addressing this need, perhaps one day even making valuable contributions to society through research and discovery.

Advancing the study of math, science, and engineering is a cornerstone of Columbia's academic mission. Through the years, Columbia faculty have educated generations of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers and have made important contributions themselves in the laboratory and out in the field. Today, our professors, researchers, and students continue to do important work in rapidly evolving areas like nanotechnology, computer science, genomic science, and biomedical engineering. But our mission as scholars extends far beyond our campus. We have a responsibility to bring our expertise to our community – the magnificent city and the neighborhoods we call home.

Columbia University has always taken that responsibility seriously. Countless faculty and students every year participate in many outstanding programs and partnerships to assist in the education of younger students. Columbia's Double Discovery Center is a highly notable example, having over four decades helped students in the City and our local communities graduate from high school and college at a rate significantly above the national average. The Faculty of the Arts and Sciences, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Columbia University Medical Center, and many other parts of the University also provide an incredible array of educational programs in science, math, engineering, and many other areas for public school students and teachers.

It seems fitting, then, that the next stage of our partnership with New York City's public school system would be to collaborate on a public science, math, and engineering secondary school. With this new school, Columbia can apply its resources and expertise to further our academic mission and strengthen public education in service to our City and our nation.

We are delighted that this public school will find its home in Manhattanville in West Harlem, where Columbia has proposed building a new campus. The school wil l build on the work we are already doing with our partners in the community to further the cause of education and will increase the educational opportunities available to public school students in the City and our local neighborhoods. Our faculty and students will play an important role at the school, helping to provide its students with both an exceptional education and a strong foundation for university study and professional development.

We are extremely proud of this collaboration with the City and with our community. We're confident that this public school wil l become a center of excellence for the study of math, science, and engineering. We look forward to working with the City and local educators on this important endeavor."

-- Oct 21, 2005

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Published: Oct 21, 2005
Last modified: Oct 21, 2005

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