Monday, March 24, 2008

Higher Education

New York City has a rather notorious educational system. On one hand are the daily tales of student disorder, overcrowded classrooms, teacher turmoil and obit pages in the high school newspapers. On the other hand are the high reputations of NYC's special magnet schools: Stuyvesant High, Bronx Science, Performing Arts and others specializing in industrial arts and even two for specialized finance. I'm referring to the High School for Creative Accounting and the High School of Legitimate Business Practices.

HSCA was housed on Park Row in a building subsumed by the J&R Records empire. Popularly known as Junk Bond High, it was started shortly after New York's financial crisis in 1976, and was closed down after the crash of '87. The idea was to train an army of young accountants for civil service, but of course they all went to build fortunes for themselves on Wall Street.

The lavishly appointed campus of HSLBP was not physically in New York City - it was housed in a mansion on Long Island, with a limo shuttle service to each of the students' homes. It seems certain family businessmen, worried that their progeny were not interested in continuing their companies and relationships, reached out to the city to attract new blood into their organizations. Unlike other high schools, HSLBP had uncrowded classrooms, plenty of practical training, and a sumptuous school lunch program, concentrating on Italian cuisine. Because of generous private funding, it's entirely off the books of the New York City budget. This school may still be operating - it has a tendency to change its name from time to time.

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