Special Report

Best Public High School in Every State

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The majority of countries in the world guarantee the right to a free education in their constitutions — and many of those that do not are signatories to a U.N. treaty that protects the right to education. The United States, however, does not fall into either group.

Without constitutional protection, public education in this country falls largely to the authority of state governments. As a result, school quality varies considerably from state to state — these are the states with the best and worst schools

Though all school districts within a given state are subject to the same set of standards, their similarities often end there. Just as school quality and student achievement vary among states, they can also vary considerably within a given state. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for all public schools from school data clearinghouse Niche to determine the best public high school in every state. 

School quality and student outcomes are subject to a wide range of social and economic factors, not the least of which is school funding. School funding can have an impact on a number of practical implications, including class size, teaching quality, and course offerings — and better-funded schools often report greater student achievement. 

Nearly half of all public school funding comes from local sources, chiefly property taxes. As a result, school funding varies from district to district, with high schools in wealthier districts generally having more resources. Not surprisingly, many of the high schools on this list are in high income areas. These are the richest towns in each state

It is important to note that several high schools on this list, while public, are independent of any school district’s jurisdiction. These include charter schools and magnet schools that bring in students from outside the boundaries of what would be considered a normal school zone. Many of these have academic standards for admission.

Click here to see the best public high school in every state
Click here to read our methodology

Source: Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia Commons

1. Alabama
> High school: Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School
> Students: 499
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,360
> Median household income in district: $44,985

See all stories featuring: Alabama

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Source: Courtesy of Mat-Su Career & Tech Education High School via Facebook

2. Alaska
> High school: Mat-Su Career & Tech Education High School
> Students: 582
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,160
> Median household income in district: $74,887

See all stories featuring: Alaska

Source: Courtesy of BASIS Charter Schools, Inc.

3. Arizona
> High school: Basis Scottsdale
> Students: 1,081
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,470
> Median household income in district: $80,306

See all stories featuring: Arizona

Source: Courtesy of Haas Hall Academy

4. Arkansas
> High school: Haas Hall Academy
> Students: 344
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $41,158

See all stories featuring: Arkansas

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Source: Gunn High / Wikimedia Commons

5. California
> High school: Henry M. Gunn High School
> Students: 1,896
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,410
> Median household income in district: $140,744

See all stories featuring: California

Source: Courtesy of Cherry Creek High School

6. Colorado
> High school: Cherry Creek High School
> Students: 3,573
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $81,079

See all stories featuring: Colorado

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Source: WestportWiki / Wikimedia Commons

7. Connecticut
> High school: Staples High School
> Students: 1,853
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,280
> Median household income in district: $181,360

See all stories featuring: Connecticut

Source: Ruokai Chen and Arjun Gopalratnam / Wikimedia Commons

8. Delaware
> High school: Charter School of Wilmington
> Students: 971
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,350
> Median household income in district: $64,162

See all stories featuring: Delaware

Source: Courtesy of Pine View School for the Gifted via Facebook

9. Florida
> High school: Pine View School
> Students: 2,051
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,370
> Median household income in district: $55,236

See all stories featuring: Florida

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Source: Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons

10. Georgia
> High school: Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology
> Students: 979
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,360
> Median household income in district: $64,676

See all stories featuring: Georgia

Source: Courtesy of Mililani High School

11. Hawaii
> High school: Mililani High School
> Students: 2,533
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,150
> Median household income in district: $74,923

See all stories featuring: Hawaii

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Source: Andy.priest / Wikimedia Commons

12. Idaho
> High school: Boise Senior High School
> Students: 1,546
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,250
> Median household income in district: $52,257

See all stories featuring: Idaho

Source: Jauerback / Wikimedia Commons

13. Illinois
> High school: Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
> Students: 647
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,450
> Median household income in district: $66,848

See all stories featuring: Illinois

Source: Courtesy of Signature School via Facebook

14. Indiana
> High school: Signature School
> Students: 361
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,350
> Median household income in district: $36,956

See all stories featuring: Indiana

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Source: Courtesy of West High School

15. Iowa
> High school: West Senior High School
> Students: 2,083
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,430
> Median household income in district: $54,951

See all stories featuring: Iowa

Source: elisfkc from Orlando, FL, United States / Wikimedia Commons

16. Kansas
> High school: Blue Valley North High School
> Students: 1,589
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,400
> Median household income in district: $78,217

See all stories featuring: Kansas

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Source: local_louisville / Flickr

17. Kentucky
> High school: DuPont Manual High School
> Students: 1,895
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,380
> Median household income in district: $52,146

See all stories featuring: Kentucky

Source: Courtesy of Benjamin Franklin High School

18. Louisiana
> High school: Benjamin Franklin High School
> Students: 945
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $38,721

See all stories featuring: Louisiana

Source: Wcnghj / Wikimedia Commons

19. Maine
> High school: Maine School of Science & Mathematics
> Students: 145
> Student-teacher ratio: 8:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,410
> Median household income in district: $39,643

See all stories featuring: Maine

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

20. Maryland
> High school: Poolesville High School
> Students: 1,180
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,390
> Median household income in district: $103,178

See all stories featuring: Maryland

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> High school: Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science
> Students: 97
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,480
> Median household income in district: $53,207

See all stories featuring: Massachusetts

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Source: atronatic / Wikimedia Commons

22. Michigan
> High school: International Academy
> Students: 1,371
> Student-teacher ratio: 108:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,400
> Median household income in district: $126,679

See all stories featuring: Michigan

Source: Courtesy of Minnetonka Senior High School

23. Minnesota
> High school: Minnetonka Senior High School
> Students: 3,124
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,360
> Median household income in district: $113,709

See all stories featuring: Minnesota

Source: Courtesy of Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

24. Mississippi
> High school: The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science
> Students: 245
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $34,977

See all stories featuring: Mississippi

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Source: Town of Clayton / Flickr

25. Missouri
> High school: Clayton High School
> Students: 867
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $88,403

See all stories featuring: Missouri

Source: Tim Evanson / Wikimedia Commons

26. Montana
> High school: Bozeman High School
> Students: 2,106
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,290
> Median household income in district: $49,217

See all stories featuring: Montana

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Source: brklynn / Flickr

27. Nebraska
> High school: Millard North High School
> Students: 2,522
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,370
> Median household income in district: $85,539

See all stories featuring: Nebraska

Source: Courtesy of The Davidson Academy

28. Nevada
> High school: The Davidson Academy
> Students: 160
> Student-teacher ratio: 8:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,500
> Median household income in district: N/A

See all stories featuring: Nevada

Source: Ken_Gallager / Wikimedia Commons

29. New Hampshire
> High school: Hanover High School
> Students: 750
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $118,250

See all stories featuring: New Hampshire

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Source: Andy M. Wang / Wikimedia Commons

30. New Jersey
> High school: Bergen County Academies
> Students: 1,069
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,460
> Median household income in district: $59,277

See all stories featuring: New Jersey

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

31. New Mexico
> High school: La Cueva High School
> Students: 1,784
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,330
> Median household income in district: $50,521

See all stories featuring: New Mexico

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Source: Jellybean100 / Wikimedia Commons

32. New York
> High school: Stuyvesant High School
> Students: 3,368
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,470
> Median household income in district: $190,216

See all stories featuring: New York

Source: Courtesy of Raleigh Charter High School

33. North Carolina
> High school: Raleigh Charter High School
> Students: 562
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,380
> Median household income in district: $61,505

See all stories featuring: North Carolina

Source: LisaMarei / Wikimedia Commons

34. North Dakota
> High school: Fargo Davies High School
> Students: 1,216
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,290
> Median household income in district: $50,754

See all stories featuring: North Dakota

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Source: Courtesy of Solon High School

35. Ohio
> High school: Solon High School
> Students: 1,646
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,330
> Median household income in district: $98,512

See all stories featuring: Ohio

Source: Courtesy of Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Foundation

36. Oklahoma
> High school: Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
> Students: 150
> Student-teacher ratio: 6:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,420
> Median household income in district: $39,630

See all stories featuring: Oklahoma

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Source: Courtesy of School of Science & Technology via Facebook

37. Oregon
> High school: School of Science & Technology
> Students: 176
> Student-teacher ratio: 25:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,320
> Median household income in district: $75,599

See all stories featuring: Oregon

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> High school: Julia R. Masterman Secondary School
> Students: 1,190
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,370
> Median household income in district: $40,649

See all stories featuring: Pennsylvania

Source: 0xF8E8 / Wikimedia Commons

39. Rhode Island
> High school: Barrington High School
> Students: 1,116
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,280
> Median household income in district: $117,408

See all stories featuring: Rhode Island

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Source: Courtesy of South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics via Facebook

40. South Carolina
> High school: South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics
> Students: 280
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,380
> Median household income in district: $28,070

See all stories featuring: South Carolina

Source: TCN7JM / Wikimedia Commons

41. South Dakota
> High school: Brandon Valley High School
> Students: 1,067
> Student-teacher ratio: 22:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,330
> Median household income in district: $83,368

See all stories featuring: South Dakota

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Source: EVula / Wikimedia Commons

42. Tennessee
> High school: Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School
> Students: 905
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,330
> Median household income in district: $53,419

See all stories featuring: Tennessee

Source: Courtesy of School of Science and Engineering Magnet

43. Texas
> High school: School of Science & Engineering
> Students: 418
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,360
> Median household income in district: $46,775

See all stories featuring: Texas

Source: Courtesy of Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy

44. Utah
> High school: Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy
> Students: 633
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,420
> Median household income in district: $81,789

See all stories featuring: Utah

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Source: Courtesy of Champlain Valley School District via Facebook

45. Vermont
> High school: Champlain Valley Union High School
> Students: 1,252
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,240
> Median household income in district: $56,686

See all stories featuring: Vermont

Source: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

46. Virginia
> High school: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology
> Students: 1,789
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,510
> Median household income in district: $117,515

See all stories featuring: Virginia

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Source: MSPACE HOLDINGS / Wikimedia Commons

47. Washington
> High school: Tesla STEM High School
> Students: 578
> Student-teacher ratio: 24:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,430
> Median household income in district: $116,279

See all stories featuring: Washington

Source: Courtesy of George Washington High School

48. West Virginia
> High school: George Washington High School
> Students: 1,074
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,260
> Median household income in district: $46,859

See all stories featuring: West Virginia

Source: myfoxmilwaukee / Flickr

49. Wisconsin
> High school: Whitefish Bay High School
> Students: 924
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,340
> Median household income in district: $111,069

See all stories featuring: Wisconsin

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Source: Courtesy of Jackson Hole High School (Photo by Greg Hursley)

50. Wyoming
> High school: Jackson Hole High School
> Students: 681
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. SAT score: 1,290
> Median household income in district: $80,049

See all stories featuring: Wyoming

Methodology

To determine the best public high school in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for all public schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. Data on rank, number of students, student-teacher ratio, and average SAT score, also came from Niche. Data on median household income by school district, came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, when available. All ACS data are five-year estimates. In cases where income data at the school district level was unavailable, or in cases where a high school did not fall within the jurisdiction of a school district, median household income data came from Niche.

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