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.
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