The quality of American public schools can vary widely between states, cities, and even districts. Not all schools are able to provide students with the same level of education, access to extracurriculars, counseling, or college preparation.
While each public school faces its own unique challenges, each state has one public school that stands out as the very best.
To determine the best public high schools in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2022 K-12 School & District Rankings from Niche, a platform for education data.
The best public high schools tend to be in relatively affluent areas, where incomes are well above the U.S. median household income of $62,843. A wealthier tax base for a school district means that schools have more funding to hire teachers and other faculty and provide more extracurriculars.
While there are many factors that point to the quality of a high school, perhaps the most important is academic performance. Most of the schools on this list have graduation rates well above the national rate of 86%.
In many of the best public high schools in a given state, the vast majority of students are proficient in math and reading. Nationwide, only 24% of students are proficient in math and 37% are proficient in reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Students at top high schools also tend to perform well in college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT, with reported scores well above the 1058 out of 1600 nationwide average for the SAT and the 20.6 out of 36 average for the ACT.
To determine the best public high schools in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2022 K-12 School & District Rankings from Niche, a platform for education data. The Niche ranking is based on academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as student reviews submitted to Niche. Data on student count and student-teacher ratio came from Niche.