Using data compiled by education research platform Niche, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 best public high schools in the United States. Niche ranked schools based on a weighted index of seven measures, including self-reported standardized test scores, parent and student surveys, extracurricular activities, and indicators of teacher quality. A full description of each measure and its weighting is available here. Charter and magnet schools were excluded from analysis.
American public schools are funded largely at the state and local levels, and some states are investing more in their schools than others. While greater funding does not always translate to better outcomes, many of the high schools on this list are in states that spend far more than average on education. New York, for example, spends an average of over $23,000 per pupil annually on public education, the most of any state. New York is also home to 11 high schools on this list, also the most of any state. (These are the best private schools in America.)
Additionally, many of these high schools are located in wealthy areas with a strong tax base for local schools to draw from. These areas include Palo Alto, California, and Lake Forest, Illinois, where most households earn over $170,000 a year. (Here is a look at the richest school district in every state.)
It is important to note that some high schools on this list, though still taxpayer funded, are specialized schools that students often have to apply for or test to get accepted. These schools include South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and Stuyvesant High School in New York City.
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