There’s an inherent problem selecting the best cities for public education. Cities are big. So due to their sheer number of schools they are bound to have a few subpar institutions. Also, cities have a high volume of students which will ultimately keep graduation rates row.
You add that to the city’s high cost of living, as well as the plethora of other things that make city life unsavory, and it’s no wonder parents move to the suburbs, or the country, to raise their children.
However, if you have the income, and prefer the excitement of the urban jungle, there are several U.S. cities offering quality public education. Below are the top 10 U.S. city public school systems.
Three factors were used to compile the list: graduation rate, access to educational resources, and housing affordability.
Graduation rate was used because it’s a readily available statistic whereas test scores, like SAT’s, are not. Not only that, but what better indicator of a school system’s effectiveness than a student investing the necessary time and energy to earn a diploma.
Housing prices were included because quality public school systems generally increase property values. Therefore it’s quite a boon to find good public schools in areas with low housing prices.
One city to avoid at all cost is Detroit; it has the worst public school system in the nation. The Motor City has a deplorable graduation rate of 24.9 percent. Other cities to avoid include Indianapolis (30.5 percent) and Cleveland (34.1).
1. Boston – The Boston School District has an 82% graduation rate and is brimming with educational resources. In fact, it ranks second out of 354 metro areas. The downside to Boston is of course the price of housing, median home price is $ 432,700.
Top school: Boston Latin
2. Salt Lake City – The Granite School and the Jordan School District put 78.5 percent of their students in a cap and gown and send them down the aisle. Housing prices are relatively cheap, median home price is just $ 152,700, and the city ranks 67th on the educational resource list.
Top school: Academy Park School
3. Raleigh, N.C. – Wake County schools boats a 67% graduation rate and the city is tops in access to educational resources. The area’s median home price hovers around $ 180,000. This is a nice all-around area to send your kids to school.
Top school: Oak Grove Elementary
4. New Orleans – Despite being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Orleans Parish School Boards graduates 70% of its students. The median home price in New Orleans is $ 140,000. The down side to the Big Easy is it’s ranked 89th in access to educational resources.
Top School: Lake Forest Elementary Charter
5. Philadelphia – Philadelphia City School district hands out diplomas to 70% of its students. The median home price is a respectable $ 181,800, and their ranking on the education resource list is 37. Better yet, students have 24-hour access to cheesesteaks.
Top School: Masterman Julia R Secondary School
6. Austin – Housing is quite affordable in the Austin area as the median home price is $ 157,900. Nearly 60 percent of students leave the Austin Independent School System with their high school diploma and there’s plenty of access to educational resources–the city ranks seventh on the list.
Top School: Westwood High School
7. Charlotte – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district has a 63% graduation rate and an educational resource ranking of 58. Cost of housing is fairly low as the city’s median home price is just over $ 160,600.
Top School: Providence Spring Elementary
8. San Diego – Over 60% of the students in the San Diego City Unified School District overcome the temptation of the sunshine and the surf to graduate high school. The city’s educational resource ranking is 73. What keeps San Diego at number eight is the cost of housing. The median home price is $ 436,500.
Top School: Canyon Crest Academy
9. Seattle – With all the rain, what else do students of the Seattle School District have to do but study? The school district has a graduation rate of 68 percent and Seattle’s median home price is $ 321,500. The Emerald City is teeming with art galleries, libraries, and other great educational resources.
Top School: Lowell Elementary School
10. Honolulu – Turns out paradise is a great place to get an education. The Hawaii Department of Education says “aloha” (in a good way) to 64 percent of its students. As you might expect it’s extremely expensive to live on the islands. The median home price is $ 569,500.
Top School: Momilani Elementary School
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