America’s Best Schools Aren’t All in the Suburbs

The top 28 elementary/middle schools in New York State are all in New York City (#29 is in Buffalo). That group includes 6 charter schools in either Harlem or The Bronx.

And this is not just a NYC phenomenon: the best-performing schools in New Jersey are in Jersey City and Elizabeth.

Ohio’s top four schools are drawn from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Columbus.

The best school in Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia. The top two schools in Illinois are in Chicago.

To find the best public school in Texas, don’t look in the suburbs of Houston or Dallas, look in Midland.

Virginia’s best public school is not in the DC or Richmond suburbs, it’s in Virginia Beach.

Three of Missouri’s top five schools are in either St. Louis or Kansas City.

Schools in New Orleans (2) and Shreveport (3) are among Louisiana’s top 10.

To be sure, not all urban students enjoy the benefits of this revolution; about 45% of students in The Bronx, New York attend failing schools. But these results seem to indicate that the culture of competition and innovation, long in short supply in public education, is taking root most firmly in the cities—and the keys to improving American education for all can be found in the cities.