The Best-Ranked School Districts in America


Though not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, all children living in the United States have the right to a free, public education – and across the country, there are nearly 50 million K-12 students enrolled in a public school. But while equal access to education is guaranteed, the quality of that education is not. 

Many school districts across the country are understaffed, underfunded, and underperforming. Meanwhile, there are also school districts that are notable for the opposite reasons. These districts offer students updated facilities, a range of extracurricular activity options, and a dedicated teaching staff, and they have a track record of high graduation rates. (Here is a look at the best private high schools in America.) 

Using data compiled by Niche, an education research platform, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 best public school districts in America for 2023. Niche ranked school districts 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.

School districts in the United States are typically funded largely at the local level, and many of the districts on this list are in relatively wealthy areas, with a strong tax base to draw from. In many districts on this list, most households earn over $100,000 a year. (Here is a look at the richest school district in every state.) 

The majority of districts on this list are located in the Midwest and the Northeast, including 12 in Illinois and 10 in New York. That these districts are concentrated in a handful of states is no coincidence. State governments have considerable leverage over education policy – including levels of investment – and as a result, overall school quality can vary considerably from one state to the next. (Here is a look at how much each state spends on public schools.)

Click here to see the best-ranked school districts in America.

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