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These Are The 10 Best Suburbs for Education In America

The fresh-cut lawn, white picket fence, and little ones running around may sound like a dream—but first, you’ll need to know which suburbs are the best for education.

Natalie Grigson

Staff Writer

156 articles, 0 comments

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Today at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we’re speaking to the moms and dads out there who live in the suburbs and are just looking for the best places to educate their kids—no admittance board required.

Out of all of the places we looked at, Newton, MA came out on top. But it certainly wasn’t the only one to earn top marks. Here are the 10 best suburbs for education in America:

1. Newton, MA
2. Plymouth, MN
3. Ellicott City, MD
4. Minnetonka, MN
5. Dublin, OH
6. Wauwatosa, WI
7. Evanston, IL
8. Columbia, MD
9. Towson, MD
10. Plano, TX

If some of these rankings surprise you, just keep reading. We’ll go over the method of our analysis, then take a closer look at each of our top 10 ‘burbs.

How We Created This Ranking

We started by collecting data for 109 different suburbs using sources including the U.S. Census American Community Survey and GreatSchools.org. We then ranked them from one to 109 in the following criteria, which we deemed to be most important for a good education:

  • Student-teacher ratio
  • Money spent per year per student
  • High school graduation rate
  • GreatSchools.org rating (based on test scores for the area)

Next, we averaged each place’s score into a Big Deal Score, where the lower scores were the better places for education.

If you were one of those students who always watched the clock (perhaps particularly in algebra), feel free to hop down to the bottom of the post for a look at the top 50 best suburbs for education.

Otherwise, get out your number two pencils, some paper, and be ready to take some notes, as we take a closer look at each of our top 10.

1. Newton, MA

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Andrew Malone

It may come as no surprise that a New England city ranked atop our list, since the area is just littered with top-notch schools and known for its academia. But out of all of the suburbs in the Northeast, it was Newton that took the role of valedictorian.

That’s largely because this wealthy Boston suburb has the money to fund some really excellent schools. In fact, out of all of the places we looked at Newton spent the third most on each student: $17,343. It also had some of the highest test scores in the country, and, as the bonus point at the end of the test, had a low student-teacher ratio of just 11 to 1.

No wonder this city is consistently ranked as a top place to raise a family.

2. Plymouth, MN

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Rumawolf2

Even though Plymouth is just a quick drive from downtown Minneapolis, residents don’t need to go anywhere for a good education, especially when it comes to individual attention for their students.

That’s because the student-teacher ratio in this city was just 11 to 1. Seeing as though Plymouth students have earned some of the highest test scores in the nation (a score of nine out of 10), and 96 percent of high school students graduate, this is clearly paying off.

3. Ellicott City, MD

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office

Ellicott City is the first of three suburbs in Maryland to appear on our list, and it’s no wonder why.

It has a beautiful historic downtown filled with charming shops and restaurants, it’s one of the most affluent communities in the area, oh, and it has some of the best schools in the country.

It seems to be largely because of Ellicott City’s affluence that its schools are doing so well. Out of all the places we looked at, this city ranked No. 6 for the money it spent per student, and with a score of nine out of 10 from Greatschools.org, these students are putting that money to good use, earning some of the highest test scores in the country.

4. Minnetonka, MN

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Minnemom

Perhaps it’s just too cold in this Minnesota suburb to do much else but study, but whatever the reason, it certainly seems to be working out.

Students in Minnetonka had among the highest test scores in the nation, earning an eight out of 10. Plus, they had one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation at 96 percent.

Aside from the frigid winters (most likely spent in the library or by a roaring fire with a text book, right kids?), Minnetonka’s excellent test scores and high graduation rate probably had a little something to do with the low student-teacher ratio of just 14 to 1.

5. Dublin, OH

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Wikimedia user Nheyob

Dublin may be known for its many annual festivals, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Irish Festival, but when it comes to time to get serious, it seems students know when to take off their party hats and hit the books.

After all, these kids are earning some of the highest test scores in the nation, with a nine out of 10 from Greatschools.org. They also had one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country at 97 percent.

To put that into perspective for you, just take a look at San Elizario, TX or Cicero, IL, where only 32 and 48 percent of high schoolers managed to earn diplomas.

Dublin, can you send these guys some tutors or something?

6. Wauwatosa, WI

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Matthew Juzenas

Yet another suburb which brings about the question: do frigid temperatures mean more time to study? It certainly seems like that might be the case, at least in this Milwaukee suburb.

Sure, the student-teacher ratio of just 14 to 1 probably had a little something to do with it, and yes, the average of $15,000 spent on each student, but no matter the reason, these kids had some of the highest graduation rates and test scores in the country.

7. Evanston, IL

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Colleen McMahon

As home to much of the Northwestern University campus, it may be no surprise that Evanston is one of the best suburbs for education—even for younger students.

Evanston had some of the highest test scores anywhere (with a score of eight out of 10), plus a high school graduation rate of 91 percent.

Of course, the fact that this city spends the 12th most on their students might have a little something to do with it; while money certainly can’t buy intelligence, it can sure help to equip a classroom.

8. Columbia, MD

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user MarylandGovPics

Another wealthy suburb in Howard County, it’s no surprise that Columbia also ranked well for the amount spent on each student ($16,925; the same amount spent in Ellicott City). But where Columbia really got top marks was for its low student-teacher ratio of just 13 to 1.

With such individual attention and good funding, Columbia students have one of the best high school graduation rates in the country:94 percent, where the average of all the places we looked at was 85 percent.

9. Towson

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Sikeri

The third and final of the Maryland suburbs on our list is Towson. Located in Baltimore County, this city, like both Columbia and Ellicott City before it, ranked well for the amount of money spent on each student (here, slightly less than the other two with $14,762), and of course, for its excellent test scores.

Towson was given a nine out of 10 for its high test scores, plus, the community had a high school graduation rate of 91 percent, a number that may not be quite as high as, say, Dublin’s 97 percent, but as any good student knows, it’s still an A.

10. Plano, TX

Best Suburbs For Education

Source: Flickr user Hans Johnson

If you’re surprised to see Plano, TX on our list, well, you must not live here. Locals know that this Dallas suburb receives high marks pretty much across the board—it’s affluent, safe, and,according to these numbers, an all-star student.

Not only did Plano have one of the lowest student-teacher ratios of 14 to 1, but it also had a high school graduation rate of 94 percent and some of the highest test scores in the nation.

No Need To Be Snooty

Private schools in big cities may be all the rage right now, but for the millions of Americans living life in the ‘burbs looking for the best education, these 10 places can’t be beat.

If you happen to be looking for your own suburban lifestyle complete with some of the best schools in the nation, any one of these 10, or even 50 below, might just be the place of your dreams—and we can help you find the home of your dreams there.

Featured image source: Flickr user

Best Suburbs For Education

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posted on: August 12, 2015
207,316 views, 4 comments

4 Comments

  1. Mike Roche

    So proud to be a resident of Evanston, IL. Our kids had a great education and prospered in college thanks to Districts 65 & 202.

  2. Minnie choice

    This is amazing, I was born in Evanston, Illinois attended Grade and High School. I love this city and it’s also the home of Northwestern University. I am so proud of my city. Hope it never changes. Was born 87 years ago in Evanston and it holds so many fond memories.

  3. Marie S.

    Maybe Wauwatosa had these stats years before our Gov. Scott Walker cut school funding for the state, froze property tax so local communities could not get funding even that way! We had a loss of 30% of the teachers and supporting staff. The schools do not feel safe. In July the board fired over 60% of the buildings, grounds and custodian staff. Teachers are afraid of the school board. Technology is great, but a great teacher is worth their weight in gold. What a great learning environment. Let’s see what it ranks next year.

  4. Chris Neave

    During the coming year, I predict that near city suburbs should perform strongly due to fact that the ripple effect at the bottom end of the market will flow into higher priced properties as the year progresses. For investors, these more expensive suburbs do offer investment opportunities because you don’t have to buy a high priced home in these areas to gain a foot in the property market.

 

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