Where are the best high schools in the US?
That’s a question that occurred to me when I saw this ranking data from Niche on Facebook.
Niche uses a number of factors for its rankings, but one thing that I really wanted to see was if there were any concentrations of great schools anywhere in the US.
So, a bit of scraping, a bit of geocoding, and with some help from CartoDB, I whipped up a couple of maps. Here’s the whole US:
You might notice that Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles all have a lot of top-ranking high schools in their metro areas. I also noticed that there aren’t that many top-ranking high schools that aren’t near fairly large cities. My guess is that this is just a population effect, but I haven’t done the math to confirm this idea.
I also looked at Massachusetts and Pennsylvania:
In both, there’s a definite bias towards major cities in the area, with Philly having a few more top-ranked high schools than Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and the Boston area (inside 495) eclipsing Worcester and Springfield in Massachusetts.
This data is definitely more suggestive than it is definite, but I think it’s valuable to look at data from different angles to have more of a conversation about it, particularly with school rankings.
If you’re interested, I put the code I used for this up on GitHub. You should be able to run it on an Anaconda Python installation, and it’s not super difficult to generate new CSVs from different states to put into your own maps.