The Best Places With The Best Education – Forbes.com


The Best Places With The Best Education - Forbes.com

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If there’s a mix of strong local public and private schools that are sending lots of graduates to Ivy League colleges, parents will spend top dollar to live there. But you can get a lot more than a kid with a Harvard diploma. “The investment that communities make in their school system pays back in more than the education of their children. It also pays back in property values,” says Ruth Kennedy, a principal at real estate services firm LandVest in Boston. “Property values can vary as much as 30% to 40% based on the local school district.” Indeed, in a January 2003 National Bureau of Economic Research paper, co-authors Lisa Barrow and Cecilia Rouse found that for every $1 increase in state aid spending per pupil, property values increased $20 in aggregate per pupil housing. “Given that people choose where to live based on the quality of schooling, it seemed reasonable to conclude that the attractiveness of schooling helps prop up property values,” says Rouse, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University. “The two are completely intertwined.” So where are these schools? Just ask David Savageau, editor of the 22-year-old Places Rated Almanac, which rates 354 areas by factors including cost of living, crime, climate and schooling. Its list of America’s best and worst educational communities should be required reading for the parents of any school-age child. In order to rate cities’ educational resources, Savageau looked at such criteria as local school funding (as opposed to state or federal funding); the mix of private and public schools; the student-to-teacher ratio; library popularity, which breaks down the reading habits of residents; the degrees offered by local colleges; and college options for local residents. In the most recent millennium edition of the almanac, the top-ranked U.S. metro areas for education (we excluded one Canadian entry) rated as follows: Rank Metro Area Score 1 Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. 100.00 2 Boston, Mass.-N.H. 99.71 3 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. 99.43 4 St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. 99.15 5 Chicago, Ill. 98.86 6 Rochester, N.Y. 98.58 7 Austin-San Marcos, Tex. 98.30 8 San Francisco, Calif. 98.01 9 Washington, D.C. 97.73 10 Dayton-Springfield, Ohio 96.88

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