States With Most Private School Students

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I went to a fine suburban public school, but sometimes I wondered what it would be like to go to a fancy private school with a fancy sounding name like The Summit Country Day School or The Seven Hills School (the “the” in front is how you know it’s fancy). Those are two of the most expensive and top-rated schools in Cincinnati, which run just over $20,000 a year. That doesn’t have much on New York City private schools, like Dalton, Marymount, or the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School, the latter of which is $47,000 a year. Cities like Cincinnati, where I live, are full of Catholic schools. We have 7 all-girls, 5 all-boys, and many co-ed Catholic high schools in the greater Cincinnati area. So I was curious- where are there a high percentage of private schools? Would NYC or somewhere in the Northeast top the list?

I ran this analysis of the percentage of private school students using both the state population and the total number of students (public + private) as the denominator (the results were pretty similar, but note how DC goes down a lot further, relatively speaking, in the bottom graph).  DC has the highest private to public ratio of students and Utah and Wyoming are among the lowest.

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NCAAW Basketball (part 2)


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Finally, part 2 of my women’s NCAA Basketball stats. The above data shows which states the players from the top 15 schools hail from (at end of 2016 season). Texas soars to the top with 20, followed by 12 from Ohio, and 9 from California and Georgia.  But don’t forget that the University of Texas and Baylor are in the top 15, and Ohio State is as well, and they recruited a lot of Ohioans. California has UCLA and Stanford. Georgia doesn’t have any schools but have a few close by- South Carolina, Florida State, and Tennessee. So that begs the question- are these schools so good because these areas are hotbeds for basketball talent, or are these athletes a bit lucky to live in an area with a top program, or a bit of both?  UConn has been the #1 team for years and they consistently recruit far from Connecticut for their top players. However, they, like most teams, have more local players filling out their roster, which explains some of the results.

The tables to the right show analysis I did combining my Athletes data with my Schools data to answer the question- do players come from wealthier towns, and therefore likely wealthier families? By using school data on the number of students on free or reduced lunch, I bucketed all 99,000 public schools in my data set into 5 equal-sized buckets. Level 1 is the poorest schools, or the bottom 20% (highest percentage of free/reduced lunch), and Level 5 is the top 20%. 43 of the athletes were in Level 5, and the numbers keep decreasing through Level 1. So the answer to my question is yes, players are, on average, coming from richer public schools. And just for fun, I also ran their private schools through and found that the majority went to Catholic school, but that’s no shock given the sheer number in this country.

For reference, the top 15 schools at the end of 2016 were (in alphabetical order): Arizona State, Baylor, Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, and the University of Connecticut.

Public School Data By State

Check out the data here

I created a a Google Sheet to show public school racial and economic statistics on a state level. You can sort and play around with the data as you’d like.

Looking at the results was a good reminder of how the makeup of each state can be really different. I also had no idea how high the African-American percentage was in Washington D.C. and how low it was in some states, like Idaho, Montana, and even Oregon.

There is a column showing the percentage of students receiving or qualifying (not sure which it is, actually) for free or reduced lunch. There is a federal program that specifies income levels a family must have in order to qualify. There are two states that stand out in this list as being really low- California and Maine. It is possible for schools, especially charter schools I’d imagine, to forgo the federal lunch program and do their own thing, so that can account for some of this. I also wonder if the higher than average cost of living in California results in higher salaries and therefore less people qualify, assuming the program doesn’t higher the income levels for California. But as far as Maine goes, I was not aware of them being a wealthy state, so I’m not sure why only 4.8% are on the lunch program. Maybe something to do with their smaller than average school size? Maine has many schools with only a handful of students, so they probably aren’t going to have a full-fledged cafeteria, but I’m not sure if that matters. Just speculating.

Cincinnati School Rankings

Ok, this might only interest my few Cincinnati readers (or maybe just me), but I really wanted to get some stats on the schools here. I grew up in Cincinnati, so I find it interesting to compare and contrast different schools. As an athlete, we played against many schools in this list- we got our ass kicked by the rich suburban schools (Mason, Anderson, Turpin), we beat up on the little rural schools (Batavia, Western Brown, etc) and marveled at the large new schools like Lakota West and Mason (they had a fireplace in the lobby!). The schools in parentheses at the end of each list were added because I know certain readers would want to know where their alma mater or school they teach at ranks.

There were 109 high schools that I found to be in the greater Cincinnati area- this includes Hamilton, Warren, Butler, Clermont, Brown, and Clinton counties in Ohio, and Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky. I removed online, adult and juvenile detention schools from the list (FYI the largest school in my entire database is the Ohio Virtual Academy with 11,640 students in grades Kindergarten-12th). Ohio has on average 637 students per high school- for comparison, Florida has 1513 and California has 1416. Ohio ranks 33rd and Kentucky is 21st in average high school size.

Largest High Schools:
1. Mason, Mason OH, 3246 students (largest in state of Ohio)
2. Oak Hills, Cincinnati, 2537 students
3. Lakota East, Liberty Township OH, 2522 students
4. Lakota West, West Chester OH, 2475 students
5. Fairfield, Fairfield OH, 2079 students (Grades 10-12)
6. Colerain, Cincinnati, 1903 students
7. Hamilton, Hamilton OH, 1880 students (Grades 10-12)
8. Milford, Milford OH, 1809 students
9. Sycamore, Cincinnati, 1763 students
10. Middletown, Middletown OH, 1691 students
(Anderson is 22nd, Glen Este is 23rd, Amelia is 26th with 1080 students, and Northwest is 31st with 970)

Smallest High Schools (all in Cincy unless noted):
1. East End Community Heritage School, 24
2. Accelerated Achievement Academy of East Cincinnati, 33
3. Leadership Academy of Mathematics & Science of Cincinnati, 34
4. Arlington Heights Academy, 34
5. Summit Academy Secondary School, Middletown OH, 51

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20 Largest U.S. High Schools

I downloaded public school data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the 2011-2012 school year. I uploaded all 99,000+ schools it had in its database and hope to do the private schools in the future. Below are the top 20 largest high schools.* I did do some manual sanitizing of the list to remove online schools and any schools with multiple campuses (such as Noble Street Charter High in Chicago which has 10+ extension campuses).

Some things I noted while compiling this list:

  • Some of them are in dense, urban areas but they always seem to make room for a football field and track
  • Most are located in California (mostly LA), Chicago, Texas, and New York City. There’s also one in Indiana, two in Florida, and one in Massachusetts.
  • They offer such a wide variety of programs, electives, activities, and sports.
  • A couple of these schools separate out the freshman (and possibly the 10th grade as well) into a separate building that is nearby
  • Unsure about some of the free/reduced lunch percentages, in particular for the California schools.  They just seemed a little low after looking at the surrounding area, but I could be wrong.
  • The national average for students receiving free or reduced lunch is about 48% for 2011-2012
School Name City State Students Type Free/ Reduced Lunch Notes
1 BROOKLYN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL BROOKLYN NY 5323 71% Very urban, highly selective, at least 9 stories at the tallest point. Has 3100 seat auditorium. Students choose a major much like what you do at college.
2 PARAMOUNT HIGH PARAMOUNT CA 5015 3.7% Has a Freshman campus right behind it
3 POLYTECHNIC HIGH LONG BEACH CA 4745 Magnet N/A 2nd oldest high school in L.A.
4 NORTH SHORE SENIOR HIGH HOUSTON TX 4607 67.0% Looks like a mall to me
5 CARMEL HIGH SCHOOL CARMEL IN 4555 9.1% Has 14 tennis courts
6 WARREN TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL GURNEE IL 4442 14.2% Split amongst two campuses for 11th/12th and 9th/10th
7 LANE TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL CHICAGO IL 4330 Magnet 60.9% North side of Chicago, just like the other Chicago schools in this list
8 WAUKEGAN HIGH SCHOOL WAUKEGAN IL 4293 66.5% North of Chicago, near Warren Township High
9 BELL SENIOR HIGH BELL CA 4290 7.8% 98% Hispanic
10 SKYLINE H S DALLAS TX 4289 Magnet 79.6% First high school in US to offer a magnet program to train students in certain careers. Goal was not to be a vocational school for low achieving students, but to train “superior students”
11 FORT HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL BROOKLYN NY 4261 60.7% The football field has patches of dirt on it because they have two baseball fields overlapping (space is a premium in NYC!)
12 DOWNEY HIGH DOWNEY CA 4255 4.8% Located just 3 miles from Paramount High, the #1 school and 5 miles from Bell (#8)
13 JOHN A. FERGUSON SENIOR HIGH MIAMI FL 4245 Magnet 57.4% Variety of programs in areas like Game/Animation Programming, First Responder, Veterinarian Assisting, Industrial Biotechnology, Hospitality & Tourism, IB program
14 GRANADA HILLS CHARTER HIGH GRANADA HILLS CA 4201 Charter/ Magnet 23.8% Regular school turned into charter school
15 DEWITT CLINTON HIGH SCHOOL BRONX NY 4195 73.7% In 2010, was declared the most dangerous school in NYC with 252 violent or disruptive incidents and 33 weapons seized, mostly via the metal detectors at entrances
16 CYPRESS BAY HIGH SCHOOL WESTON FL 4192 15.8% Satellite images of the surrounding area are really cool- very planned out, suburban community
17 FRANCIS LEWIS HIGH SCHOOL FRESH MEADOWS NY 4154 68.8% Located in the Bronx
18 WILSON HIGH LONG BEACH CA 4148 Magnet 9.5% Very diverse, aka Wilson Classical High. Have something called the “Wilson Male Academy” to improve graduation rates of males and encourage/prepare them for college or other careers.
19 BROCKTON HIGH BROCKTON MA 4135 71.2% School has been on the upswing since very dismall performances hitting a low around 2000
20 JAMES LOGAN HIGH UNION CITY CA 4133 0.1% Regular day runs from 7:16 to 4:26!
21 THE WOODLANDS H S THE WOODLANDS TX 4122 4.3% Cool circular building design, looks like they may have a separate 9th grade campus. Have a “Future Homemakers of America” club

*Okay, there are really 21 because I accidentally forgot one and didn’t bother dropping The Woodlands off the list.
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