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.
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
||Free/ Reduced Lunch
||BROOKLYN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
||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.
||Has a Freshman campus right behind it
||2nd oldest high school in L.A.
||NORTH SHORE SENIOR HIGH
||Looks like a mall to me
||CARMEL HIGH SCHOOL
||Has 14 tennis courts
||WARREN TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL
||Split amongst two campuses for 11th/12th and 9th/10th
||LANE TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
||North side of Chicago, just like the other Chicago schools in this list
||WAUKEGAN HIGH SCHOOL
||North of Chicago, near Warren Township High
||BELL SENIOR HIGH
||SKYLINE H S
||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”
||FORT HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL
||The football field has patches of dirt on it because they have two baseball fields overlapping (space is a premium in NYC!)
||Located just 3 miles from Paramount High, the #1 school and 5 miles from Bell (#8)
||JOHN A. FERGUSON SENIOR HIGH
||Variety of programs in areas like Game/Animation Programming, First Responder, Veterinarian Assisting, Industrial Biotechnology, Hospitality & Tourism, IB program
||GRANADA HILLS CHARTER HIGH
||Regular school turned into charter school
||DEWITT CLINTON HIGH SCHOOL
||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
||CYPRESS BAY HIGH SCHOOL
||Satellite images of the surrounding area are really cool- very planned out, suburban community
||FRANCIS LEWIS HIGH SCHOOL
||Located in the Bronx
||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.
||School has been on the upswing since very dismall performances hitting a low around 2000
||JAMES LOGAN HIGH
||Regular day runs from 7:16 to 4:26!
||THE WOODLANDS H S
||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.