While the top 10 public high schools are peppered across nine different states, California leads the pack with close to 28 percent of the nearly 1,800 eligible schools in the state earning gold and silver medals. Maryland followed with roughly 26 percent of the 226 medal-eligible schools in the state designated as gold and silver.
Nearly 41 percent of the gold medal schools across the country receive Title I funding, federal funds that support low-income students. Almost 70 percent of the top 500 schools are located in or near large cities.
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Charter and magnet schools, which typically accept a limited number of students either through a lottery or application process, accounted for 145 of the top 500 schools. Because these schools tend to have flexible curriculums and draw upon a narrower swath of students – magnet schools in particular use a competitive process to draw the more academically gifted students – U.S. News also ranked these programs separately.
Basis Tucson, Gwinnett and BASIS Scottsdale topped the Best Charter Schools rankings, with Pacific Collegiate School in California and International Studies Charter High School in Florida rounding out the top five.
Loveless Academic Magnet and Academic Magnet High School topped the Best Magnet Schools rankings, followed by the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in third and Carnegie Vanguard High School in Texas taking fourth. Michigan's International Academy claimed the No. 5 spot.
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