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10 Best Cities for Education 2014

  • 10. Arlington, Va.

    First up on our Best Cities for Education list is Arlington, just across the Potomac River from Washingtobn, D.C. The city is home to 33 elementary, 12 middle, and 10 high schools; eight of those schools are private. The city is also rich in post-secondary education options; it's home to Marymount University and hosts campuses for Troy University, George Mason University, Georgetown University and many more schools.

  • 9. Melbourne, Fla.

    In sunny Florida, Melbourne hosts 38 elementary, 39 middle and 23 high schools; 28 of those schools are private. Higher education options include Eastern Florida State College, the Florida Institute of Technology and a University of Central Florida regional campus.

  • 8. Honolulu, Hawaii

    Honolulu is the capital and most populous city in Hawaii. Its schools are part of the Hawaii Department of Education, which includes 102 elementary, 75 middle and 42 high schools; 54 schools are private. Students have a few higher education options, including Chaminade University, Honolulu Community College, Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

  • 7. South Portland, Maine

    Home to the smallest collection of schools in our list, South Portland has nine elementary, five middle and three high schools; three of the schools are private.

  • 6. Bloomington, Minn.

    Bloomington is probably best known as the home of the Mall of America. But the city is alo the fourth-largest in the state with 19 elementary, 13 middle and 17 high schools, including four private schools. Post-secondary education options include Normandale Community College and Northwestern Health Sciences University. Students don't have to look far for more higher learning options, since Minneapolis is only 10 miles away.

  • 5. Provo¬†and Orem, Utah

    Some of our data combined Provo and Orem, so we decided to combine the two as well. In Provo, residents have 24 elementary, 31 middle and 17 high schools. Brigham Young University is the most prominent post-secondary institution. Orem offers 21 elementary, 24 middle and 12 high schools and has four private schools.

  • 4. Conway, Ark.

    As home to one of the smaller collections of schools on our list, Conway includes 15 elementary, six middle and seven high schools, three of which are private. Hendrix College, Central Baptist College and the University of Central Arkansas are among the nearby higher education options. The Simple Dollar, a website aimed at helping people save money and become financially sound, named Conway No. 3 on its "Most Affordable College Towns" list this year.

  • 3. West Des Moines, Iowa

    West Des Moines' schools earned the second highest city average for public school test scores on It's home to 14 elementary, 10 middle and five high schools; six of the schools are private. Higher education options in the area include Drake University, Des Moines University, Grand View University and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Des Moines. Des Moines was recently named Best City for Young Professionals by Forbes and Up-and-Coming Downtown by Fortune. The photo at left is of the 2007 renovations at West Des Moines Valley High School.

  • 2. Bellevue, Wash.

    Nestled between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish with views of two mountain ranges, Bellevue boasts a second-place ranking on USA Today's best places to live. Bellevue's schools have received many accolades as well. The community includes 45 elementary, 24 middle and 17 high schools. Public schools are overseen by the Bellevue School District; 30 schools are private. Post-secondary options in the city include Bellevue College and the City University of Seattle.

  • 1. Towson, Md.

    Towson sits at the top of our list with the highest city average for public school test scores, as seen on With eight elementary, seven middle and six high schools, the city's public schools are part of Baltimore County Public Schools. Nine of the schools serving the community are private, not including preschools. After high school graduation, students can look close to home to further their education with Towson University and Goucher College. But Towson also sits 20 minutes from Baltimore and 1 hour from Washington, D.C., so it also enjoys the perks of larger city life, including a host of free museums and monuments.