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04/26/2011

GreatSchools and Forbes.com Exclusive: 2nd Annual Top Cities to Live and Learn

List Reveals Surprising Stats and Trends for the Best Education Towns in America

San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, April 26, 2011 - The second annual ranking "Top Cities to Live and Learn" list uncovers the U.S. cities with the top performing public schools in every housing price range, and includes "clusters of greatness," four metro areas where multiple cities boast excellent schools that are improving education in unique ways. 

Created by GreatSchools (www.greatschools.org), the trusted source for parenting and education information nationwide, in partnership with Forbes.com (www.Forbes.com), the web site for the world's business leaders, the list challenges conventional wisdom that high performing public schools can only be found in the most expensive locations.  While affluent cities and good schools can go hand in hand, the list proves that parents don't have to compromise on their child’s education.  Great schools exist within every housing budget.  This is good news to realtors who want to help their clients when relocating to a new area. 

Of the 67 cities included on the list, the Top Cities in each price range include:

Under $199,999:  Pella, IA; St. Johns, FL
200,000-$399,999: Falmouth, ME; Barrington, RI
$400,000-$599,999:  Parkland, FL; Southlake, TX 
$600,000-$799,999:  Mercer Island, WA; Moraga, CA
$800,000 or more:  Manhattan Beach, CA; New Canaan, CT

"This list is a virtual treasure trove for both families and real estate professionals who want information on schools and single family homes at their finger tips. The two biggest life stage decisions a family makes are finding a great place to live and excellent schools for their kids," explained Bill Jackson, CEO and President of GreatSchools. "By partnering with Forbes, we are able to reach those audiences that really want this information: families and real estate professionals."

"We are excited to team up with GreatSchools for a second year to make this content available to our readers, many of whom have families or plan to in the future, so they can make more informed lifestyle decisions," remarked Daniel Fisher, senior editor at Forbes.  To support "Top Cities to Live and Learn" on its site, GreatSchools.org features two stories – one about the educational surprises revealed by this year's list, and another about "clusters of greatness". The editorial package also contains slide shows with lively profiles about each city that made the list, detailing why their schools perform so highly and what’s unique about the town.  See here: www.greatschools.org/topcities.

Forbes.com’s editorial package, "Best Schools for Your Real Estate Buck," will include: spotlights on cities that topped the list despite modest house prices and lower spending; where to find bargains in towns where houses cost $200,000-400,000; and the drop-off of scores in real estate markets under $150,000.  You can read the entire article, which includes the list of schools, on Forbes.com at http://www.forbes.com/greatschools.

Methodology 
GreatSchools analyzed 17,589 cities from 49 states and the District of Columbia, using most recently available public school test score data, and 2010 median home price and population data.  The list was narrowed by eliminating towns with populations under 10,000, fewer than five (5) K-12 public schools or unemployment rates higher than the state average.   

The remaining cities were divided into five median home price categories and then ranked based on state standardized test scores and the most recent National Assessment for Educational Progress data (the only test that is given to a randomly-selected group of students in every state). NAEP data offers a good way to compare cities in one state to those in another—even though state standards differ.1

About GreatSchools
GreatSchools is a national nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and guide parents to be effective champions of their children's education at home and in their communities.  Founded in 1998, GreatSchools reaches more than 37 million people each year — approximately one-in-three American families with school-age children. With profiles of 200,000 public, public charter, and private schools, GreatSchools is the most comprehensive source of information on school quality today.  For more information, visit greatschools.org.

About Forbes Media
Forbes Media encompasses Forbes and Forbes.com, the leading business site on the Web that reaches on average more than 18 million people monthly. The company publishes Forbes and Forbes Asia, which together reach a worldwide audience of more than 6 million readers. It also publishes ForbesLife magazine, in addition to licensee editions in China, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Latvia, Middle East, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
 
Other Forbes Media Web sites are ForbesWoman.com; RealClearPolitics.com; RealClearMarkets.com; RealClearSports.com and RealClearWorld.com. Together with Forbes.com, these sites reach on average nearly 20 million business decision makers each month.
 
Steve Forbes serves as Chairman and Editor in Chief. Mike Perlis is President and Chief Executive Officer.  Lewis D’Vorkin is Chief Product Officer.

CONTACT:
Kristan Kirsh GreatSchools
415-983-3863 (dir)
650-814-1273 (mobile)
Kkirsh@greatschools.org

Melanie Scharler Forbes
212.366.8966
mscharler@forbes.com
 
1 Cities from Nebraska were not eligible for consideration because there is no single state-wide standardized test issued in Nebraska.

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