Leaves on the trees are crisping up, the glorious smell of fresh notebook paper is filling the air– the school year has begun! So where are the kids going? We crunched the numbers and broke down the stats, comparing enrollment and graduation rates at different type of K-12 schools: private, public, charter, and magnet. (What’s the difference between magnet and charter schools? See our articles on Charter Schools and Magnet Schools)



Back to School Takeaways

1. “Charter” doesn’t always mean better:

While many charter schools are a good choice, the average charter school performance lags behind all other school types, with an average graduation rate of only 60%. If you’re considering a charter school, make sure you do your research.

View our Best Charter High Schools ranking.

2. Magnet schools offer a competitive edge:

The average graduation rate at magnet schools is higher than any other public school at 82%.

View our Best Magnet High Schools ranking.

3. Private school pros and cons:

Private schools outperform public schools in terms of graduation rate*, but they’re expensive. The average tuition at a private non-religious school is nearly the same as a private 4 year college at $22,000!

View our Best Private High Schools ranking.


Read more: Back to College By the Numbers


Data Sources:

National Center for Education Statistics

*There are no definitive recent statistics on private high school graduation rates, but various organizations quote private school graduation rates above 90%, including the Council for American Public Education (CAPE)