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Top education towns 2011:
Median home prices $800,000 or more

Clustered on the East and West Coasts, these cities offer wonderful public schools and plenty of other attractions, but be prepared for the sticker shock of million-dollar homes.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Manhattan Beach, CA

Education quality score: 97.69
Median home value: $1,278,980
Population: 37,745

Only 19 miles southwest of Los Angeles lies the scenic and sun-soaked strands of Manhattan Beach, a city with so much sand it once sold thousands of tons to build up the beaches of Waikiki in Honolulu. Manhattan Beach also used to be a summer retreat for L.A. dwellers. Today, those tiny surfside cottages are some of the most expensive beachfront estates in the U.S.

Students here don't spend all their time surfing, however. High teaching standards propelled Manhattan Beach Unified School District from fifth to third place in California's Academic Performance Index rankings in 2010. All five elementary schools ranked in the top 10 percent of schools statewide. But two schools, Grand View Elementary School and Pacific Elementary School, stood out, landing top honors as Distinguished Elementary Schools. Manhattan Beach Middle School landed on the Distinguished Middle and High School list in 2009.

Learn more about schools in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Photo credit: ColetteSimond

Comments from readers

"As a proud parent of 2 West School Elementary students, I know our teachers and administrators are tops and that my children are getting a fabulous public school education. Way to go NC!"