Despite plenty of criticism in recent years, public schools across the U.S. have proven their mettle.

Last month, school data site Niche listed the 100 best public high schools from more than 100,000 schools in America. Survey criteria included areas like standard of academics, student culture, teachers, cosmopolitan atmosphere and diversity, along with school resources and facilities. The Niche data came from more than 27 million reviews from 300,000 students and parents.

Many of the top schools are magnet schools — schools that pull in talented students from the districts to enroll there instead of opting for a private school. These schools sport an enviable academic curriculum, all-around development opportunities with lots of extra-curricular activities thrown in, ample scopes of competition balanced with a sports and entertainment.

Many of the students surveyed conceded that the academic standards are high and tough, and there may be a little more pressure than what students from regular public schools are used to. But if one can handle the high academic expectations, then there is immense scope for knowledge not to mention the incredible opportunity to get into the best colleges.

Above all, these schools have made a name for themselves for offering the best of education and preparing students for a successful future. Here's a look at the top 25:

  1. High Technology High School (Lincroft, New Jersey)
  2. Adlai E. Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, Illinois)
  3. International Academy (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan)
  4. Stuyvesant High School (New York City, New York)
  5. Staten Island Technical High School (New York City, New York)
  6. Walter Payton College Preparatory High School (Chicago, Illinois)
  7. Westlake High School (Austin, Texas)
  8. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Annandale, Virginia)
  9. Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (Chicago, Illinois)
  10. Granada Hills Charter High School (Los Angeles, California)
  11. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
  12. Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro (Teterboro, New Jersey)
  13. Troy High School (Fullerton, California)
  14. Liberal Arts & Science Academy (Austin, Texas)
  15. School for the Talented & Gifted (Dallas, Texas)
  16. Jericho Senior High School (Jericho, New York)
  17. Northside College Preparatory High School (Chicago, Illinois)
  18. Glenbrook North High School (Northbrook, Illinois)
  19. Glenbrook South High School (Glenview, Illinois)
  20. New Trier Township High School (Winnetka, Illinois)
  21. High Tech High School (North Bergen, New Jersey)
  22. The Science Academy of South Texas (Mercedes, Texas)
  23. Saratoga High School (Saratoga, California)
  24. Rye High School (Rye, New York)
  25. Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto, California)

This is great news, especially since the public school system has been under so much attack recently for falling academic standards and lower graduation rates than expected. What has been even more worrisome are expert opinions about America's inability to produce students who are ready to face the increasing global competition and challenge with ease.

But the recent reports for schools have been more heartening for students and parents both. What's more is they have brought forward renewed hope that one can gain outstanding education without spending a fortune.

Parents can now hope to save up better for their children's college fund without paying through their nose during the K-12 years as well. It is especially great news for families that cannot afford to send their children to a private school and yet do not want to jeopardize their career by sending them to an academically inferior school either.

The top U.S. public schools offer students all the advantages they need to succeed in life, showing them that they have the best of both worlds without too much hardship.