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Strong correlation found between school rankings and parental education



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SALT LAKE CITY -- State education leaders have come up with their own analysis in response to our KSL Schools high school rankings. In April, KSL unveiled a comprehensive database on Utah high schools. The state's findings pertain to every parent.

Our KSL Schools research project ranked the top Utah high schools as Park City, Davis, Skyline, Viewmont, Lone Peak and Timpview. State Education leaders compared our rankings to census data showing communities ranked with the percentage of adults who have college degrees.

Superintendent Larry Shumway said, "I thought there would be some correlation, but what I was surprised to see was almost perfect correlation."

The State Office of Education found Park City had the most college educated adults, with 52 percent. The communities that follow virtually mirror our list.

The State did the same comparison with the schools at the bottom of our rankings. Again, the lists are almost identical.

"It says parental attitudes are every bit as crucial as we've always known they are," Shumway said.

He says, that doesn't mean only parents with a college degrees support education, that was just an indicator of attitudes.

"That most important thing we've learned from this is that parental influence has an enormous affect," Shumway said.

He says it's hard to rank schools with so many variables, but he's directed his staff to find a way to measure what he feels is the key variable outside the home.

"The most important variable in the school, in the system, is the quality of instruction. So our efforts should be to support teachers and principals in raising the quality of instruction in every classroom," he said.

KSL is currently working on updating the rankings to include the state's charter high schools. At this point, it appears they will change our top rankings.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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Deanie Wimmer

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