Late last week the Daily Beast/Newsweek released a list of the 1,000 best high schools in the United States. It probably won’t surprise anyone that Utah generally didn’t do very well in the rankings.
Even worse, only one Utah County school made the list, and it was Lone Peak High School.
I happen to think Provo High is a fine school; everyone I’ve met who went there is interesting and intelligent, and it’s more diverse than Lone Peak, where I currently have family.
But the reality is that Provo’s low-ranking schools are a major obstacle to the city’s growth. Many families choose where to live based on schools. I attended Glendora High School — ranked 458 on the list above. My parents specifically chose to live in Glendora because it had good schools, even though it was more distant from my dad’s industry. The same thing happened when my family moved to Utah (after I was an adult) — they picked Cedar Hills so my sisters could attend Lone Peak.
Right now, no one makes similar choices and ends up in Provo. That means the city is losing many of the best and brightest potential families to the north parts of the county and Alpine School District. If Provo wants to stay vibrant and continue growing, it absolutely needs to compete better with other schools in the state, and ideally the country. Doing so won’t be cheap, but the investment should pay off as Provo wins new families and businesses.