Yesterday I wrote about how Provo is missing growth opportunities and losing young families because its schools don’t compare to others in the state or country. But the bad news doesn’t stop there.
Monday, the Deseret News posted a list of the top 29 Utah High Schools, as determined by graduation rate. No Provo schools show up on the list, which of course is a problem. If Provo wants to lure families, professionals, and parents, it really has to make education a priority. And that obviously means the citizens of Provo are going to have to collectively agree to invest more resources in education. Improvement and excellence simply don’t result from wishing alone.
The picture is, however, a bit more complicated. The Deseret News article is based on new data released by the Utah State Office of Education. According to that data, Provo High had a 14 percent dropout rate and a 80 percent graduation rate. Timpview High had a 16 percent dropout rate and an 83 percent graduation rate.
More strikingly, both Provo high schools came within a few points of schools in the better-regarded Alpine School District to the north. Timpview actually beat some of those schools.
School quality is based on a lot more than dropout rate, which is why I find the Daily Beast/Newsweek findings from yesterday a better gauge of overall quality. But the Office of Education data at least reveals that Provo high schools are not abysmal.
By extension, that means Provo School district should market itself better. People are steadily moving to north Utah County for the schools, but they likely never realize how small the difference in quality may be. I also suspect that Provo School District lacks the resources, personnel and/or know-how to market itself to relocating families from across the entire country. However, the benefits of luring these families to the city would be widespread and long-lasting, so the marketing process is something that leaders across city government should be thinking about.