School grades report: follow the money

A new report shows there's a connection in Utah between good grades and money. Photo courtesy of the Utah State Office of Education.

SALT LAKE CITY – A new report on public school grades from the Utah State Office of Education linked academic performance with economic status. Associate Superintendent Judy Park said the research showed that students in more economically affluent zip codes are getting mostly “A’s” and “B’s,” while kids in less affluent areas are scoring lower grades.

“We’re definitely seeing a high correlation based on economic levels,” Park said. “The lower-income schools definitely have lower grades. The higher-income schools have higher grades. We’re seeing a definite difference.”

Parents can track individual school grades on the Public School Data Gateway at <a href=”http://www.Schools.Utah.Gov/” target=”parent”>www.Schools.Utah.Gov</a>.

Utah Education Association President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh said more resources are needed to help students in lower income areas do better in school. The Office of Education’s grading report shows that the state has not done enough to fund education, she warned. 

“The light that it’s shedding is that we have inadequately, specifically in Utah, funded our schools. We are at the bottom of the barrel,” she said.

Gallagher-Fishbaugh added that the Utah Education Association opposes the state law requiring the grading of public schools, because the system does not fully account for student improvement and growth in some areas. 

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