Friday, April 20, 2012

Utah scores high for quality school access, economic integration

Provo has the fourth lowest levels of economic segregation in the U.S., which translates into smaller gaps in elementary school test scores between low- and high-income students, according to a study from the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program, an organization working to provide economic and demographic research on metropolitan areas.

Salt Lake and Ogden-Clearfield are also among the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas where housing costs near high-scoring schools is not much different than property near low-scoring ones, which contributes to low elementary test-score gaps, according to the study.

Housing in the Provo-Orem area is 1.4 times more expensive near high-performing schools rather than low-performing alternatives compared to the national average of 2.2 times more. That means a low-income family in Provo would have to pay $4,921 more to move closer to a high-scoring school.

This low gap has resulted in only a 14.1 percentile point spread in state-mandated test scores between low-income, which is defined as those who qualify for reduced lunch, and middle/high-income students. That’s lower than the national average of 26 percentage points between low income and high-income students.

The Provo-Orem metro area had the lowest housing-cost gap in the state, and the third lowest in the country, according to the Brookings report. Deseret News