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History of Education in Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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By the time the transcontinental railroad had made Utah more accessible to the rest of the United States in 1869, some semblance of system appeared as the ward schools evolved into district public schools, although they were still basically Mormon oriented schools supported by local taxes. Eventually these schools became the nucleus of the federally mandated publicly supported territorial district schools which came into existence with the passage of Utah's first Free Public School Act by the Territorial Legislature in 1890. There was some initial opposition to these compulsory secular schools on the part of the Latter-day Saints, but eventually they came to be accepted as part of Mormon accommodation to mainstream America.

In addition to the development of the district schools, between 1867 and 1900 some one hundred private elementary and secondary schools were established by Congregational, Presbyterian and Methodist mission boards. Their initial aim was to "Christianize" Utah's Mormon children a well as meet the needs of the growing number of non-Mormons who were settling in Utah. Few of them persisted after Utah adopted a free school system; however, they played a significant role as models for public schools and for the professionalization of teaching. The Episcopal Church established the first private denominational school, St. Mark's, in 1867. The Catholic Church also maintained St. Mary's Academy (1875-1926) and St. Mary's of the Wasatch (1926-1970), Judge Memorial High School (established in 1921) and St. Joseph's High School in Ogden (established in 1929). Currently there are several hundred home-schools operated by individual parents, and a variety of private schools-religious and entrepreneurial-have been established in the last few years.

Public secondary education did not exist until the last decade of the nineteenth century and did not become a viable part of the system until the second decade of the twentieth century. In 1910, 58 percent of Utah's 16-to 17-year-olds were enrolled in high school and by 1940 the percentage had risen to 86 percent. In 1991, over 23,715 students graduated from public high school--representing 90.3 percent of the 12th-grade students.

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Colleges History of Education School Stats
Tech Schools Utah Education Universities

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