In this respect
education in Utah during the twentieth century is not particularly unique.
The state is too much a part of the social, economic and political matrix
of the times, too integrated into the highly complex technological civilization
to bear a unique fingerprint in terms of its educational development.
in Utah do, however, present the state with some unique problems because
(as of 1992) education consumes a larger proportion (48.4 percent) of
tax revenues in Utah than in any other state. This is in large measure
due to the Mormon emphasis on large families and a consistently high
birthrate. And it also means that Utah has the lowest expenditure per
student in the nation ($2,993 compared to the national average of $5,261)
but the state also ranks fifth in the percentage of personal income
expended for education. As the twentieth century comes to a close the
greatest challenge facing Utah is how to balance between the demands
of its burgeoning population for quality education and resources available.
With one of the most highly consolidated school systems in the nation,
Utah actually does more with its resources than many other states. It
has the highest proportion of its population in public schools (98.2
percent) than any other state, and leads the nation in the percentage
of the population over twenty-five years of age with a high school diploma.
As a consequence of an emphasis on large families, however, the education
system also must bear the burden of having the highest pupil-per-teacher
ratio in the nation: in 1992 it was 23.8, as compared with the national
average of 15.9. Its teachers rank forty-fourth in the nation in terms
of salary levels, but when career ladder awards are included they rank