For the second year in a row, Utah received the No. 1 ranking — among all 50 states — on the Digital Learning Report Card, a national initiative of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The report card measures and grades primary and secondary educational policies among the states against the foundation’s 10 elements of high-quality digital learning.
Far too frequently, many in the education establishment criticize Utah for its large class sizes and low per-pupil spending. In 2012 the median size for a high school geometry class was 31, and despite spending 48.9 percent of its budget on public education last year, Utah still spent the least per pupil in the nation.
On the report card, however, Utah emerges as the vanguard of the nation, with a 92.3 percent score, because the state has opportunities for students in all grades to access online courses, because it requires credit to be based on mastery of skills and content rather than on seat time, and because of its “Student Achievement Backpack,” which creates a portable education record that follows the student from school to school — and gives parents the right and ability to securely access those records.