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Utah's school system ranks within the top 25. Here's one reason why it wasn't No. 1

Aggie Ice Cream is located on the campus of Utah State University.
Aggie Ice Cream is located on the campus of Utah State University.
Caresa Alexander Randall

Utah’s education system isn’t the best in the country, but it’s far from the worst, according to a new WalletHub report.

Utah ranked at No. 17 on WalletHub’s recent list of states with the best schools. It trailed Pennsylvania, Kansas, Colorado and North Carolina.

Utah finished ahead of Oklahoma, Maryland, North Dakota, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Washington in the top 25.

Massachusetts led the nation, beating out New Jersey, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Vermont within the top five.

Idaho finished at No. 36 on the list.

Louisiana finished last on the list, topped only by New Mexico, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and Mississippi.

WalletHub ranked each state based on 21 metrics, including student performance, school funding, school safety and class size.

The report also analyzed each state’s dropout rates, test scores and bullying-incident rates.

Utah had the second-highest student-to teacher-ratio in the country, followed only by California.

As the Deseret News reported, state and local policymakers expressed concern earlier this year about the lack of teachers. A 2017 report from the University of Utah found that almost 56 percent of those who taught in 2008 left the career by 2015.

"Compared to the national average, beginning teacher turnover rates are very high in Utah," the report said.

There are several reasons for this trend, including teachers having low salaries. That is one reason why Park City boosted its teacher salaries to $50,700 a year (plus benefits).

Heidi Matthews, president of the Utah Education Association, said better salaries and pay could help, but it isn’t the only fix.

"It's a piece of the puzzle. It certainly wouldn't be the tipping point for a teacher deciding to enter the classroom or not, but they all add up," she said.