California’s Central Valley scores poorly in education study

California’s Central Valley scores poorly in education study

California’s Central Valley scores poorly in education study


Two cities in California’s Bay Area were named the most educated metropolises in the country, while five Central Valley cities were ranked in the bottom 10 in a WalletHub study released July 2.

Visalia, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, had the dubious distinction of finishing last in the state and nation in the survey, which ranked the top 150 U.S. metropolitan areas on 11 key metrics, including adults with a high school diploma, college attendance or graduation rates and quality of primary and secondary educational institutions.

While the study is a motivation to increase educational opportunities in the region, City of Visalia Mayor Brian Poochigian said studies like WalletHub’s investigation paint a false picture of Visalia and the region. College of the Sequoias, a community college in Visalia, has recently partnered with Fresno State to offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs on campus, and the area has close ties to Fresno State and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

“We’ve worked hard to increase college and career opportunities in our city,” Poochigian said.

Other San Joaquin Valley cities at the bottom of the list include Stockton, Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield. Salinas, on California’s Central Coast, also fared poorly in the study.

San Jose and San Francisco are among the top 10 cities with the highest educational attainment in the country, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, ranked first.

Here’s how California cities were ranked (from most educated to least educated) and their overall total score:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (#2): 82.12
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA (#6): 80.76
  • San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA (#23): 67.98
  • Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, California (#49): 59.44
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA (#52): 58.36
  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA (#64): 56.20
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (#87): 52.05
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California (#92): 51.23
  • Vallejo, California (#121): 41.79
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (#137): 32.36
  • Fresno, California (#140): 29.24
  • Salinas, CA (#142): 28.57
  • Stockton, California (#145): 24.51
  • Modesto, California (#146): 18.55
  • Bakersfield, California (#147): 17.73
  • Visalia, California (#150): 9.44

Why are educational levels important for California cities?

According to the study, an educated workforce significantly boosts the economy and can better withstand economic shocks.

“Highly educated people move to places where there are good jobs and good services,” said Gaurav Khanna, an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. “In this way, local authorities can encourage high-tech companies to open stores and invest in services (schools, housing, etc.).”