Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

January 7, 2013
Update: StudentsFirst gives California education an F

California scored an F on the State Policy Report Card issued this morning by StudentsFirst, the education advocacy group led by Michelle Rhee - former Washington D.C, public schools chancellor and wife of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

The organization apparently did not grade on a curve. Nearly 90 percent of the states received less than a C on the education report card, according to StudentsFirst.

The two highest-ranking states were Florida and Louisiana - each with a B-minus. Alabama, California, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming all flunked, according to StudentsFirst. They were given F's.

StudentsFirst based scores on whether states are improving the teaching profession, empowering parents and ensuring public dollars for education are spent wisely - all issues they have promoted. The scores do not take test scores into account.

California scored an F for improving teaching, an F for empowering parents and a D for spending education funding wisely.

California's K-12 public education system ranks 41 in the nation on the report card, according to a press release issued by StudentsFirst. Officials there said the state lags behind in educational reforms and should focus on implementing a meaningful evaluation system and eliminating restrictions on charter school growth, among other things.

Richard Zeiger, California's chief deputy superintendent, told the New York Times that the state's F rating is a "badge of honor." "This is an organization that frankly makes its living by asserting that schools are failing," Zeiger said of StudentsFirst. "I would have been surprised if we had got anything else."

Michelle Rhee apparently wasn't happy with Zeiger's quote and issued a statement later this morning. "I'm curious as to what exactly Mr. Zeiger is calling a 'badge of honor.' Does he consider it a badge of honor that California's education policies rank 41st in the nation? Or perhaps he considers it a badge of honor that children are going into underperforming classrooms every day in California without a way to choose a better school option? Maybe he's proud that great teachers in California aren't paid adequately and are often laid off based on seniority, not results.
"Mr. Zeiger may call that a badge of honor, but I call it a social injustice.

StudentsFirst officials said the organization plans to issue the report card annually.

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About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

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lkalb@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1073
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(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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