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.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

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.

(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

Latest Tweets

Education stories on

Great Schools

Find a school. Connect with parents. Worksheets & activities. Homework help. Parenting dilemmas.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31