State fails education requirements

Earlier this month, StudentsFirst, an organization advocating education reform, released an A-F grading scale State Policy Report Card to gauge education laws and policies of each state. According to its report, California “failed” to meet their requirements of having strong student-centered education policies.

The ratings were based on the twenty-four policies listed in the group’s agenda that were centered on three main categories: elevating teaching, empowering parents, and improving school governance and spending. Although some states had already implemented laws that StudentsFirst favored, most states were far from meeting its tough conditions. Only two states managed to receive a B-, while the majority averaged around a D, and 12 states, including California, failed.

In response to the report that stated Calfornia is “stagnant,” California chief deputy superintendent Richard Zeiger, commented that he received the F rating as a “badge of honor.” Zeiger told New York Times that “this is an organization that frankly makes its living by asserting that schools are failing…I would have been surprised if we had gotten anything else.”

Reasons that California failed include the low amount of money expended per student and the complicated and varied formulas that are used to govern schools. “[StudentsFirsts’] findings don’t surprise me because they were specifically looking for areas that needed improvement, so it makes sense that they would score us low,” Julian Rodriguez, instructional dean at Diamond Bar High School, stated.

Some critics lauded the organization for its efforts toward bringing change to education, that as a nation that ranks 26th in the world for mathematics and science, change is neccessary. Others have claimed that StudentsFirst’s theology is “lofty idealism.”

Despite the state’s poor evaluation, DBHS still ranks among the leading schools in the nation, placing 135th in Newsweek’s 1000 best high schools in the nation 2012.

“[The state’s low ranking in contrast to Diamond Bar’s] points out exactly what we know about Diamond Bar High School and about the teachers here. We do the best. Regardless of what outside agencies say, Diamond Bar High School is one of the top schools in the nation and that is a testimony to what we do here every single day in the classrooms,” Rodriguez said.