Inside the Not-So-Sleepy Race for California’s Chief of Schools

Campaign spending on the race for California Superintendent of Public Instruction has now reached $40 million. That’s a big number but, as the Los Angeles Times points out, so was the $30 million spent in 2014.

To what do we owe the recent fanfare surround what were once pretty mundane contests? One of the hottest proxy wars in education policy, that’s what.

On one side is a consortium of wealthy backers of charter schools; on the other, powerful teachers unions. The pro-charter forces support Marshall Tuck, a Los Angeles Democrat who lost a close race four years ago to the now termed-out Supt. Tom Torlakson. Tuck’s second try for the job pits him against Tony Thurmond, a Bay Area Democrat who gave up a safe seat in the Assembly and is backed by the unions…

Two powerful organizations, the California Teachers Assn. and the California Federation of Teachers, want the state to impose more control over charter schools. Thurmond has said that charters shouldn’t be able to “cherry pick” higher performing students.

Tuck and Thurmond, both Democrats, want to see an increase in funding for California schools. But Thurmond supports a slow-down on charters, citing issues with financing and transparency that he wants to see addressed. That aligns him with the teachers’ unions. Tuck, on the other hand, is backed by a list of well-known and wealthy charter advocates.

With another two weeks ago, you can expect the fight to heat up.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 05:34

The Redwood City School District is preparing to close and/or merge several schools as part of a cost-cutting plan meant to blunt a projected deficit of $10 million over the next three years.