Marshall Tuck Concedes to Tony Thurmond in Race for State Superintendent of Schools

Two-term Assemblyman Tony Thurmond has defeated Marshall Tuck in the race for California’s next chief of schools. Tuck called Thurmond to concede Saturday after Thurmond pulled ahead by 152,000 votes. There were still two million ballots to be counted and the results are expected to be certified early next month.

“I intend to be a champion of public schools and a Superintendent for all California students,” said Thurmond, a former social worker and school board member who now represents the East Bay in Sacramento. “I ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction to deliver to all Californians the promise that public education delivered to me – that all students, no matter their background and no matter their challenges, can succeed with a great public education.”

Tuck wrote to his supporters Saturday as well.

“I recognize that change is very hard and politics, particularly when you lose, can be disheartening. I remind myself that winning the election isn’t the end goal. The end goal is that all children in this state and country, regardless of background, get access to quality public schools. Reaching that goal is going to take a lot of work and absolutely requires us to get over this loss quickly. We must continue to be extremely determined to do our part to help our children.”

Thurmond’s win is a major victory for teachers unions and the California Democratic Party, which backed him in the race. It’s a tremendous blow for charter school advocates who poured millions into Tuck’s campaign.

As EdSource notes, teachers unions have backed every superintendent of public instruction over the past 24 years, so Thurmond’s win is a continuation of that trend. He is only the second African American to hold the post. The last, Wilson Riles, served three terms before he was unseated in 1982.

As Superintendent of Public Instruction, Thurmond has said he will advocate for an eight-year plan to boost state spending on public schools; push back against school privatization and charter schools; and advocate for mental care in schools, bilingual education, and improvements for disadvantaged students.

Read more about what Thurmond’s win might mean for K-12 education at CalMatters