Why We #StandWithTom for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Walmart heirs. An oil tycoon. An Texas-based Enron trader. Venture Capitalists. It’s not surprising that this motley group is using their millions to try to influence our elections. What is surprising to some is where they’re putting their avalanche of campaign cash this fall. They’re pouring millions into the State Superintendent of Public Instruction race.

Why this race? These billionaires are trying to pull as fast one over on California voters, with potentially dire consequences to our public schools. Troubled charter school CEO Marshall Tuck’s campaign funders are a veritable who’s who of anti-worker donors. They see an opportunity to surreptitiously buy an election for Tuck, who, by every measure, is one of their own. 

First thing to know about Tuck is that he is not an educator. Tuck is a former Wall Street investment banker. While CEO of Green Dot charter schools in Los Angeles, Tuck received a vote of “no confidence” from teachers at nine of the schools.  While at the Partnership of Los Angeles Schools, he was accused of violating the civil rights of Latino students and parents.

Tuck represents a new class of so-called “reformers” who believe reform is privatizing public schools so that rich folks like him can profit at the expense of our kids. That’s a betrayal of our values as Californians.

Former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch:

(Tuck’s) greatest liability is his contempt for public education. With him at the helm, public school students would have no advocate in Sacramento. But the oligarchs would.

But enough about Marshall Tuck.

Current Superintend of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson understands what public schools need to succeed because he’s been in the classroom. As a former science teacher and coach, he has firsthand experience of the challenges facing students and parents.

As Superintendent, he’s led the charge to put billions of funding back in our schools. He’s successfully fought for to give schools $1.25 billion in locally controlled funding for things like new textbooks and school technology. He brings a common-sense approach to our schools, advocating for more funding to lower class sizes and supports a well-rounded education that includes art and music. He’s also impressed us with his commitment to career and technical training for high schools students.

Bottom line, he’s an advocate for our schools, which is precisely what the job of Superintendent should be. He’s running for re-election to continue advocating for a quality education for all California kids.

The billionaires think they can steal this one and elect Tuck. But the great equalizer to money and power is working people standing together.

If we #StandWithTom, we’ll beat back this attack on our schools and elect a proven leader in education to another term as Superintendent of Public Instruction. Join us showing support for Torlakson by using the hashtag #StandWithTom on Twitter. And don’t forget to vote on Nov. 4.