Two Democrats are battling to become California’s superintendent of education—one is opposed to most school reforms, and the other is broadly in favor. Education reform has become a hot issue in California, where nine young students have taken the state to court over its teacher tenure policies.Reuters reports:
Former charter school executive Marshall Tuck said on Friday he planned to unleash campaign ads and social media outreach next week to unseat incumbent state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, a former lawmaker and teacher who has the backing of unions and the state party organization. […]“[Tuck] doesn’t support school vouchers, he believes in separation of church and state and he wants to keep the money in public schools,” not privatize them, said his campaign manager Cynara Lilly.Tuck said in an interview on Friday he supports teachers’ right to organize, but unions have “too big a seat at the table.” He opposes rules that require teachers with the least seniority to be the first fired during layoffs, and is against granting teachers tenure after just two years on the job. […][The incumbent] Torlakson has supported such elements of the reform agenda as stricter academic standards and a new plan by California Governor Jerry Brown to give schools more control over the state money they receive. But he is opposed to privatization or rolling back teachers’ job protections.
More Democrats inside and outside California have begun supporting school reform, according to Reuters. The Obama administration has proposed evaluating teachers based on their students’ test scores, and, as we noted yesterday, the popular charter school movement has found champions in a few Congressional Democrats.The California election will be a fight to watch, and an indication of how school reform might play in other blue states. Could the winds of change be blowing in from the west?