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California: Tony Thurmond Needs Our Help As Billionaires Swarm to Aid Marshall Tuck

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Tony Thurmond, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, needs our help. The charter industry and billionaires are showering millions of dollars on his opponent Marshall Tuck. Despite the widespread graft and corruption in California’s charter industry, the billionaires want to continue expanding their “market share” of students and draining resources from the public schools.

Please donate whatever you can to Tony Thurmond’s campaign.

The race for state superintendent has become the key race in the state because the gubernatorial race appears to be a slam dunk for Gavin Newsom, the Democratic candidate, who is leading his little-known Republican opponent by double digits.

Tuck has been endorsed by Arne Duncan and the state Republican Party.

Thurmond has been endorsed by the California Teachers Association and the Los Angeles Times.

Think of this race as the Public School Candidate vs. the Charter School Candidate, and it explains why the usual herd of billionaires are supporting Tuck. If they can capture this key spot, California’s public schools will be in deep trouble.

“With seven weeks to go before Election Day, fundraising for Tuck has already surpassed what his supporters raised in the former school administrator’s unsuccessful run for superintendent four years ago.

“This is going to be the most expensive election, period,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy…

“Thurmond is a former social worker, school board member and council member in Richmond. Tuck is the former president of Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school organization based in Los Angeles, and CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a district-city initiative that runs 18 district schools.

“Tuck will benefit from $10.8 million raised by an independent expenditure committee backing him as of Monday, compared to $4.9 million raised by an independent committee supporting Thurmond.

“In addition, Tuck raised $3.1 million in direct contributions to his campaign through June 30, the most recent reporting deadline, outpacing Thurmond’s $2.1 million in direct contributions…

“Wealthy donors pushing to expand charter schools in California have driven much of the spending to support Tuck so far by pouring large donations into the Sacramento political advocacy organization EdVoice For The Kids PAC, which runs the committee backing Tuck. Although EdVoice has donated to dozens of candidates over the past two years, nearly 90 percent of the money it gave as of the most recent reporting date went to its Tuck committee, which calls itself Students, Parents and Teachers supporting Marshall Tuck for Superintendent of Public Instruction 2018, a project of EdVoice. EdVoice officials did not respond to an interview request.

“Contributors to EdVoice include venture capitalist Arthur Rock, who gave $3 million, real estate developer Bill Bloomfield who gave $2.9 million and philanthropist Eli Broad who gave $1.3 million….

“Neither candidate can be simply characterized as “pro-charter” or “anti-charter.” Each has said there is a role for effective charter schools in public education and that the schools need greater transparency and oversight. They both support a ban on for-profit charter schools that was recently signed into law.

“But Tuck and Thurmond have differed over how to handle the growth of California’s charter schools, which in some areas have attracted students and state funding from traditional school districts. Thurmond has hinted he could support a moratorium on new charter schools. Tuck opposes that idea and has instead called for the state to keep in place funding for districts affected by charter school growth for a time, so those districts can adjust to lower enrollment.”

There is the key difference between them. Tuck wants to manage the continued shrinkage of public schools, while Thurmond wants to stop the shrinkage and rebuild public schools.

Here is a Tuck supporter:

“Rebecca Morgan — a former Bank of America executive and former Republican state senator from the South Bay — cited Tuck’s time in Los Angeles, where he led Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school network, and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, as one of the reasons she supports him. Morgan has contributed $500,000 to EdVoice.

“Marshall has proven that he understands education and he knows how to turn around school districts, as he has done in Los Angeles,” Morgan said. “He is not in the pocket of any organization, as Thurmond is with the teachers union.”

“Asked how much more she is willing to spend to elect Tuck, Morgan said, “Lots.””

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