California State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson is
one of the best education leaders. As an experienced classroom
teacher, he knows what teachers and students need. As a veteran of
the Merchant Marine, he has a steady hand on the tiller. As a
former legislator, he knows how to work with the legislature. He
had the wisdom and foresight to avoid Race to the Top, knowing that
a “win” would cost the state $3 billion to comply with federal
mandates. Naturally, the billionaires can’t stand Torlakson because
they don’t control him. Worse, he does not share their ideology of
blowing up public education and calling it “innovative.” So they
are running a candidate against Tom Torlakson. He is Marshall Tuck, who ran Mayor
Villaraigosa’s 15 schools and compiled a mediocre and unimpressive
record. He has also been president of the Green Dot charter chain.

One of Tuck’s big issues: he wants teachers to be evaluated by student test scores.
This is a bad policy that has led to teaching to the test,
narrowing the curriculum, and firing good teachers who teach the
neediest children. With the support of the corporate reformers,
eager to privatize as many public schools as possible, Tuck can
count on big money from the big-money guys who tried to unseat
Steve Zimmer (and lost) and then got beaten by a teacher with no
outside funding, Monica Ratliff.

Tom Torlakson deserves to be
re-elected. He is a fighter for kids, teachers, and public
education. He understands the importance of public education in a