Network for Public Education endorses Tom Torlakson for California State Superintendent

Network for Public Education is proud to endorse public education champion Tom Torlakson for California State Superintendent. NPE Board president Diane Ravitch says, “I hope that the voters choose Tom Torlakson, a veteran educator who will truly fight for the kids, their teachers, and their public schools.” The race in California is a test of democracy and a referendum on public education. Can the voters be hoodwinked by Big Lies and Big Money?

The 2014 election receiving staggering contributions from Big Outside Money is the State Superintendent race between the incumbent, former teacher and legislator Tom Torlakson and the challenger, former Wall Street and charter school executive Marshall Tuck. It’s no surprise that corporate reform heav y weights have come out in droves in support of the candidate with ties to Wall Street and charters.

The race has been flooded with more than 25 million dollars, with Tuck raising approximately $3.5 million more than Torlakson at latest count. Much of the corporate reform money for Tuck is flowing through a PAC deceptively named “Parents and Teachers for Tuck for State Superintendent 2014.”

Familiar corporate-ed reform philanthropists top the list of donors, including Eli Broad ($1,375,000); Walton daughters and heirs, Alice ($450,000) and Carrie ($500,000); Julian Robertson of the Robertson Foundation ($1,000,000) and Doris Fisher of the Donald and Doris Fisher Fund ($950,000). Ex NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg contributed $250,000, as did Houston billionaire and DFER friend John Arnold and San Francisco venture capitalist and TFA Board member Arthur Rock.

Why so much money in this particular race?


Torlakson released a definitive statement within hours of the decision, and has appealed the ruling that could decimate tenure laws in California and beyond.

“All children deserve great teachers. Attracting, training, and nurturing talented and dedicated educators are among the most important tasks facing every school district, tasks that require the right mix of tools, resources, and expertise. Today’s ruling may inadvertently make this critical work even more challenging than it already is.

“While I have no direct jurisdiction over the statutes challenged in this case, I am always ready to assist the Legislature and Governor in their work to provide high-quality teachers for all of our students. Teachers are not the problem in our schools, they are the solution.”

Tuck not only supports the ruling, the plaintiffs in the case have endorsed his candidacy. Tuck offered his whole-hearted support for the decision at an event he recently attended with the Vergara plaintiffs.

“For too long, we have defended a broken system that fails to put the needs of our kids first. As State Superintendent, I will be an advocate for our students in Sacramento. I will immediately push to stop the defense of the onerous laws challenged by Vergara and will work with any and all stakeholders who are interested in building a better education future for our state. We owe it to our kids, and they deserve nothing less.”

Torlakson holds the slightest of leads among likely voters over Tuck, but with a third of the electorate still undecided, it’s anyone’s race. A field poll last week found an even tighter margin, with the candidates even at 28% and 44% of voters undecided!

Public education activist Robert Skeels says, “Tom Torlakson, AALA-endorsed candidate for California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, will fight to increase education funding, fight to restore funding for science, social studies, art, music, drama and sports and fight to reduce class size.”

This race is crucial. We simply cannot allow Big Outside Money to install a Wall Street and charter executive in the California State Superintendent’s seat. We simply cannot allow Big Outside Money to spread the Vergara verdict across the country.

Re-electing Tom Torlakson will send a powerful message to those that seek to privatize public education and undermine our nation’s teachers. It will send the message that our schools are not for sale.

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