For the future of American education, the most consequential election this November will take place in California, where charter school champion Marshall Tuck faces off against pro-public school candidate Tony Thurmond.

The billionaires and the Republican Party have joined forces behind Tuck.

The California Teachers Association and the state Democratic Party Support Tony Thurmond.

Both men are Democrats, but Thurmond received the votes of 95% of delegates to the annual meeting of the state Democratic Party. Tuck has been endorsed by Arne Duncan.

Marshall Tuck was in the financial industry, then took over the Green Dot charter chain, then ran Mayor Villagairosa’s chain of schools. Thurmond is a social worker and a state legislator.

The billionaires have donated nearly $14 million to Tuck’s campaign, compared to the nearly $4 million that the CTA has given Thurmond.

Erika Jones writes here about Marshall Tuck’s claims to fame, and how he raised graduation rates by lowering standards.

Jones writes:

“Tuck was a Wall Street banker before taking over as the chief operating officer for the Green Dot charter school chain. In 2008, Tuck left Green Dot to become CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a small group of public schools that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took over after his failed coup to take over all Los Angeles Unified schools.

“Despite receiving millions in private funding, Partnership schools underperformed compared to the district’s schools with similar demographics during Tuck’s tenure in 2009. Tuck’s failed leadership resulted in landslide votes of “no confidence” from teachers at eight of 10 schools he oversaw.

“Tuck claims to have significantly raised graduation rates at Partnership high schools, but the truth is that he just lowered the bar for students to graduate, rather than improving student learning.

“While the graduation rate at Santee Education Complex increased from 56.34 percent in 2009-10 to 69.29 percent in 2012-13, what Tuck did to get these numbers was to lower standards. So it’s not surprising that readiness for college dropped from 61.9 percent to 21.9 percent under Tuck. At David Starr Jordan High School, a similar pattern emerges: graduation rates improved 12 percent between the 2009-10 and 2012-13 school years, but college readiness dropped from 63.7 percent to 18.6 percent.

“At the biggest school in his district, Roosevelt Senior High, graduation rates fell from 67.43 percent in 2009-10 to 53.44 percent in 2012-13, while college readiness dropped from 52.8 percent to 21 percent.

“Due to Tuck’s unreasonable and inflexible mandates, parents at Ritter Elementary School, together with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, filed a complaint in 2009 after Tuck cut dual language immersion programs. Ritter’s student population was 42 percent English learners at the time.

“This year, Tuck was forced under pressure from Equality California, the largest state LGBT organization in the nation, to return a campaign contribution from the major backer of Proposition 8, which temporarily made same-sex marriage illegal in California in 2008.”

Every parent of a child in public school in California, every teacher, every graduate of a public school, every progressive, every citizen committed to the public good should vote for Tony Thurmond. He is committed to improving public schools whose doors are open to all students, not to the expansion and enrichment of the privatization movement.