Marcy Winograd tought in the high schools of Los Angeles for 25 years.

She explains in this article why she is voting for Tiny Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“This November,, Californians can choose a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction with a track record of supporting our public schools – Oakland Assemblyman Tony Thurmond – or another far less qualified candidate Marshall Tuck—whose allegiance to the school privatization agenda threatens to bankrupt public school districts.

“I am a retired public high school English and special education teacher with 25 years experience in the Los Angeles Unified School District. For me, there’s only one right answer on this no-brainer.

“I’m voting for Tony Thurmond, a 20-year social worker, with 12 years experience working in schools, who served on both the Richmond City Council and the West Contra Costa School Board before his election to the State Assembly in 2014.

“Though both Thurmond and Tuck are registered Democrats, only Thurmond won the endorsement of the state Democratic Party – this with 89% of the delegate vote after Thurmond delivered an electrifying speech at the state convention in San Diego…

“While Thurmond toiled in the trenches as a social worker, running programs for foster youth and mental health afterschool programs, Tuck worked as an investment banker on Wall Street, rubbing shoulders with billionaires looking for the next hot stock. Later, Tuck—a Harvard business school graduate – became Chief Operating Officer for Los Angeles’ Green Dot charter school chain, which operates 29 charter schools throughout California.

“Green Dot schools are far from the wild success story that Tuck purports them to be. Green Dot school Animo Charter in Inglewood had the lowest test scores among all charter school chains – scoring zero percent proficient in 2005, 2006, and 2007 in student readiness in English to enter Cal State University.

“Tuck’s biggest backers – the California Charter School Association and the Waltons of Walmart fortune – are tethered to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ education privatization agenda that seeks to rob public schools of funding and funnel those dollars into charter schools that operate in the shadows.

“Out of the public eye, charter schools may hire administrators without credentials, use textbooks that lack state approval, appoint unaccountable school board members and cherry-pick their students to cast off the highest need students – special education students, English learners – to the neighborhood public school. Tuck’s list of supporters and benefactors – Walmart son Jim Walton (net worth 45 billion), real estate magnate Eli Broad (net worth 6.7 billion), venture capitalist Arthur Rock (net worth 1.1 billion) is a who’s who in the contemporary world of public education deconstruction, leaving far too many students behind and an education system ripe for Wall Street bankers ready to capitalize on a profitable burgeoning education market…

“In 2008 Tuck stepped down from Green Dot to become CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS), a small group of privately managed LAUSD public schools that included elementary, middle and high schools.

“Recalled Tuck in an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune, “ …when I left Green Dot, we were opening new schools and building new cultures and then doing some you know, turnarounds, to the Partnership where we were doing you know turnarounds of existing schools.”

“This “turnaround” resulted in PLAS schools underperforming compared to LAUSD schools with similiar demographics, despite millions raised in additional private funding.

“Moreover, in nine out of ten PLAS schools, Tuck received landslide votes of “no confidence” from teachers.

“In Watts, at Ritter Elementary school, where 42% of the student body were English learners, Tuck unilaterally abolished a prized dual language immersion program, outraging parents who accused him of disregarding their civil rights and violating the State Education Code, one Tuck routinely rails against for its regulations.

“Meanwhile, students at Santee HS in downtown Los Angeles complained vociferously when Tuck slashed their popular ethnic studies classes in which they discussed racial and gender stereotypes, as well as their cultural heritage.

“What Tuck lacked in ability to improve educational outcomes he made up for with punitive policies against students of color.In the last year of Tuck’s tenure, 2012-2013, Markham Middle School and Samuel Gompers Middle Schools reported suspension rates of 14% and 17% respectively—shameful statistics in light of the overall LAUSD suspension rate of 1.7%. According to arecent report from the UCLA Civil Rights Project suspensions resulted in over 760,000 days of lost instruction in the 2016-2017 school year alone, with students of color in grades 7-8 the most impacted, a particularly distrubing finding because repeated suspensions set up students for failure, for what policy makers term “push-out”—pushing the most challenging students—the ones who need counseling and mentoring the most—onto the street to drop out of school althogether in 9th grade. This is what they call the school-to-prison pipeline…

“Ultimately, we need a state schools chief who believes in our public schools and public teachers, not one who goes to war against them.

“California voters must decide: vote for the teachers’ choice, Tony Thurmond, or the billionaires’ choice, Marshall Tuck.”