Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction

In a race that pits a charter school exec against a social worker to lead California’s Dept. of Education as Superintendent of Public Instruction, it is big money versus educators.

That is the assessment by Associated Press and the Washington Post of “a race that will test whether billionaires can buy California’s public schools and higher education systems,” says Cecil Canton, CFA Associate VP-Affirmative Action North.

Tony Thurmond, who CFA and CTA endorsed for the post, was elected to the California State Assembly in 2014. He has been a teacher, social worker, city councilman and school board member. His opponent is a former banker who led a network of charter schools in Los Angeles, after which, he started a nonprofit using money from wealthy donors.

When Thurmond addressed the CFA Assembly earlier this month, he said, “I’m proud to say [my opponent] is endorsed by billionaires. I’m endorsed by educators. Teachers believed in me and helped me succeed. Public education literally saved my life.”

Following on that, he said, “I have met them, some billionaires, and they said ‘Tony you should focus on the kids who show potential.’ I reject that notion. All kids show promise and potential.”

Thurmond reiterated some of the ideas in his plan for education in California, including grants for foster children to go to college, dual language education, keeping profiteers out of public education, and closing tax loopholes in corporate property taxation to add $11 billion to school funding.

Click here to help CFA campaign for Thurmond in this last week of the Nov. 6 election.

PHOTO: CFA members stood with Tony Thurmond after his talk to the CFA 88th Assembly on October 21. Left to right: Ajit Abraham (Monterey Bay), George Station (Monterey Bay), Chris Cox (San José), Jennifer Eagan (East Bay), Charles Toombs (San Diego), Tony Thurmond, Chris Brown (Fullerton), Laurie Walkington (San Marcos), Melina Abdullah (Los Angeles), Sharon Elise (San Marcos), Molly Talcott (Los Angeles), and Audrena Redmond (CFA Staff).