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Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election

State of CaliforniaCandidate for Superintendent Of Public Instruction

Photo of Tony K. Thurmond

Tony K. Thurmond

Superintendent of Public Instruction
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Transforming California Schools by leading the implementation of programs such as free universal preschool for every four-year-old in the state, universal meals for every hungry student, and billions in wraparound supports through Community Schools.
  • Help students heal from the trauma of the pandemic by pursuing a first-of-its-kind strategy in the nation that would help to identify and and train 10,000 new mental health professionals.
  • Help students recover from learning loss and gaps that include a number of strategies including: expanding after school tutoring and enrichment programs, leading professional development for educators focused on closing opportunity gaps.

Experience

Experience

Profession:California Superintendent of Public Instruction
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education — Elected position (2009–current)
Assembly Member, California State Assembly — Elected position (2014–2018)
School Board Trustee, West Contra Costa Unified School District — Elected position (2008–2012)
City Council Member, City of Richmond — Elected position (2005–2008)

Education

Temple University Bachelor Degree, Psychology (current)
Brym Mawr College Masters Degree, Law (current)
Bryn Mawr College Master Degree, Social Policy (current)

Biography

Tony Thurmond is California’s 28th and current State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He has been a lifelong educator, public school parent, and public servant who has served the people of California for sixteen years in elected office.  At every step, Tony has kept California's kids as his top priority. He knows how to get things done and get results.

Tony is the first Afro-Latino to serve as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California. Tony’s mother was an immigrant from Panama who came to San Jose, California, to be a teacher.  Tony’s father was a U.S. soldier who didn’t return to his family after the Vietnam War.  Tony met him for the first time when he was an adult.  After Tony’s mother died when he was 6, Tony and his brother were raised by a cousin who they had never met until they showed up on her doorstep.

Tony’s family struggled to overcome poverty and grew up on public programs like the Free Lunch Program, food stamps, and donations of government cheese. Tony grew up thinking college was out of reach. But with the help of his amazing cousin, supportive teachers, and strong public education, Tony became student body president at Temple University and went on to earn two master's degrees at Bryn Mawr College.

 

Since then, he has been a life-long advocate for youth and families. He spent 12 years working in schools and started his career working with at-risk youth, running after-school programs in Alameda County, leading school-based mental health programs, and teaching life skills and civics.  

 

Prior to his election as State Superintendent, Tony was a Councilmember in the City of Richmond from 2005 to 2008, a school board member on the West Contra Costa County Unified School board from 2008 to 2012, and a State Assemblymember from 2014 to 2018.

 

Tony has two daughters who attend California public schools. Tony’s commitment to California public schools is grounded in creating a more inclusive place for his daughters’ generation and beyond.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $1,777,979

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Building a Stronger California, sponsored by Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
$32,400
2
SEIU Local 99
$27,400
3
Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers
$26,200
4
SEIU Local 721
$26,000
5
California Nurses Association
$25,400

More information about contributions

By State:

California 96.90%
Kansas 0.74%
Georgia 0.51%
Texas 0.46%
Other 1.40%
96.90%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.75%)
Small contributions (0.25%)
99.75%

By Type:

From organizations (75.34%)
From individuals (24.66%)
75.34%24.66%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

In Sacramento, Tony has focused on equity and promoting academic success for students of all backgrounds as his guiding North Star to transform and improve California’s public schools.

 

Tony kept his promise from four years ago to prioritize public education with record investments in our school system, including securing over $6 billion in the last two years to fund comprehensive support services for students, teacher recruitment, and bilingual learning programs and work towards achieving universal preschool for all four-year-olds and universal meals for hungry students.

 

In his first term, Tony committed to making sure school is safe for all students in an increasingly diverse California. He worked to address implicit bias in schools, train teachers and administrators on how to support LGBTQ students, develop an inclusive ethnic studies

curriculum, and close the achievement gap.

 

When COVID-19 disrupted our school system and unveiled a major digital divide, Tony worked to ensure all students would have the necessary tools to stay connected to their educators, counselors, and school staff. He secured over a million computers for students, helped secure $6 billion to get high-speed internet access to all kids across the state, and pushed service providers to supply low-cost, high-speed internet to students.

 

During the pandemic, Tony Thurmond led the way for California’s public schools to reopen safely. He made five million COVID rapid testing kits available at no cost to schools and administered an additional $5.2 billion for COVID-19 school relief that provided everything from computers to mental health counseling to personal protective equipment so that students could get back to learning, safely.

 

Tony believes that we need to spend more money on schools, not prisons. He fought for more money to invest in education and allocated millions of dollars to schools to use for programs to reduce chronic absenteeism and suspensions. 

Candidate Contact Info

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