Former charter school executive Marshall Tuck and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond agree on many issues. They want things like free preschool for all children and a focus on fixing the teacher shortage. And although the superintendent position is nonpartisan, they're both Democrats.
But they disagree on a decision made by outgoing superintendent Tom Torlakson in 2015 that allows schools to use money intended for low-income students and English language learners on teacher pay raises.
Tuck said he would reverse the decision, because less money to high-need students ultimately affects their academic performance, especially in school districts that have a mix of low-income and non-low income schools.
If teacher pay raises are given across the board, Tuck told CapRadio News, “a lot of the money [doesn’t] actually go towards direct program for the students or paying teachers and principals that were serving our neediest kids more.”
Thurmond was unavailable to discuss this issue. But at a Sacramento Press Club debate in September, the Assembly member said that “the reason our English language learners have struggled so much is because we haven't had bilingual educators to support them.”
There are over 6 million K-through-12 students in California, and 60 percent of them are low income, English learners or foster youth.
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