Torlakson Victorious in California Superintendent Race; NPE Endorsed Educators Win in Multiple Races Nationwide

Network for Public Education was proud to endorse Tom Torlakson in the California State Superintendent race, and we’re thrilled to report that Torlakson was victorious! Torlakson not only defeated Marshall Tuck, perhaps more importantly he defeated the BIG Outside Money that flooded into an independent expenditure group to support Tuck.

In all, over 30 million dollars was spent in the campaign, more than three times the amount spent in the California governor’s race!

Tuck, a former charter school and Wall Street executive, collected not only millions from supporters like Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, and a host of other corporate ed donors, he also won the endorsement of every major paper in the state.

The one thing Tuck was unable to garner was the majority of the votes in the race. Ultimately Torlakson, a former teacher, won 53% to 47%.

“We knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Torlakson said in a statement. “They were strong, but we were stronger. They were tough, but we were tougher. After all, we’re teachers – we did our homework.”

This year’s Vergara case was a central issue in the debate between the candidates, with Torlakson against the decision that declared the state’s teacher tenure law unconstitutional, and Tuck fully in support of the court ruling. In fact, the tens of millions of dollars that flowed into the race was likely an attempt by BIG Outside Money to secure the Vergara decision not only in California, but to continue to spread the decision across the nation.

Torlakson’s victory was crucial for the future of our public schools, the teachers that work in them, and the students and parents they serve. It sends the clear message that voters support candidates who are passionate about preserving the promise of public education for all children, and reject the influence of BIG Outside Money in elections that decide the fate of our schools.

Tom Torlakson wasn’t the only NPE endorsed candidate and educator to come out on top yesterday. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo won a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. Sherry is a former middle school science teacher, and the proud mother of a graduate of the Detroit Public Schools.

Anne Duff, also a former teacher, not only won a seat on the Fort Wayne, Indiana Community Schools Board of Trustees, she was the top vote getter in the race for two open seats, garnering more votes than the incumbent board president.

Victoria Steele and Randall Friese’s race for the Arizona House remains too close to call. We will update you on that race when more information becomes available.

Congratulations to all of the NPE endorsed candidates, those who won elections and those who did not. Passionate educators, advocates and politicians who support keeping our public schools public need to continue to run for office, at all levels. We must spread our positive message, and work together to change the national conversation about public education, from the inside out.

 

WE ARE MANY. THERE IS POWER IN OUR NUMBERS. TOGETHER WE WILL SAVE OUR SCHOOLS.

On Moyers & Company, Diane Ravitch tells Bill Moyers, ”I think what’s at stake is the future of American public education. I believe it is one of the foundation stones of our democracy: So an attack on public education is an attack on democracy.”

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