State Superintendent’s race: Teachers’ Unions vs. Reformers

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By Bruno Girin, Flickr

On the June 3 ballot, you’ll see candidates for California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. The superintendent is elected to head the state Education Department, but also serves as executive director of the Board of Education, which is appointed by the Governor. The current incumbent is former teacher and state Assemblyman Tom Torlackson.

Associated Press reporter Lisa Leff joined Warren to talk about this race and how it’s become a battle between the teacher’s union and the reformers. The leading candidates, current superintendent Tom Torlackson and Marshall Tuck do agree on the basic reforms that Californian is in the middle of, including the common core standards. “But where they disagree has to do with how teachers are evaluated, hired, retained and dismissed,” says Leff. “Those disagreements have been enough to make the race a pretty interesting one.”

The office is non-partisan, but the two leading candidates are both Democrats. Republican school teacher, Lydia Gutierrez, who opposes common core, is also on the ballot.