Although former Assemblyman Tony Thurmond was only sworn-in Monday as California’s twenty-eighth Superintendent of Public Instruction, a major piece of the education agenda for the next year has already been decided. Gov. Newsom and Thurmond have a long list of ideas to pursue. But like many things in Sacramento, their agenda will only become reality with the support of the California Teachers Association.
Politically, Thurmond and Newsom are linked by the backing of the still powerful CTA. The union played a critical role in helping Newsom win the June primary over former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa, who was the favorite of the charter school movement. The teachers union was also instrumental in getting Thurmond elected in November over Marshall Tuck, a former charter school administrator who once worked for Villaragosa. The CTA helped Thurmond overcome an enormous fundraising advantage as well as a deficit of 86,000 on election night.