OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Bay Area natives, Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond are vying for the most powerful educational job in California, State Superintendent of schools.
Thurmond is a state assemblyman and former school board member for West Contra Costa County schools. He spent 12 years working in education.
Tuck spent 15 years as an educator and is a former charter school executive, currently working with non-profits that benefit schools.
Both men are democrats who share common policy positions, like increasing funding for public schools, raising teacher salaries, and supporting underprivileged children.
“Education was a great equalizer of my life and I want to make that possible for all 6 million of our kids.
“There’s 6.2 million kids in public schools in California and 3 million can’t read and write at grade level,” said Tuck.
Tuck says the current system isn’t working and sees the need for fundamental change in public schools.
“For our low income African American and Latino students we are not closing the achievement gap in any material way,” said Tuck.
Thurmond, also focused on public schools, hopes to ban 'for profit' charter schools in the state.
“I don't think people should profit off the backs of our kids and some of these schools have earned so much money and have poor track records of performance for how they serve students,” said Thurmond.
The shortage of teachers is a big issue both candidates plan to address.
“When you consider the cost of living in California, our teachers are underpaid. That's why I’ve introduced a bill that would allow school districts to build affordable housing for teachers and classified staff,” said Thurmond.
“I move more on paying teachers more verses building housing for teachers,” said Tuck.
Tuck wants to offer teachers free college tuition, if they commit to five years or more teaching in the schools.
Thurmond says he would like to see free college, statewide through small investments from citizens.
Lead in schools is a local issue KTVU also asked each candidate about. We wanted to know how they plan to address the funding shortage that Oakland and San Francisco school districts are facing when it comes to remediation. Both candidates mentioned working with the governor’s office to reallocate funds for pipe and plumbing replacements.