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Marshall Tuck, Tony Thurmond Promoting Their Campaigns for State Superintendent

May 8, 2017

The two declared candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction both drew attention to their policy positions during the month of April.

On April 27, candidate Marshall Tuck published an opinion piece in LA School Report, an advocacy-oriented online news site covering education and politics in Los Angeles. In the opinion piece, Tuck stressed that while he is a longtime advocate for non-profit charter schools, he opposes charter schools that do business on a for-profit basis. Tuck wrote:

“...While I know from experience that nonprofit public charter schools can offer opportunity and hope in some of our most underserved neighborhoods, I’ve also seen how for-profit schools fail to serve students’ best interests. Thanks in part to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, her home state of Michigan leads the nation in for-profit charter schools and provides many examples of the corrosive influence of the profit motive in managing public schools. One such school used taxpayer money to pay $5 million for a piece of property valued at $3.2 million. The school’s for-profit operator had a financial stake in the company that sold the school the overpriced land.

“Our public schools must have one bottom line, and it should not be profit. Doing what’s best for kids must be the mission of every school in California. No school should ever be caught between squeezing out a larger profit for shareholders and delivering stronger services for kids.

“While the Trump Administration threatens the very promise of public education with its proposals to take money from things like teacher training and put it into private and for-profit schools, California should lead the way. By outlawing for-profit charter schools, we can protect students and taxpayers, and ensure our public education dollars go to classrooms, not profits. Let’s put aside the usual political bickering and stand together for students. I urge the state legislature to find common ground that puts our students above all.”

To read Tuck’s complete piece, click on the link below:

http://laschoolreport.com/marshall-tuck-support-nonprofit-charter-schools-ban-for-profit-charters/

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The other declared candidate – Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) – sent out press releases promoting proposed legislation that Thurmond has authored. An April 26 press release from Thurmond’s office said:

AB 43 authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) passed the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee on Monday. The bill provides additional revenue for preschool and after-school programs, both proven to lower incarceration rates. AB 43 accomplishes this by taxing private prisons and other for-profit businesses that contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

“I commend the Revenue and Tax Committee members for moving this bill forward,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “Investing in early education and after-school programs has proven to be a successful method to reduce the possibility of incarceration. Let’s educate our youth and not profit from their incarceration.”

California spends huge amounts to incarcerate prisoners. Current active contracts between for-profit companies and the CDCR total approximately $4.5 billion. In comparison, the state spends relatively little on programs known to prevent incarceration.

Companies continue to profit as a result of high state incarceration rates. These for-profit companies provide goods and services to state facilities, at a markup. In effect, taxpayers are stuck footing the bill while these companies see large profits for goods and services due to California’s prison population.

Studies show that access to high-quality preschool programs results in a 20% lower likelihood of incarceration. Preschool attendance also leads to an increased likelihood of attending a four-year college and higher lifetime income earnings compared to those who do not attend preschool

Effective after-school programs bring a wide range of benefits to youth, families and communities. After-school programs have proven to enhance academic performance, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for the children of working parents.

AB 43 addresses the prison to pipeline system. This bill drastically changes the trend of reducing our prison population beyond focusing on recidivism or sentence reductions this bill will reduce the prison population.

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, California Federation of Teachers, California Nurses Association, Californians for Justice, City of Berkeley, Partnership for Children and youth, and SEIU are in support of this bill. First 5 Association of California and the California Teacher Association are co-sponsors of this bill.

Another press release from Thurmond’s office on April 26 said:

AB 261, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), would authorize student school board members to have a preferential vote. AB 261 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee this morning with bipartisan support.

“I am pleased that the Assembly Appropriation members and I are on the same page about giving students a voice about decisions that impact them in school,” said Assemblyman Thurmond. “Student board members represent the largest stakeholder group in the education system—students. “AB 261 empowers students to get more engaged in their education, because they are active participants at all levels – not just in the classroom, but in the decision-making process as well.”

Preferential voting rights gives a student board member the ability to clearly show where the students stand on issues.

AB 261 would authorize the governing board to allow preferential voting for the voting member(s) of the governing board. Preferential voting means a formal expression of opinion that is recorded in the minutes and cast prior to the official vote of the governing board. A preferential vote will not serve in determining the final numerical outcome of a vote.

LAUSD, the largest district in the state of California, recently established the Student Board Member position with preferential voting rights.

And a third press release from Thurmond’s office on April 26 said:

AB 254, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), will ensure access to health and mental health services for all students. The bill passed the Assembly Education Committee this afternoon with bipartisan support.

“I would like to thank my colleagues on the Assembly Education Committee for keeping the conversation open about ensuring health access for all students,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “All students, regardless of economic circumstances, deserve an opportunity to pursue an education and get the healthcare they need to remain active in school. Providing school children with on-site access to healthcare and mental health services will lead to better attendance and academic performance outcomes for our students and schools.”

California joined other states in reversing the “Free Care Rule.” The reversal frees up schools to seek reimbursement for services to all Medi-Cal students, while enhancing and expanding the role of school districts in the broader health delivery system.

In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to move towards the “Whole Person Care” model. This model extends specifically to the unique needs of vulnerable populations facing significant barriers to access – specifically children and youth in Medi-Cal. These populations are more likely to experience a multitude of physical and behavioral health issues stemming from or amplified by psychosocial challenges such as food insecurity, abuse, or substance misuse in their household. Given this, school-based, school-linked, and community health providers must ensure access to health and mental health services. School settings present an important resource for the delivery of both physical and mental health.

AB 254 provides school districts the funding needed to expand services, both health and mental health. School-based health improves academic achievement, increases attendance, reduces dropout rates, improves behavior, and promotes parent engagement.

The California State PTA, California Alliance of Child and Family Services, and California School Nurses Association are in support of this bill.

Sources:  LA School Report, Office of Assemblymember Tony Thurmond.



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