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Torlakson wins teachers’ endorsement

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 2:21 pm in 2010 election.

Torlakson

Torlakson

The California Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO has endorsed Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, as its choice for state superintendent of schools.

Incumbent Superintendent Jack O’Connell terms out next year.

Read on for the full press release:

CONCORD—The California Federation of Teachers has announced its endorsement of Tom Torlakson for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Torlakson is running to succeed Jack O’Connell after he is termed out of office in 2010.

“Of all the candidates for this office, the California Federation of Teachers believes Tom Torlakson is the one who has the integrity, intelligence, and experience to be an outstanding Superintendent of Public Instruction,” said California Federation of Teachers Political Director Kenneth Burt. “We look forward to working with you on issues pertaining to California’s education system and protecting the interest of working families.”

“As a former member of the California Federation of Teachers, I am so pleased to receive this important endorsement of my campaign,” said Torlakson, who began his career in public service as a high school teacher and coach. “I know how hard members of the California Federation of Teachers work each day to help each of our children succeed.”

“I look forward to working with the California Federation of Teachers and its members to fight for our kids and restore our public education system to the top ranks in the nation,” added Torlakson.

Tom Torlakson the only candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction who is both an elected official working to improve our schools at the state level and also a classroom teacher and coach focused on the everyday challenges of his students.

A second-generation teacher, Tom has applied his experience as a science teacher and high school coach to reform the way public education works as a member of the State Legislature. Tom has acted to improve student nutrition and physical education, give schools the funding support they need to ensure academic achievement, and reduce the dropout rate. He has also worked diligently to protect education funding.

In 1998 Tom authored legislation that has led to the development of the largest system of after school programs in the nation. In 2006, he authored the bill that led to a 300 percent expansion in these programs—so they now reach 4,000 schools around the state. Tom authored the Quality Education Improvement Act in 2006, which dedicates nearly $3 billion to our lowest performing schools. Tom also played a key role negotiating and authoring the $9 billion Proposition 1A bond measure in 1998—which has led to public votes supporting over $35 billion to build new schools and improve existing school buildings.

Tom championed legislation to increase funding for textbooks, computers, and other instructional materials; bills to enhance campus safety, close the digital divide, eliminate the achievement gap, improve student health, and reduce the horrible drop-out rate. Tom has also authored legislation to improve the safety of our children and students—including landmark legislation to regulate amusement park rides, improve reporting of sexual assaults and other crimes against children, combat hazing, and make our schools safer for students and teachers.

As the chair and founder of the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness, Tom has been a leader on banning junk food from our schools, providing healthier school meals, and promoting student health and fitness.

Tom is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction so he can fight for our kids. He wants to ensure parents can send their children to a safe, quality school in their own neighborhood. He will seek to expand career and technical education for high school students, protect college-prep courses and arts and music programs, and make sure the management of local school districts measures up to the highest standards of excellence. For more information on his campaign, please visit www.TomTorlakson.com, www.facebook.com/torlakson, www.twitter.com/TomTorlakson.

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  • Common Tater

    Of course, Torlakson got the CFT endorsement. He never met a raise in teacher’s salaries that he didn’t like.

  • Bill B.

    Where do Mr. Torlakson and other contenders for the office of California Superintendent of Public Instruction stand on the high school exit exam? Superintendent O’Connell has been relatively good at upholding the high school exit exam, especially against considerable criticism from those who called for “alternatives” and other mechanisms that would have undermined its true value as a universal benchmark for measurement of student achievement. Superintendent O’Connell likely will go down in history as someone who effectively used the office for the common good, not to advance or to protect special interests (such as the “big bosses” of the teachers’ unions). If Mr. Torlakson demonstrates similar independence in standing up to the teachers’ unions whenever the public interest outweighs their demands(despite their endorsement), then he has my vote. However, if Mr. Torlakson is just a “pawn” of these unions and other similar special interest groups, then the voters should elect a different candidate.

  • John W

    Anybody else even running for the job? I’m a Democrat, but doubt you’ll see Torlakson taking on the unions on such issues as accountability, tenure and charter schools. I’m not in favor of this being an elected position. It strips the elected governor of any ability to influence public policy in the area that accounts for half the state budget. The average voter pays more attention to what the governor and candidates for governor say about public education and gives little thought to who is running for Superintendent.