Superintendent of Public Instruction
There are three candidates for Superintendent who have any reasonable chance to win; Gloria Romero, Tom Torlakson, and Larry Aceves.
Romero and Torlakson have similar advantages and disadvantages. They are both termed out legislators seeking a new position, not leaders in education.
In the last two years California’s k-12 schools have received over a $16 Billion cut back in funding. California presently ranks 45th of the states in per pupil spending and last among the states in class size. Currently the Governor proposes to reduce k-12 spending by another $2.4 Billion.
Since funding is a legislative issue, at first consideration it might seem that the two retiring legislators would have the greatest possibility of convincing the legislature and the governor to adequately support public schools. However, the prior to Superintendents Jack O’Connell and Delaine Easton came directly from the legislature and presided over the schools during times of massive funding cut backs. We just do not have evidence that being a Senator – even the Chair of the Senate Education Committee – does much good once you leave that office and become the Superintendent.
To understand the issues in this race you need to understand key issues in k-12 education. This will also prepare you to understand the emerging debate of the re-authorization of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) currently known as No Child Left Behind.