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Thurmond Stands With Educators

Superintendent gets real about privately operated charter impacts, chronic under-funding of schools

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond stands firmly with educators on the top issues facing California public education, from the need for more funding and resources for public schools to protecting local school districts from the adverse impacts of privately-operated charter schools
— positions he outlined during a discussion at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Thursday.

Thurmond told CalMatters reporter Ricardo Cano that he believes privately managed charter schools benefit some students at the possible expense of others. He pointed to major fiscal impacts on school districts statewide by the proliferation of privately operated charter schools, such as in San Diego Unified and Oakland Unified school districts, where independent charters have siphoned $66 million and $57 million, respectively, according to a report last year.

“I do not believe that the state should ever open new schools without providing resources for those schools. I do not believe that education is an environment for competition,” Thurmond said, as reported by CalMatters.

Thurmond called for additional funding for public education, noting a laundry list of issues that are caused by a lack of investment in public schools, from the economic achievement gap to teachers strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland to the ongoing situation in Sacramento City Unified School District.

“Unless something miraculous happens, that’s a district that is also going to need a financial bailout from the state,” said Thurmond, as reported by CalMatters.

Following his mediation role during the Oakland educators strike, Thurmond also said school district administrators are primarily to blame for the recent string of labor strife in school districts up and down the state. He said there is a long-standing lack of trust between educators and district administrators/board members, which is based in deceitful practices.

“There is a history in the state, and maybe in the country, of times when school boards would sort of hide the revenue that was available…as a way of avoiding having to negotiate salaries,” he said, according to the story.

After some concern last week regarding the makeup of a state task force studying the impacts of charter schools, Thurmond’s comments Thursday made crystal clear his continued commitment to fighting alongside educators for the public schools all California students deserve.

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