Open Letter to the Billionaires Funding False Attacks on Tony Thurmond
To the billionaires funding “Student, Parents and Teachers Supporting Marshall Tuck for Superintendent of Public Instruction 2018, A Project of EdVoice”:
We are writing to demand that you immediately take down your false ad attacking Tony Thurmond.
Your ad falsely claims that Tony Thurmond has no background in education and then tries to blame Tony Thurmond for “near bankruptcy,” “one of California’s most mismanaged districts,” and “high dropout rates.” As elected leaders representing public school families in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) during Tony’s service on our school board, we know more than anyone about this situation.
Here are the facts which prove your claims false:
- Tony Has Extensive Experience in Education: Your ad contradicts itself by falsely claiming that Tony Thurmond has no background in education — yet you immediately attack him for his service on his local school board. The truth is: Tony is an involved public school parent who served on his children’s school board from 2008–2012. Tony has twelve years of experience working directly in education, including running after-school programs, teaching life skills and civics classes, and supervising academic performance, school attendance, and college readiness as a social worker and nonprofit leader working with at-risk public school students.
- Tony Fixed Our Finances: When Tony joined the WCCUSD Board in 2008, it was during one of the worst financial crises for California’s public schools in decades. From the very start of his service, Tony advocated for the Board to be aggressive in having the district emerge from 20+ years of state supervision stemming from the near bankruptcy in 1991. With Tony’s leadership, the state loan was paid off early and full control of the District was returned to the WCCUSD Board in May 2012. Tony went on to become a member of the California Assembly where he fought for more funding for schools. He has delivered millions of dollars to WCCUSD and other school districts across the state.
- Tony Raised Graduation Rates: Under Tony’s leadership at WCCUSD, graduation rates for African American and Latino males increased. Truancy rates decreased dramatically for these student groups with more students, and African American males in particular, attending school regularly. Test scores across the board improved for all groups.
Shame on you billionaires who are spending your wealth attacking a man who we should all be proud of. Instead of being for positive change you have chosen to use your wealth to denigrate a man who has overcome adversity to fight for California’s children.
It is not surprising that you are the same people who support the Betsy DeVos/Donald Trump plan to privatize our public schools. It is also not surprising that many of you funded the dark money campaign to defeat Proposition 30 which provided much needed funding to our public schools.
Please take down this shameful ad and apologize to Tony Thurmond.
With deep regrets for having to write this letter in the first place,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
City of Richmond Mayor Tom Butt
City of San Pablo Mayor Genoveva Garcia Calloway
West Contra Costa Unified School District Board Member Madeline Kronenberg