Despite More Than $30 Million From a Handful of Billionaires, Voters Reject Corporate Charter School Agenda to Privatize Public Schools
BURLINGAME – Voters sided with students and public education this Primary Election by voting for teacher-supported Gavin Newsom for governor and East Bay Assembly Member Tony Thurmond for state superintendent of public instruction. Their success comes despite corporate billionaires, in recent weeks, pouring in millions in donations for their opponents—candidates committed to pushing their agenda to privatize public schools, divert taxpayer dollars from neighborhood public schools to privately-run charter schools and stripping educators of their rights.
“Newsom’s clear victory tonight shows that California’s democratic process is not for sale,” said Eric C. Heins, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Voters clearly rejected the school privatization agenda of the billionaires supporting Antonio Villaraigosa and showed their support of providing a free, public education to all students regardless of their ZIP code. And by supporting Thurmond for the November runoff, voters agreed that he is the one who will make our students and schools a top priority and continue to fight for the rights and future of all educators.”
As of June 1, a handful of billionaires had accounted for much of the nearly $22.3 million given to the charter industry’s independent expenditure committees to elect Antonio Villaraigosa as governor, and about $8.5 million to privately-run charter advocate and former Wall Street banker Marshall Tuck, who will now face Thurmond in a November runoff. See this revealing news infographic breaking down the charter industry’s unprecedented donations for Tuck and Villaraigosa.
By 10:00 p.m. tonight, with 18 percent of precincts reporting, Lt. Gov. Newsom had 35 percent of the vote, Republican businessman John Cox, 26.1 percent, and Villaraigosa, 11.1 percent. Thurmond was at 33.4 percent, and Tuck at 37.6 percent. Under California’s primary election rules, the two leading vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the November general election.
“Educators are excited that a champion of our public schools is on the path now to become our next governor,” said Heins of Newsom’s strong showing at the polls tonight. “Gavin Newsom has been an avid supporter of students and educators since first entering public office in 1997. Like educators, he believes that California must invest more in our schools because they’re the key to opportunity and a good life for all students.”
Newsom shares educators’ values and believes in transparency and accountability at all California schools.
“Like educators, Newsom has seen the fraud and waste in privately-run charter schools and will hold all schools to the same standards. He knows that, with investment and ongoing innovations, our public schools will continue to be community centers instead of the profit centers that some billionaires want to continue to exploit,” said Heins. “His conservative Republican runoff opponent, John Cox, share’s President Trump’s and Betsy DeVos’s divisive and destructive agenda for our schools and communities. The choice in November’s general election has never been so stark and compelling.”
Tony Thurmond also shares educators’ values in ensuring all students have the quality public schools and colleges they need and deserve.
“Tony Thurmond can count on educators’ strong support in the November general election runoff because he’s the right candidate to lead the California public education system. He knows first-hand the power of public education in transforming the lives of students. Often the best champions of public education are those who have been transformed by it. That is the case with Tony and is one reason educators know he’s the right choice for state superintendent,” said Heins. “His personal experience shapes his legislative record of advocacy on issues like the teacher shortage, school-based mental health programs, affordable housing for educators, and on keeping kids in school and out of the criminal justice system.”
For primary election news and updates on CTA-recommended candidates, see http://www.cta.org/campaign.