Los Angeles--In a letter to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, candidate Marshall Tuck has called on the incumbent not appeal the landmark decision issued yesterday in Vergara v. California. The ruling found that laws governing teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs violate the California constitution and handcuff schools from giving every student an equal opportunity to learn from effective teachers. The letter asks Torlakson to stand with kids rather than his major political allies the California Teachers Association (CTA) and California Federation of Teachers (CFT), who have dumped millions into the Superintendent race supporting the incumbent.
"State Superintendent Torlakson faces a critical choice. I urge him to do the right thing for California’s students, and not appeal this landmark ruling," said Tuck. "The state’s top education official must be an independent advocate for parents and students, not an apologist for a broken system."
Tuck's letter to Torlakson:
Dear Superintendent Torlakson:
Yesterday, in response to the Superior Court’s ruling in Vergara v. California, you issued a press statement claiming to have no responsibility over the issues involved in this case. But as one of the named defendants in the lawsuit and California’s top education official, you are not merely a bystander in this case; legally and morally, you play a central role.
That is why I am writing to urge you to immediately drop any plans to appeal the Vergara ruling, and stop wasting taxpayer resources defending a broken system. As the Los Angeles Times wrote today: “It's time for the state to stop defending laws that are indefensible, and to get to work on ones that are fairer to students.” The choice is clear: do you stand with California’s kids, or with your Sacramento political supporters?
As someone who has led the turnaround of failing schools, I know that this lawsuit alone will not solve all of our problems. We will not fire our way to better schools. I believe we need to do much more to support teachers, and elevate the teaching profession. Good teachers are the backbone of great schools. But the fact is, we will never have great schools if officials like you continue to deny that problems exist and spend more time protecting the status quo than working to dramatically improve schools.
That’s why I hope you will use this opportunity to stop defending a broken system – and start working with parents, educators and students to do whatever it takes to make sure there is an effective teacher in every classroom. That’s what Californians expect from the State Superintendent, and what students deserve.
Letter to Torlakson
Marshall Tuck is the only candidate for State Superintendent with a proven record of increasing graduation rates, improving student achievement, and turning around failing schools. In this campaign, every major newspaper in California has endorsed Tuck. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Tuck for his “efforts to turn around high-poverty, low-performing public schools.” The LA Times calls Tuck “an overdue force for change,” with “the energy and vision to turn California’s schools around.”
Tuck served most recently as founding CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s groundbreaking collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District to operate 17 struggling public elementary, middle, and high schools serving 15,000 students.
Under Tuck’s leadership, these schools increased four-year graduation rates by over 60%, improved school safety and student attendance, and launched the innovative Parent College, now a national model for getting parents more involved in their kids’ education. Over the last 5 years, the Partnership schools ranked first in academic improvement among school systems with more than 10,000 students.
Prior to launching the Partnership, Tuck served as President of Green Dot Public Schools, a leading charter school operator based in Los Angeles. Tuck joined Green Dot in 2002, when it had one school, and helped them expand to 10 charter high schools by 2006. With a student-centered approach that empowered principals, teachers, and parents, Green Dot schools substantially outperformed comparable schools’ graduation rates and overall academic achievement.
Before devoting his career to helping students, Tuck was an executive at Model N, a successful enterprise software company based in the Bay Area. Prior to that, he worked in finance, and spent a year teaching and doing service work internationally, primarily in Zimbabwe and Thailand.
The son of a teacher, Tuck was born in Burlingame, CA and attended parochial elementary school and public middle and high schools. He graduated from UCLA and Harvard Business School. Tuck lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mae, and their son Mason.