A large crowd filled the Steamfitters Union Hall in Concord as Tom Torlakson, (D-Assembly-Martinez) spoke with supporters of his campaign to be the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Having just won a 5 Kilometer Foot Race that morning and receiving the gold medal in his agre group, the gathering called a Sprint to Victory was aptly named.
With an introduction by Susan Bonilla, who is running for Tom’s termed out Assembly Seat and herself a teacher, Torlakson was cheered by a combination of three educator groups who have endorsed him: the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, and the California School Educators Association.
State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Senate-Concord) also delivered kind words, noting that, “Tom Torlaskon is the Teachers’ Choice.” Being a union hall, Tom’s union supporters were there with key team members from the Steamfitters, IBEW, AFSCME and the SEIU.
Torlakson is a former science teacher that is looking to make a complete circle in his career returning to the education field he started in before a diversion through politics. He spoke of the need to increase funding to the schools throughout the state and the need to focus on raising at-risk school kids from low performance schools as a means to combat crime and other social issues.
Tom supports/sponsored the Quality Education Improvement Act which he says will direct the school system on a path to improvement. He also addressed the importance of providing support to low performance elementary schools. He used giving Livermore’s Marylin Avenue Elementary as an example. That school moved up 130 points in its API scoring and reached a 10 rating out of 10 this year in the school state ranking system. Torlakson set as his goal bringing the California’s school system back to the top five of the nation rather than in the bottom five.
In discussing the issues in the campaign with his staff, Tom strongly opposes voucher systems and anything that would divert resources from the public schools. He urged that charter schools be brought into the same accountability as the mainstream schools as far as standards are concerned and is opposed to unrestricted charter systems.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is a bi-partisan position that will be voted on in the June 8th election, with a run off of the top two in November if no one gets a majority.