Decision 2014: Marshall Tuck and education

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Education is always near the top of concerns among voters. Though California passes school bonds, and even increases taxes for schools, California remains near the bottom in education.

According to Marshall Tuck part of the problem is a massive bureaucracy, and an education code that is geared more toward the teachers, than students, and parents.

41-year-old newcomer Marshall Tuck is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction against incumbent Tom Torlakson, a Sacramento fixture who is labor’s candidate.

Marshall Tuck kicked off an education bus tour in San Diego Monday morning.

Normally, this down-ballot race gets little attention, but it is a hot button issue this year because a court has ruled that teacher tenure, and the near impossibility of firing a teacher is unconstitutional because it is depriving kids of an education they deserve.

“There are two-and-a-half million children in public schools right now that cannot read and write at grade level, two-and-a-half million. If that’s doesn’t tell you that we need fundamental change, I don’t know what else does,” said Tuck.

Current Superintendent Tom Torlakson is appealing the ruling because he wants to maintain the status quo.

“My opponent, after a judge ruled for the kids, is actually siding with the union, the California Federation of Teachers, and they’re the only folks appealing this lawsuit,” said Tuck.

We’ve already heard from Torlakson on KUSI, saying he wants to stay the course, and dump more money into education.

But a growing number of parent groups worry the money will got to teacher salaries and benefits.

“What you’re finally seeing is parents, community members up and down the state saying enough of the status quo, enough for the system that’s working for the adults in Sacramento, and for politicians,” said Tuck.

In addition to the millions spent on the state education bureaucracy, 90% of a local school district’s budget is for employees.

Then there is the state education code that is filled with rules and regulations.

“We’ve got this massive book called the state education code which is 2,300 pages. It’s just the visual definition of bureaucracy, and it tells teachers, and principals and parents what do to and how to do it,” said Tuck.

This is one of the more expensive races on the ballot with big spenders lining up behind both candidates.

Labor for Torlakson, business and Silicon Valley for Tuck.

Ironically, both candidates are Democrats, and this war over education policy over the past year or so has been largely fought within the Democratic Party.

The latest polls show it is a toss-up.

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