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Tuesday November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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State of CaliforniaCandidate for Superintendent Of Public Instruction

Photo of Tony K. Thurmond

Tony K. Thurmond

Educator/State Legislator
5,385,912 votes (50.9%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Tony Thurmond is leading California's fight against Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos's anti-education agenda. He will fight to keep public schools public, protect California's ban on school vouchers, and eliminate for-profit charter schools.
  • Tony Thurmond wants to give teachers the flexibility to do more than just teach to the test. He believes schools should teach students creativity and critical thinking skills, including improved arts and music education.
  • Tony Thurmond believes that we need to ensure every California student has the resources they need to develop their capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and math to succeed in our fast-growing, 21st century economy.



Profession:educator/state legislator
Assemblymember, AD-15 (Richmond), California State Assembly — Elected position (2014–current)
School Board Member, West Contra Costa Unified School District Board — Elected position (2008–2012)
City Council Member, Richmond City Council — Elected position (2005–2008)


Bryn Mawr College Master's Degree, Law and Social Policy (1996)
Bryn Mawr College Master's Degree, Social Welfare (1995)
Temple University Bachelor's Degree, Psychology (1993)


Tony Thurmond is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, because he has been a lifelong advocate for children and families, and believes that restoring our public schools is key to California’s future.

Education saved Tony's life, enabling him to overcome humble beginnings. Tony's mother emigrated from Panama to San Jose to teach, and raised four children on her own until she lost her battle to cancer when Tony was 6 years old. Tony was raised by a cousin whom he had never met and who ensured he received a great education.

It was Tony's public school education that prepared him for college, where he became student body president, and for a twenty-year career as a social worker and twelve years working in schools, teaching career training, life skills, and civics. Ultimately Tony was inspired to serve on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board, the Richmond City Council, and now in the California State Assembly.

Tony has made improving and investing in public education his top priority in the California State Assembly. Tony serves on the Assembly Education Committee and he is the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education. Tony passed legislation that moved millions of dollars from prisons to local schools, and he is working to pass a tax on private prisons that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for preschool and afterschool programs. Tony has introduced legislation to increase funding for computer science education, bilingual education, and special education. Tony has coauthored legislation to provide scholarships to anyone who wants to become a teacher and he is working to provide affordable housing to teachers so that teachers can live in the communities where they teach.

As Superintendent, Tony's priority will be to ensure all of California’s kids have the opportunity to receive a great public school education and are prepared for the 21st Century economy. Tony will improve vocational education and college preparedness with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, and encourage teaching that builds creative and critical thinking, not teaching to the test. Tony will make college affordable and work to increase school funding by shifting millions from prisons into early education and after-school programs. Tony will create an education rainy day fund to protect against President Trump and Betsy DeVos's agenda to defund our public schools.

Tony is the only candidate endorsed by the California Democratic Party, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, current Superintendent Tom Torlakson, teachers, nurses, firefighters, Planned Parenthood, and Equality California.

Learn more about Tony and his plan to make California's public schools #1 in the nation at

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $3,679,519

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

California Democratic Party
Sheet Metal Workers Local 104
California Teachers Association and employees
California Nurses Association and employees
SEIU United Healthcare Workers West and employees

More information about contributions

By State:

California 94.77%
District of Columbia 2.53%
Pennsylvania 1.08%
Texas 0.36%
Other 1.26%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.25%)
Small contributions (0.75%)

By Type:

From organizations (82.65%)
From individuals (17.35%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Leading the Fight Against Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump’s Agenda


Read Tony's full plan on how he will protect California's public schools from Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump's anti-education agenda at www.tonythurmond/plan. 

In addition to state and local funding mechanisms, I will prioritize urging the federal government to invest in California’s schools. States rely on federal funds to support essential resources like teacher training, special education, and after-school programs.

In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump proposed to completely eliminate 20 of these essential public school programs, yet he included $1.4 billion to fund public school alternatives like charter schools and private school vouchers. The budget is especially disastrous for California students, cutting $400 million from our state’s federal funds alone. This will hurt all our country’s children, and especially California’s most vulnerable students. I will not stand for it.

I have not shied away from criticizing Donald Trump when he does not stand up for the values we hold most dear. In fact, I authored the resolution in the Assembly that made California the very first state to call upon Congress to censure the President following his reprehensible comments about the tragedies that took place in Charlottesville during a white supremacist rally.

As Superintendent, I will:

● Continue to relentlessly fight the Trump Administration, doing everything in my power to keep him and Betsy DeVos from gutting California’s public schools

● Fight to keep public schools public by protecting California’s ban on school vouchers

Keeping our Students Safe


Read Tony's full plan on how he will work to keep students safe from gun violence at 

As Superintendent, I will ensure the safety of our students is our number one priority. For too long, we have lived with the tragedies of school shootings in states across the nation. My heart breaks for the families who have been affected by these horrific events. We must do more than offer our thoughts and prayers. We must act to keep our children safe.

We need violence prevention training in every school in California. The solution is not to arm teachers – in fact, we must vehemently resist efforts by the federal administration to place weapons in classrooms – but to invest in commonsense mental health services and gun violence prevention programs for our students and educators.

I introduced legislation in the State Assembly that will provide resources to schools so they can provide physical, social, and emotional services through on-site counseling. In addition to legislation, I am meeting with district superintendents throughout California to discuss best practices to ensure schools safety, and I am collaborating with nonprofit organizations who are working to educate schools, families, and community organizations on life-saving gun violence prevention programs. I have convened roundtable discussions with local educators and social justice advocates to discuss ways in which our schools can prevent acts of hate on campuses. I am leading the discussion on gun violence prevention in this campaign because our students demand their elected leaders take action to save their lives.

As Superintendent, I will:

● Provide schools with the resources to offer all students and teachers commonsense mental health services and gun violence prevention programs

● Resist efforts by the Trump Administration to bring guns into our schools

● Prioritize a curriculum that teaches tolerance and promotes diversity

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