Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Southern California charter school leader running for state superintendent

Marshall Tuck campaign

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Marshall Tuck, a leader of Southern California’s charter school and reform movements, launched his campaign Wednesday to become State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Tuck’s calling himself an innovator – pointing to his years running the Green Dot group of charter schools, and nearly two dozen L.A. Unified schools in former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.

“If we don’t create the right conditions - which really start in Sacramento - for superintendents, principals, and teachers locally, we’ll never be able to educate our kids. And that’s at the core of why I got into education,” he said.

The state superintendent heads the California Department of Education, which enforces policy for California’s K-12 public schools. Education policy is created by the State Board of Education.

Tuck is seeking support for his candidacy from philanthropist Eli Broad, and another former city mayor, Richard Riordan. Both have made big donations to grow charter schools and overhaul low performing schools.

Tuck is trying to unseat current state Superintendent Tom Torlakson, who like his two predecessors is a former state legislator and won with support of the California Teachers Association.

In an email, Torlakson said he’s ready to trumpet his success “addressing the financial crisis in our schools, expanding career options for students and raising graduation rates.”

Tuck is Torlakson's most well-known challenger so far. But it's still early in the race.

The deadline for candidates to file to run is March 7, 2014. The primary is in June 2014.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the year of the primary election and filing deadline. KPCC regets the error.