CALmatters political columnist Dan Walters writes in his Dec. 7 column that the two leading Democratic candidates to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown are miles apart on public education.

“Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, two candidates for governor who run a close 1-2 in the polls, are exhibiting serious differences over education policy that next year’s campaign may magnify,” Walters opines.

Walters characterizes Newsome as “the candidate of the education establishment and its leading component, the California Teachers Association.”

In contrast, the columnist suggests that Villaraigosa is a reformer, who based on his past history, would be willing to duke it out politically with the statewide teachers’ union.

Notes Walters: “Villaraigosa’s positioning was bolstered recently by an endorsement from Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat considered to be the Capitol’s most vociferous advocate of education reform.”

Villaraigosa has said that “we must disrupt our education system” by demanding accountability. He also said at a recent education forum in San Diego: “I, as governor, will shut down schools that have failed our kids for a very long time, whether they’re charter schools or traditional public schools.”

Reformer Vs. Establishment in Superintendent’s Race

The race for state schools superintendent also will pit the reformers vs. the California Teachers Association, similar to the 2014 race. This time, charter school advocate Marshall Tuck goes toe-to-toe with Tony Thurmond, a Democratic assemblyman from Richmond who will be the CTA-backed candidate.

Tuck came close in 2014 to ousting the current superintendent, Tom Torlakson, who is now terming out.

To read the entire Walters’ column, click on this link.

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