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This election, California voters are lucky to have a full slate of leaders who have established records supporting public schools, educators, children and working people. All share CTA’s passion for the power of education.


Newsom is a proven advocate for our students, public schools and colleges. He believes that a public education system that puts students above profits and respects the service of educators is vital to expanding opportunity for all Californians.

MEET THE CANDIDATES/Newsome 2Newsom’s priorities include universal preschool, accountability for charter schools and protecting education funding guarantees that provide the resources our schools need. He wants to address the statewide shortage of teachers and provide current educators with the support they deserve. He also wants to examine how to create full-service K-12 community schools, which would engage communities in our children’s future and provide other public services like wellness centers, after-school programs, and arts and computer science education.

Newsom knows that educational excellence does not come from the halls of the State Capitol, but from the daily devotion of those on education’s front lines in schools across our state.

Superintendent of Public Instruction TONY THURMOND

Thurmond is a shining example of how public education provides opportunity to all students. He credits dedicated public school teachers with preparing him for a two-decade career as a social worker, city council member, school board trustee and Assembly member.

MEET THE CANDIDATES/ThurmondThurmond stands ready to defend public schools from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and billionaires like her who want to dismantle and privatize public education. He believes educating the whole child means ensuring students have access to school-based health, mental health and social service programs, and he wants to expand these programs.

Thurmond’s lifetime of commitment to at-risk youth and public education makes him the only choice to lead the state’s school system. He supports increased education funding, community schools, and attracting and retaining quality educators.

Lieutenant Governor ED HERNANDEZ

Hernandez is a longtime supporter of students, educators and public schools, as a community leader, Assembly member and state Senator. He has fought to increase funding for public education and sought to increase accountability and transparency in California’s charter schools.

MEET THE CANDIDATES/HernandezHernandez believes in the ability of education to change children’s lives, and he supports universal preschool to provide all kids with early learning opportunities. He also supports tax reform to ensure that public schools, universities and community colleges always have the resources they need.

Hernandez also wants to provide more funding to ensure all students have the most current textbooks and course materials.

Election 2018: Special Report

Follow the links below to continue reading about the election and candidates in this feature.

In It to Win It CTA locals use their power for purpose Running with Values CTA members enter political races A Closer LookTony Thurmond vs. Marshall Tuck In Their Own Words   Educators on why Tuck should not be SPI Voter Guide Initiatives to Know CTA positions on statewide propositions Tom Torlakson  The outgoing schools chief on his legacy

Attorney General XAVIER BECERRA


Becerra is a tireless fighter for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged students. He is an advocate for public education, working families, affordable healthcare and the environment. Becerra believes in protecting the rights of educators and all workers to collectively negotiate learning and working conditions. He wants to protect students from for-profit education businesses that lack accountability, and often leave them with nothing to show for their tuition and hard work other than a worthless piece of paper.

He will continue to serve as a steward of the civil rights of our children and educators so that all are protected from discrimination, harassment and mistreatment. This includes making sure we don’t abandon the 200,000 California Dreamers who will be among our next generation of leaders.

Secretary of State ALEX PADILLA

Padilla is an unwavering friend to public schools, educators and kids. He believes in fully funding public education and providing schools with the resources needed to adequately support English learners.

MEET THE CANDIDATES/PadillaAs a state Senator, Padilla authored legislative measures to identify and implement best practices in English learner curriculum and instruction statewide. He also authored a bill that increased the tobacco tax and boosted school revenue by $1 billion.

As the official who oversees California’s elections, Padilla wants to see more civic instruction in schools, so students understand the responsibilities that come with living in a democracy.


State Controller BETTY YEE

Yee credits educators in San Francisco public schools for preparing her for a lifetime of public service. She believes that teachers are assets to our state, and should be protected and supported.

MEET THE CANDIDATES/YeeAmong her top priorities are keeping public schools public by increasing charter school audits and stabilizing education funding by working for comprehensive tax reform. Yee wants to ensure retirement security for teachers by working toward full funding of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). She also believes strongly in supporting the collective bargaining rights of educators and other public employees so they can advocate for each other, working conditions and students.

Yee also co-founded the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, which introduces California high school youth to the public service, public policy and political arenas.

State Treasurer FIONA MA


The daughter of an art teacher, Ma is a product of public schools and believes every student deserves access to a high-quality education.

Ma believes that schools need to be safe and nurturing learning environments where students can grow and achieve. She wants to increase resources to educators and find ways to fund school arts programs, music, shop, athletics and other extracurricular activities. Ma also wants to modernize and retrofit older school buildings to ensure the safety of students, educators and the community.


Insurance Commissioner RICARDO LARA

Lara believes passionately in the power of public education and is driven by a vision for the future that includes expanding the services that protect and support our students. He is a champion of free community college for all California residents and universal preschool, so that our kids have more opportunities earlier.

MEET THE CANDIDATES/LaraLara wants to find ways to address inequity that fuels the “school-toprison pipeline” across our state and provide opportunity to all students. He also believes in monitoring charter schools to make sure that public funds are used properly to provide high-quality education to their students.

In 2016, Lara worked with CTA to pass Proposition 58, which repealed bilingual education restrictions in our classrooms.


Board of Equalization, Seat 2 MALIA COHEN

MEET THE CANDIDATES/CohenCohen believes that every public school student should have access to a high-quality education, and this starts with providing educators with the resources they need. She helped make community college free in the City and County of San Francisco, and believes doing so for all California residents will promote equity in access to higher education opportunities.

Cohen shares CTA’s concern about the lack of accountability and transparency in charter schools, and supports applying conflict of interest laws and disclosure regulations to every school that receives public funding.

Note: CTA has no recommendation for Board of Equalization Seat 1.