By Louis Freedberg
One immediate consequence of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s rebuff of challenger Marshall Tuck is to ensure the continuance of the cohesion in state education policy that has been forged since Gov. Jerry Brown returned to Sacramento four years ago.
“Who is in charge?” is a question that hovered for decades over what State Board of Education President Michael Kirst has described as an inherently “fractured and fractious” education governing structure. But the last several years have demonstrated that, under the right conditions, dysfunction is not necessarily a constant condition of California politics.
Torlakson’s victory guarantees that there will be continuity on the key reforms underway in California schools, most notably the Common Core State Standards, the new Smarter Balanced assessments to be administered to 3 million California children in the spring, and the dramatic revision of school funding, including targeting funds at low-income students, English learners and foster children.