Eleven bills sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and seven bills Thurmond supports have achieved a significant milestone: They were successfully passed by both the State Senate and the State Assembly. The bills, which largely address inclusive education, the teacher pipeline, and student well-being and success, are now on the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom, who has until October 14, 2023, to sign the bills into law.
“I’m pleased that these key pieces of legislation, which protect inclusive education, help open the teacher pipeline, and support the mental health and well-being of students, have passed the Legislature and are now being considered by the Governor,” Thurmond said. “This is an important step in building a brighter future for all of California’s students. I applaud the efforts of our legislators and everyone involved who worked on these important pieces of legislation.”
One of the key pieces of legislation to protect inclusive education is Assembly Bill (AB) 1078. Authored by Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Perris) and sponsored by Thurmond, AB 1078 will allow a fine to be assessed on any district that has insufficient instructional materials, especially in an attempt to discriminate against students of color or LGBTQ+ students. If signed into law by the Governor, an urgency clause would allow AB 1078 to take effect immediately.
Source: SPI Bills Now on Governor’s Desk for Signature – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
Against a backdrop of culture wars being waged by states and some California school districts, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are doubling down on efforts to promote inclusive education as a strategy to help improve student performance. Thurmond and the CDE announced a series of ethnic studies webinars that includes a “Train the Trainer” webinar on August 2 on how to use the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum guide that will be attended by more than 600 participants and a webinar on August 16 to help local educational agencies (LEAs) provide an ethnic studies graduation requirement by the 2026 state deadline to which all 1,000 LEAs in the state have been invited. Special guests and ethnic studies champions attending the August 16 webinar include labor movement icon Dolores Huerta; California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber; and former Assemblymember Jose Medina, who authored Assembly Bill (AB) 101, a bill that will make California the first state to require all students to complete a semester-long course in ethnic studies to earn a high school diploma. Thurmond sponsored AB 101.
Source: SPI Doubles Down on Inclusive Education Efforts – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will host a Teacher Recruitment Summit at the California Department of Education (1430 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814) on August 14, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in State Board Room 1101. Thurmond and guests will address the media at 10:30 a.m.
The Teacher Recruitment Summit is open to individuals from all organizations focused on work in this area, which includes teacher credentialing programs, school districts and county offices of education, pipeline programs, and AmeriCorps programs. This event will formally launch a coalition to engage in direct recruitment of teacher candidates on a statewide basis.
Source: SSPI Convenes Teacher Recruitment Summit – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
Against a backdrop of culture wars being waged by states and some California school districts, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are doubling down on efforts to promote inclusive education as a strategy to help improve student performance. Thurmond and the CDE announced a series of ethnic studies webinars that includes a “Train the Trainer” webinar on August 2 on how to use the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum guide that will be attended by more than 600 participants and a webinar on August 16 to help local educational agencies (LEAs) provide an ethnic studies graduation requirement by the 2026 state deadline to which all 1,000 LEAs in the state have been invited. Special guests and ethnic studies champions attending the August 16 webinar include labor movement icon Dolores Huerta; California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber; and former Assemblymember Jose Medina, who authored Assembly Bill (AB) 101, a bill thatwill make California the first state to require all students to complete a semester-long course in ethnic studies to earn a high school diploma. Thurmond sponsored AB 101.
Source: SPI Doubles Down on Inclusive Education Efforts – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today hosted a Progress Pride Flag Raising Ceremony and reception at the California Department of Education (CDE) to mark the first day of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month. For the first time ever, in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the flag will fly at the CDE headquarters in Sacramento from June 1 through June 30.
“This flag is a representation and celebration of our diverse community and student body in the state of California,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “We raise the Progress Pride Flag at the California Department of Education to stand in solidarity with our Black, indigenous, people of color, transgender, and intersectional queer students, educators, administrators, and families. At a time when there are leaders—nationally and right here in California—set on rolling back personal rights and banning texts that address issues of racism or sexual identity, the California Department of Education and I want to make it clear that we stand with our LGBTQ+ students and educators, and we applaud the many board members who have continued to uphold inclusivity.”
Source: SPI Hosts Historic Progress Pride Flag Raising – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond provided testimony at a joint hearing of the California Assembly Select Committees on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention; Public Safety; and Health to share updates on efforts he and the California Department of Education (CDE) have undertaken to address the ongoing opioid crisis that claimed the lives of over 6,800 Californians in 2021 alone
“There are plenty of resources to help. We all have the ability to help save a life,” Thurmond said. “So we encourage students who need help to call 9-8-8 and obviously any one of our thousand school districts can contact the CDE directly for help on how to access Narcan, drug prevention, education, and substance abuse treatment programs. I want to assure these committees and the people of California that my team at the CDE and I are doing what we can to fight the fentanyl epidemic. We are focused not only on prevention and education but effective treatments, especially naloxone (Narcan)—a lifesaving drug when administered after an opioid overdose.”
Source: SPI Pledges to Help Counter the Fentanyl Crisis – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today honored six outstanding math and science teachers from California who are finalists for the 2023 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
“Let me offer my sincere congratulations to these educators who we honor for their leadership and instructional practices and how they are inspiring a new generation with passion and talent for science, technology, engineering, and math,” Thurmond said. “They model excellence in how we are preparing California students for the challenges and advancements of the future.”The PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The PAEMST is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for kindergarten through grade twelve science, mathematics, engineering, and computer science teaching. For 2022–23, those who teach grades seven through twelve were eligible for the award. Presidential Award recipients are honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive a $10,000 special award from the National Science Foundation.
Source: SPI Names California PAEMST Finalists – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will convene a webinar to assist school districts in building strategies to counter declining enrollment. Thurmond will host and moderate the webinar on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 10:30 a.m.
“It has been our priority to ensure that students and families are engaged in public schools and that schools meet the needs of families,” said Thurmond. “This will be the first of many conversations in efforts to help school districts counter declining enrollment.”
School districts across the state are experiencing a high level of declining enrollment. In April, the California Department of Education (CDE) released the statewide student enrollment data report. Even before the pandemic, many California communities were observing population drops and corresponding lower student enrollment. The pandemic exacerbated declines as students left public schools, left the state and, in some cases, left the country.
Source: SPI Seeks to Counter Declining Enrollment – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for fiscal year 2023–24:
“Even in difficult budgetary times, we continue to be grateful that Governor Newsom’s May Revise retains many of the major investments that have been made to public education over the last few years. With a tightening State Budget, education spending will continue to reflect our core values to provide safe and effective learning environments, to help our students heal and recover, and to provide equitable opportunities for a quality education to all students. This budget continues our commitment to learning recovery and flexibility for local educational agencies to adapt to their particular conditions and unique needs.
“California will make critical investments in education, including a substantial 8.22 percent cost-of-living adjustment for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to support our school districts in meeting the specific needs of their schools and community more effectively than with restrictive one-time funds.”
Source: SPI Thurmond on Education Budget-May Revise – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has been recognized with the prestigious Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 16 Leadership Award for his achievements and dedication to public education and for his service to the children of California. The award was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday that took place in front of 400 administrators from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), underscoring their unwavering support for Thurmond’s mission of equity. Steve Zimmer, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction at the California Department of Education (CDE), accepted the award on behalf of Superintendent Thurmond, who could not attend the event in person because of his role as the neutral mediator of the teachers strike in the ongoing labor dispute in Oakland.
“I am deeply honored to receive the ACSA Region 16 Leadership Award, and I regret that I could not be there in person to accept it. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the ACSA Region 16 and all those who have recognized my efforts and dedication to public education,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “I look forward to continuing my work and collaborating with LAUSD and all other educators, administrators, and communities across the state to ensure that every student receives the opportunities and quality education they deserve. Together, we can build a brighter future for all of California’s students.”
Source: SPI Thurmond Honored with ACSA Region 16 Award – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was recently given an award for Excellence in Leadership by one of the state’s premier financial literacy organizations, the California Council on Economic Education. Thurmond championed financial literacy during his time as a legislator and previously established a nonprofit program for helping at-risk youth develop their entrepreneurial skills called CEO Youth. Thurmond is now working to have personal finance included as a California high school graduation requirement.
After encountering political difficulties on legislation he sponsored to require that schools teach personal finance (Assembly Bill 984), Thurmond has shifted his focus to getting a ballot measure passed that would require schools to teach personal finance. Thurmond is partnering with Next Gen Personal Finance External link opens in new window or tab. to launch the ballot measure campaign.
Thurmond and Next Gen Personal Finance are embarking on a listening tour to get input from school leaders about how to successfully implement a personal finance graduation requirement. Thurmond intends to host a personal finance convening in May that will show school districts how to implement personal finance courses partially through utilizing resources that were provided to schools to support financial literacy. Thurmond and other advocates are hoping to leverage the more than $3.6 billion allocated to schools in 2022 to support financial literacy and help schools begin laying the foundation for providing personal finance classes in schools while efforts to get a ballot measure passed are underway.
Source: SPI Receives Award for Economic Education – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond met with students at Berkeley High School today to discuss the benefits of financial literacy and personal finance courses. Superintendent Thurmond is working to make sure elective classes like these are taught at all California high schools with his financial literacy bill, Assembly Bill 984 (McCarty), co-sponsored with California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, which would make personal finance and financial literacy a high school graduation requirement.
Students spoke about what they have learned in the class and how it has helped them make financial decisions. They also shared their support for making personal finance courses available to all high school students.
“Young Californians are entering the workforce and higher education with very little understanding of financial literacy. This is deeply concerning, since students with higher financial literacy are more likely to invest in a savings account, prepare for retirement, and manage their debt,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “Access to financial literacy is also an equity issue that is directly reflected through racial wealth gaps. Only 27 percent of California high school students attend schools that offer personal finance classes. Ensuring that all young Californians have exposure to financial literacy is a vital step in closing inequality gaps and providing the skills and resources to improve their lives overall.”
Source: SPI Addresses Student Financial Literacy Benefits – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) leadership, and state and federal stakeholders on a visit to Betty Reid Soskin Middle School to hear more about the district’s innovative farm-to-school program.
Soskin Middle School serves 450 students—60 percent of whom are considered to be socioeconomically disadvantaged—and is the frontline of the vital work of feeding students healthy school meals through the California Universal Meals Program. The school is named after Betty Reid Soskin, a pioneering Bay Area civil rights activist and the nation’s oldest National Park Ranger, who was designated as an Ambassador to California Education by Thurmond in September 2021.
“As we celebrate National Nutrition Month and National School Breakfast Week, I take great pride in promoting the fact that California became the first state in the United States to implement a statewide universal meals program for all school-age children within the public education system. As a result, millions of children access two free healthy meals during each school day. And not only that, but we have also supported other states in following suit,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “The Universal Meals Program removes the stigma associated with free and reduced-price school meals and is a critical component in the framework for the Transforming California Schools Initiative designed to create one cohesive educational system with integrated, interdependent strategies.”
Source: Efforts to Support Student Access to Healthy Meals – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 77 high-performing California middle grades schools have been recognized for 2023 by the California Schools to Watch program. There are 36 new California Schools to Watch this year. An additional 41 schools reapplied to the program, demonstrated their sustained progress, and have been redesignated as 2023 California Schools to Watch. Altogether, there are now 186 California Schools to Watch.
“Congratulations to these schools for building systems that support all students from all backgrounds and who bring a wealth of individual and family assets,” Thurmond said. “These middle grades students attend programs that help them believe in themselves, discover their interests, and work toward their academic, life, and career goals. These middle schools are exceptional role models of how educational innovation and an enthusiastic school community can keep students engaged and learning through a critical stage in their K–12 journey.”
Source: SPI Congratulates 2023 California Schools to Watch – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed education budget for fiscal year 2023–24:
“The promise of education will only be fulfilled if we work together to invest in our students and our schools to build the future we want to see,” said Thurmond. “Building on last year’s record investment in education with a historic $22,893 in per-pupil funding, this year’s budget improves upon that by proposing the highest per-pupil spending for the state of California at $23,723. A record $17,519 of this total is Proposition 98 dollars, and the total is up more than $10,000 from 12 years ago.
“With this budget, California continues to improve our investments in education for our schools, our students, and our teachers.
Source: SPI Reacts to Governor’s Proposed Education Budget – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was sworn in for his second term as the 28th State Superintendent of Public Instruction in a ceremony in Los Angeles today. U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona was in attendance to administer the oath of office. More than 500 educational leaders, school administrators, principals, state legislators, students, friends, and family members convened for the special event held in the historic Cocoanut Grove Theatre at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles.
“When I took the job as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I made it clear that education is the key and gateway to a world of opportunities, especially for our vulnerable students and communities. Today, we are much stronger than we ever have been and have created many historic initiatives to transform our schools and uplift our students,” said Thurmond. “As we turn to the next four years, I ask you to help us keep the promise alive for our six million students in the great state of California.”
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho kicked off the event with welcoming remarks. Secretary Cardona administered the oath of office at the ceremony.
Source: Tony Thurmond Sworn In for Second Term – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and counselors from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District visited homes of families today whose students were identified as being chronically absent. These visits are one of many outreach efforts, which also include online guidance and webinars, taken on by Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) to combat the serious issue of chronic absenteeism, defined as missing at least 10 percent of the instructional days that a student was enrolled to attend school.
Thurmond, who worked for a community-based program that focused on reducing chronic absenteeism prior to serving in the California State Assembly, has made this issue a priority of his administration and has started setting up visits to school districts to volunteer directly on outreach efforts.
“We have to recognize this has been a challenging two years, likely the toughest time these students will face in their lifetime,” Thurmond said. “We have seen serious issues around attendance affect every area throughout our state over the past year. Now it’s important we do everything in our power to get those students back in the classroom.”
Source: SPI Takes Measures to Battle Chronic Absenteeism – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today convened a panel of experts to speak about strategies to combat the opioid/fentanyl crisis, the fastest-growing cause of death in California. The webinar was open to all educators and parents, and featured subject matter experts from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, California Health and Human Services, local educational agencies (LEAs), the California Department of Education (CDE), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Thurmond and participants discussed ways to work together to educate, prevent, and intervene to support and protect students.
In 2012, California suffered 82 deaths attributed to fentanyl overdoses, and last year that number jumped to more than 6,000. Fentanyl deaths accounted for more than 80 percent of all drug-related deaths among California’s young people in 2021. Often, teens think they are purchasing Adderall, OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax pills, but drug dealers are making fake pills with the cheaper, stronger, and deadlier synthetic drug fentanyl. As a result, most victims ingest fentanyl accidentally, thinking they are using something less dangerous. It can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. It is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, and one pill can be fatal.
Source: SPI Hosts Webinar to Help Combat Opioid Crisis – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
By John Fensterwald
With the power of incumbency and a funding advantage behind him, California Superintendent of Public Instruction handily won election to a second 4-year term on Tuesday.
Thurmond, 53, a former two-term Democratic Assemblyman from Richmond, was leading Lance Christensen by nearly 2 to 1, 66% to 34% with more than half of the vote reported. It was a larger margin than Gov. Gavin Newsom held over his Republican opponent, State Sen. Brian Dahle.
Source: Tony Thurmond cruises to reelection as California state superintendent | EdSource
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond congratulated the principals of California’s National Blue Ribbon School winners today at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., calling out the long-term positive outcomes they have created for students during very challenging times. California boasts the largest number of public school National Blue Ribbon winners in the nation. Additionally, Thurmond met with Miguel Marco, principal of Wittmann (Helen) Elementary School in Cerritos, who was honored as one of the nine recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.
“These California schools have done amazing things to address the education opportunity gap,” Thurmond said. “They are helping us learn, model, and develop refined strategies to scale success and innovation all across our great state. I am so glad the U.S. Department of Education recognized our 29 California Blue Ribbon schools today, and let me also say thank you to our awardees for their persistent hard work in creating a better environment for California students every day.”
Source: SPI Honors California Blue Ribbon Schools in D.C. – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)