Early candidates for state superintendent, Richmond
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck.

“At an education conference Thursday, the two announced candidates for state superintendent of public instruction called for more strategies to counter a teacher shortage they said is gripping the state. The comments by Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond indicate the issue will factor heavily in their campaigns to replace retiring State Superintendent Tom Torlakson next year,” according to an article in EdSource.

Thurmond and Tuck appeared separately at last week’s Silicon Valley Leadership Group conference in Mountain View, but seemed to share similar talking points.

However, just how each candidate will strive to fill the hiring gap for teachers in the state will be a point of contention.

During the conference Tuck advocated for the state offering financial incentives for teachers to enter early residency programs where an experienced teacher mentors the next instructor during their first year.

Thurmond’s method involves a focus on legislation he has offered in the Assembly, including a bill that would create low-cost housing for teachers and school employees, and scholarships to incentivize them to enter areas of instruction that suffer from insufficient number of teachers.

For Tuck, next year’s primary represents a second campaign for the statewide seat he lost in 2014, a bruising race that was the most expensive in the state during that election cycle. The money, however, did not come from the individual campaigns, but from special interests groups on either side of the public and charter school debate. A sequel to that type of campaign is expected in 2018.