About 200 CFT members from around the state converged at San
Francisco’s Hyatt Regency for a Leadership Conference — the first
time they’d been able to join together for such an event since
the state shut down for COVID on March 13, 2020.
Seeming excited to see one another in person, attendees went to
workshops, many dealing with racial and social justice issues,
and heard from speakers including JEDI (Justice, Equity,
Diversity and Inclusion) Organizer Cynthia Eaton, State
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and AFT
President Randi Weingarten.
Members from classified locals across the state recently met in
Glendale to swap organizing tips, celebrate victories, and
strengthen political skills.
Participants engaged enthusiastically from Friday, October 18,
when Council of Classified Employees President Carl Williams
welcomed leaders to his first President’s Collaboration, to that
Sunday morning, when Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond
rallied the troops for coming electoral fights.
Following a hard fought campaign, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
has won the election to be California’s next Superintendent of
Across the state, teachers and school workers celebrated
Thurmond’s election as a resounding call by voters to protect
public education. Fighting the headwinds of unprecedented
spending by a handful of billionaires and mega-donors in
support of Marshall Tuck, Thurmond ran a campaign based on
investing in all public schools and supporting all students.
On an election day when much of the country swung to the right,
California solidified its standing as the progressive bulwark of
the nation. Every single statewide office went to the
CFT-endorsed candidate. And the main projectile launched by
anti-union forces at public education — the billionaire-backed
Marshall Tuck campaign for state superintendent of public
instruction — went down to defeat.
The CFT’s priorities in the November 4 General Election are
straightforward: Reelect Tom Torlakson Superintendent of Public
Instruction, elect Betty Yee for State Controller and pass
Propositions 45 and 47.
In the remaining weeks before the election, we need all of our
members to get involved with their local unions and their central
labor councils. We have to approach this election as if the
future of public education depends on it, because it does.
Her voice swelling with hometown pride, elementary school teacher
Melinda Dart says, “Tom Torlakson was a student in our Daly City
schools — and he went on to become a teacher and state
superintendent of all schools.”
During his early years, Torlakson’s mother worked as a school
secretary and his father as a welder. After high school,
Torlakson attended San Mateo Community College before entering
the Merchant Marine and serving in Vietnam. Upon his return, he
earned a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in
education and a teaching credential at UC Berkeley.