State superintendent candidate wants students to address college affordability


Tony Thurmond -CC BY-SA 4.0

Tony Thurmond, candidate for State Superintendent of public instruction, announced he would like students to work with him on college affordability legislation.

Aaron Jackson

During a panel held on Oct. 4, Tony Thurmond, candidate for California superintendent of public instruction, said that he wants to work with students on legislation that would take aim at college affordability.

The panel was held at Eleanor Roosevelt College and focused on issues such as tuition, housing and mental well-being of students.

Thurmond is currently a member of the California Assembly, a position he has held since 2014. Prior to being elected to the assembly, Thurmond was a member of the West Contra Costa School Board from 2008 to 2012.

Thurmond announced he would run for the position of state superintendent of public instruction in May 2017. One of the main goals of his campaign is to fight the Trump administration on education and to ensure proper funding for public schools and colleges.

Thurmond’s proposal is for college students to design their own legislation to make California colleges affordable that he would sponsor if elected to the office.

Sac State students had their own thoughts when it comes to college affordability.

“I do think whatever is done, there will be a group who has to suffer some sort of consequence,” said Sac State sophomore Connor Donnell. “Right now it’s students paying tuition who are unhappy and when tuition goes down it’s going to be professors, faculty or taxpayers who will be unhappy.”

Some students have other opinions on how to solve the problem.

“We need to reallocate resources from areas such as drug criminalization efforts and instead put those into education,” said Sac State freshman Julie Tofan.

Thurmond and his campaign were unavailable for comment.

Thrumond’s opponent is Marshall Tuck, who ran in 2014 but lost to Tom Torlakson. Though the position is nonpartisan, both Thurmond and Tuck are members of the Democratic party.  

Tuck was the president of Green Dot Public Schools before becoming a founding CEO of Partnership for Los Angeles Schools in 2007.

He echoes Thurmond’s proposal in getting students involved when it comes to policy.

“Leverage of student voice has been a key engine in helping guide policy in Los Angeles, where I’ve led public schools,” Tuck said.

Tuck, along with Thurmond, is also an advocate for making public education more affordable.

“This is a state where I believe we have the best public university system in the world, at least the country, for several decades,” Tuck said. “Part of the reason it was so good was that it was affordable. However, it has not been that way for a long time.”

Tuck announced he would run for superintendent in March 2017 on a platform of fighting against the Trump administration on education.

The average annual in-state college tuition in California was $13,947 for the 2017-18 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.