On Nov. 8, California voters will decide who will be the next Superintendent of Public Instruction. The nonpartisan position serves as the top elected official for the state’s public schools, heading California’s Department of Education.

Two candidates have advanced to November’s runoff election after earning the most votes in the June primary election.

Tony Thurmond (Incumbent)

Tony Thurmond
Tony Thurmond

Thurmond, the incumbent candidate, lays out “Tony’s Plan” for California schools on his campaign website. On it, he highlights his efforts to close learning gaps that have expanded during the pandemic, among other initiatives.

Thurmond’s elected officials endorsements include Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Alex Padilla, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Rob Bonta, among others. Organizations that endorse Thurmond include the California Democratic Party, the California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association.

“I will stand up to those who seek to privatize public education and to those who attack LGBTQ youth, students of color, and low-income youth. I will work to address inequities in education and ensure that all students receive a first-rate education and a chance at a great life,” Thurmond said in a statement on the Secretary of State’s official voter information guide.

You can learn more about his candidacy on his campaign website.

Lance Christensen

Lance Christensen
Lance Christensen

Christensen, Vice President of Education Policy and Government Relations at the California Policy Center, has been critical of California’s public school system and its lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“California public schools are failing by every measure. Our children are ill-prepared for the 21st Century economy despite spending $23,893 per public school student this year,” Christensen said in a statement on the Secretary of State’s official voter information guide.

Christensen’s elected officials endorsements include Rep. Tom McClintock, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, Assemblyman Phillip Chen and Assemblyman Tom Lackey. He is endorsed by the California Republican Party and Reopen California Schools, among other organizations.

You can learn more about his candidacy on his campaign website.