California’s new superintendent of public instruction was abandoned by his father and lost his mother to cancer at age 6. But Tony Thurmond, 50, says he found success in school through support from his extended family and teachers who believed in him.
“They were sending me a message that no matter how your life started, it can be bettered through education,” he told Capitol Weekly for a story that was published this week.
The profile chronicles Thurmond’s early days as a low-income student in Philadelphia, his 20-year career in social work, his political rise, and his priorities as California’s school chief.
And here are some other education stories from the week that ended Feb. 1:
- The Fullerton Joint Union High School District board has approved a policy to use trained detection dogs for random campus searches to discourage students from bringing drugs and other banned items to school.
- In his 2019-20 proposed budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom included some funding intended to help school districts keep pace with rising pension costs. As noted in a separate report, the governor’s spending plan doesn’t allocate any new funds to address the state’s teacher shortage.
- The Tustin Unified School District has announced that all of its elementary schools will provide full-day kindergarten to every student beginning this fall.
- For those who have yet to explore the California School Dashboard, the OCDE Newsroom produced this brief introductory video to help get acquainted.
- Orange County students demonstrated some impressive oratory skills during the Project Soapbox showdown, and one of them will go on to compete at a national contest this summer.
- A number of Orange County schools took part in the Great Kindness Challenge, a national program that tries to generate as many good deeds as possible in a week.
- The Brea-Olinda school board voted to rename Fanning Elementary School to reflect its focus on science and technology. But after a lengthy public debate, trustees decided that longtime educator William Fanning will remain its namesake.
- Backed by an online petition and a social media campaign, a group of students in Irvine Unified is asking the district to consider offering courses in Asian American studies.