Candidate for state superintendent attends education town hall in Fontana

Alejandro Cano, Fontana Herald News   ·   Link to Article


Tony Thurmond, a candidate for state superintendent of public instruction in the November election, participated in an education town hall in Fontana on Oct. 10.

Thurmond vowed to bring tech jobs and training programs to the Inland Empire during the event, which was organized by State Sen. Connie Leyva.

Leaders gathered from throughout the region to hear Thurmond, a Democratic member of the State Assembly, give his ideas on how to improve the quality of education in the state. He emphasized the importance of bringing STEM courses to students to get them ready for the future.

“There are emerging opportunities for our kids in science, technology, engineering and math fields,” said Thurmond. “But the Inland Empire will not have equal access to those opportunities if we do not bring the tech industry to them. That’s why I’m committing today to work with my legislative colleagues and private industry to launch an initiative that will bring jobs in engineering, biotech, and other tech fields to the Inland Empire, and create a pipeline with career technical education programs.”

As chair of the Assembly Committee on STEM, Thurmond said he has funded STEM education by $200 million and secured $150 million in the state budget for career technical education.

“I’ve already been working with companies that are interested in our tech jobs initiative,” said Thurmond. “Working together with the tech industry, government, and public education, we’ll be able to create real opportunities for high-paying jobs in the 21st century for our kids and increase diversity in the tech industry.”

The son of a teacher who migrated from Panama also said that another priority is keeping kids out of the criminal system by providing them with the right tools at an affordable rate.

According to Thurmond, California has among the highest rates of juvenile incarceration in the country and to stop that “we must act aggressively to ensure that youth in our criminal justice system have the ability to return to their education or get jobs upon their release, rather than reentering the system."

Speaking to the Herald News after the event, Thurmond said it would be honor to represent students from Fontana and the rest of the Inland Empire.

"I want to get more funding for students, I want to bring more companies to offer access to tech fields for students. These are good paying jobs that could be transformative in the region," he said. "If we don’t address the socioeconomic problems, we will never remove the barriers that interfere in the students’ academic success. Six million kids deserve a quality education; my opponent’s goal is to help only those who show potential. They will spend $30 million against me because I support immigrant students and minorities. I think it’s time to elect the first Afro Latino superintendent."

Marshall Tuck is Thurmond's opponent in the election, which will take place Nov. 6.