The easy re-election win of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Tuesday was a big disappointment to education reformers. They believed Marshall Tuck — a polished, well-funded Democrat with a strong record as an education executive in Los Angeles — was the perfect candidate to unseat Torlakson, a Bay Area Democrat who has acted more like an appendage of the state teachers unions than a nonpartisan officeholder devoted to improving schools.
But in the big picture, we think Tuck’s candidacy will be remembered as one of the turning points in a period in which the school reform debate at long last took center stage in California. The education establishment is like a supertanker that requires the application of vast energy to make it to change course. There are subtle but unmistakable signs this course change has begun.