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California’s top education official pledges to boost outcomes for students of color

California Department of Education
CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond launched his "Closing the Achievement Gap" initiative early this year and has held a series of panels and gatherings to brainstorm solutions.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond took office early this year and quickly announced a top goal: closing the achievement gap for students of color. Hear him speak about his vision and why he thinks he can succeed where others have failed.

"Sometimes people tell me that, hey, with limited resources they say you should focus on kids who show promise and potential and I really reject that notion. I think all of our students show promise and potential and it's up to us, the adults, to help them to find their way and to refine their potential."

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction runs California’s Department of Education. He doesn’t have the power to make policy — he’s got to work with the governor and legislature on that. But he sets a vision for the state’s six million public school students. Our current superintendent is Tony Thurmond — a social worker and former state Assemblyman and school board member.

He’s also African American and one of his big goals is to close the achievement gap for kids of color. Hundreds of educators and advocates have convened across the state in recent months to brainstorm ideas, and recommendations are expected any day now from a work group digging into the topic. along with others focused on related issues like early education and literacy. 

Click the audio player above to listen to the full interview.