Speak UP recently sat down with Marshall Tuck, a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, to discuss the state of education in CA, teacher tenure laws, ways to improve low-performing schools and the role parents play in education policy. This is part two of our two-part interview. Part one can be read here. The primary election is June 5.
Speak UP: Are you the only qualified candidate who's really deeply familiar with LAUSD?
Marshall: Definitely. I've been working in public schools in L.A since 2002, and so both as someone who's worked in charter schools and in L.A. Unified, who's led the Partnership, who's been very active with the leaders of L.A. Unified, with our school board members, and then who's also a parent in L.A Unified. As far as understanding public schools in Los Angeles, I think I have a very strong resume for that job. I worked in schools for a long time, but now having a lens as the father of Mason Tuck, it’s definitely broadened and expanded my perspective and understanding of public schools. There's so much love there, you want so much for your son to have a strong experience in school, and so it gives you a different lens.
Speak UP: Your son attends Beethoven, which is a traditional neighborhood LAUSD school. How did you choose this school for your son?
Marshall: We're lucky where we live. I live in Mar Vista, and there are three schools that are all within a mile of our house. I knew L.A. Unified very well, but the process to be able to choose to go to one of those three was not easy. This was a little over two years when we started digging in, to figure out how to actually permit into [Beethoven]. It was very hard to actually find out the process to permit him to another school in L.A Unified. And this is from somebody who knows the district well. So I'm thrilled about the direction that the district is going in terms of a unified enrollment system.
Beethoven is a smaller school. It's a really good school. We did what a lot of parents do. We went to greatschools.org, and we went to the California [Dashboard] website, which had not as much information as we’d have liked, to see how it was doing academically, talked to friends in the neighborhood. I talked to some educators I know in the neighborhood and just felt like it was the right fit for our son. It still was a lot of work for us to find out: What were the schools within our general neighborhood? What's the process to get into them, and what's different about the schools? It was a more time-intensive and rigorous process than I think it can be, and I'm excited and optimistic that there is some movement towards making that a better process for parents. And I'm very grateful for Speak UP for pushing hard to make that happen.