California is a mess because of the intrusion of billionaires into education, billionaires who do not send their own children to public schools but want to control and privatize them. They pour millions into school board races, and they are now pouring millions into the state superintendent race, in hopes of capturing that important position. 
Tony Thurmond’s opponent, Marshall Tuck, has a long history in the charter industry. Although he claims to be a Democrat (as in DFER), Tuck was endorsed by the California Republican party. Thurmond won the support of 95% of the delegates to the California Democratic party convention. Tuck was also endorsed by Arne Duncan, and Duncan’s endorsement means support of charter schools, high-stakes testing, and misuse of test scores to evaluate teachers. 
California desperately needs accountability and transparency for its unregulated charter sector, not a fox in charge of the henhouse.