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California superintendent of equity resigns amid controversy

Politico first reported that Daniel Lee lives across the country, has no background working in any school system, and is close friends with Superintendent Thurmond.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California schools superintendent of equity handed in his letter of resignation Tuesday night. This news comes after Politico first reported that Daniel Lee lives across the country and has no background working in any school system. 

Lee and Superintendent Tony Thurmond also have a relationship that goes back 30 years. Politico reported that Lee was part of Thurmond's wedding party. 

Carl Pinkston is the director of operations for the Black Parallel School Board, which is a community-based, parent activist organization in the Sacramento region. 

"In the midst of the pandemic, the opportunity gap has widened even more," Pinkston said. 

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That's why he said the position Daniel Lee held is crucial. 

"To have a superintendent of equity at the state level basically lays down the marker to say 'you must do this now,'" he said. 

It's why he’s upset Superintendent Tony Thurmond picked Lee for the position without posting the position first or getting public input.

“We have a lot of really rich and powerful people with knowledge and experience that would’ve been more than welcome to take on this task," he said. 

Onward and upward is the hope, but he is still left with concerns. 

“I'm deeply concerned that now that this person has gone, Daniel Lee is gone, that efforts will be underway to basically get rid of, you know, the superintendent of equity or even the equity department," Pinkston said. 

The California Department of Education (CDE) said they will begin the candidate search to fill the position in the coming weeks. 

"Following updated guidance from CalHR, Dr. Lee offered, and we have accepted, his resignation. We thank him for his work building and advancing CDE's educational equity and student mental health agendas. That important work continues and, in the coming weeks, we will begin the candidate search to fill the position," the CDE said in a statement. 

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