Ainye Long

Ainye Long’s 2022 campaign for California Superintendent of Public Instruction, while ultimately unsuccessful, provided valuable experience and name recognition that could aid future runs for public office. Her background as an educator and progressive policy stances reflect her commitment to improving public education in California. While Long fell short in the primary, she continues advocating for students, teachers, and families in the state.

Background on Ainye Long

Early Life and Education

Ainye Long was born in Berkeley, California and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her mother worked as a public school teacher, which Long credits with initially sparking her interest in education. After graduating from high school in Mountain View, Long attended the University of California, Santa Cruz. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2006.

Her college experiences with student activism and campus organizing helped shape her progressive political views. Long also gained firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing students and families in California’s public education system. These insights would later inform her education policy platforms and priorities.

Professional Background

After college, Long worked in the Mountain View Whisman School District as an elementary school teacher. She taught 3rd and 4th grade, gaining over a decade of classroom experience. Long emphasized hands-on, creative teaching methods to engage her students. She also spearheaded efforts to implement restorative justice practices for student discipline.

Outside the classroom, Long took on leadership roles within her teacher’s union chapter. She worked to expand professional development opportunities for educators in her district. Long also collaborated with parents and community groups to host cultural events celebrating her school’s diversity. These efforts earned praise but also fueled her desire to impact education policy more broadly.

2022 Campaign for California Superintendent

Primary Election Results

In 2022, Ainye Long launched a campaign for California Superintendent of Public Instruction. She emphasized her background as a teacher and progressive activist. However, Long faced an uphill battle in the nonpartisan open primary held on June 7th.

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Long ultimately finished 3rd among the field of 7 candidates. The incumbent Superintendent Tony Thurmond placed 1st with 45.9% of the vote. Republican Lance Christensen finished 2nd with 11.9%, narrowly edging out Long’s 11.1% vote share. As the top two vote-getters, Thurmond and Christensen advanced to the November general election.

Despite her loss, Long’s campaign garnered positive attention. She won endorsements from community organizations, activists, and fellow progressive educators. Her grassroots fundraising also demonstrated strong support within the teacher community.

Campaign Platform and Priorities

Long’s campaign centered on progressive education policies aimed at empowering students, teachers, and families. She advocated increased education funding to support universal pre-K access, smaller class sizes, social services, and teacher pay raises. Long also called for decreased reliance on standardized testing and more holistic, culturally responsive teaching practices.

Within California’s charged charter school debates, Long opposed expanding charters at the expense of neighborhood public schools. She instead favored community-driven public school reforms and wraparound services for at-risk students. Long also emphasized environmental education and cited research on the benefits of outdoor learning.

Fundraising and Endorsements

Financial records show Long raised over $45,000 in campaign contributions as of May 2022. Her donor base consisted primarily of individual teachers, union members, and grassroots activists rather than major institutional players.

Notable endorsements included community groups such as Silicon Valley De-Bug and Santa Cruz Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The California Teachers Association PAC also contributed to Long’s campaign. These endorsements reflected her progressive stances and aligned values.

Positions and Policy Views

While her campaign messaging centered on broader themes, Long articulated detailed policy positions during debates, interviews, and education forums. Her stances provide insights into her priorities as an education leader and advocate.

Education Policy Priorities

Long’s overarching goal as Superintendent would have been directing more funding towards California public schools to ensure equal access and opportunity. She supported Proposition 28 on the 2022 ballot to increase arts education funding. Long also called for expanded STEM programming and hands-on learning opportunities.

In terms of governance, she favored community-driven school improvement plans tailored to local needs. Long opposed intrusive top-down oversight models that she felt undermined teacher autonomy. She instead wanted to empower educators to innovate while providing needed training and resources.

School Choice and Charters

While supportive of public school choice options, Long opposed California’s charter school expansion. She argued that unchecked growth diverted funds from neighborhood schools and decentralized accountability. Long instead wanted to prioritize reforming and strengthening traditional public schools.

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For existing charters, she called for stricter oversight and requirements regarding fiscal transparency, enrollment policies, and alignment with state standards. Long suggested establishing local authorizing bodies more responsive to community concerns than statewide agencies.

Curriculum and Standards

Long’s curriculum views emphasized holistic development and student engagement over test scores alone. She advocated allowing teachers flexibility to go beyond state standards and textbooks. Long supported ethnic studies and culturally relevant curricula reflecting student diversity.

Regarding assessments, she argued that over-testing cut into instructional time without benefiting students. Long wanted shift focus from standardized tests to more holistic measures of growth tailored to individual needs and learning styles.

Teacher Quality and Training

Long opposed using rigid metrics like test scores to evaluate teachers, arguing they impose one-size-fits-all standards. She instead suggested community-driven teacher development plans tailored to each educator’s strengths and growth areas.

In terms of professional support, Long advocated increased teacher training in practices like cultural competency, restorative justice, and social-emotional learning. She also called for higher salaries and expanded mentoring programs to recruit and retain teachers.

Education Technology

While open to ed tech tools as supplements, Long opposed full virtual or AI-driven learning models. She felt technology could never fully replace experienced teachers’ insights. Long also raised concerns about equitable access, given many families’ limited resources and tech literacy.

For classroom tech use, she encouraged striking a balance between digital and hands-on tools. Long suggested targeted tech integration focused on enhancing real-world projects and skills development rather than passive consumption alone.

Special Education

Long argued that California’s special education system needed an overhaul to focus on inclusion rather than isolation. She supported expanded mainstreaming and opposed concentrating high-needs students in segregated settings that stifled growth.

Long also called for increased staffing, training, and resources to support differentiated instruction and individualized accommodations. She believed such investments key to ensuring equal educational access and dignity for all students.

Looking Ahead

While her 2022 Superintendent bid fell short, Ainye Long’s future in California education policy remains bright given her passion and experience. Both her campaign and ongoing advocacy provide insights into how she might continue impacting the field.

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Future Campaigns

Despite her primary loss, Long gained valuable campaign experience to inform potential future runs for education offices. With more name recognition and fundraising capacity, she could mount an even stronger Superintendent bid.

Long could also consider pivoting to run for local school board or State Board of Education seats open in her northern California region. Such positions would allow her to implement her policy vision on a smaller scale.

Ongoing Advocacy

Regardless of her own electoral prospects, Long seems committed to keep engaging in education policy debates as an advocate. She can use her platform to shape discussions on charter schools, curriculum reform, school funding, and other hot button issues facing California.

Through public speaking, media appearances, and community organizing, Long provides an informed progressive perspective. She elevates the voices of teachers, families, and marginalized students to the forefront. Even outside office, Long’s passion thus helps drive positive policy reforms.


While falling short in her 2022 California Superintendent bid, Ainye Long’s campaign provided valuable experience for future electoral prospects. More significantly, it demonstrated her commitment to lifting up community voices and progressive education policies. Long’s background as an educator grounds her understanding of what schools and students need to thrive. She will likely continue advocating for increased investments, resource equity, and empowering reforms as California aims to improve its public education system. Despite her primary loss, Long’s resolve and candor offer hope that every student may receive a quality, empowering education.


WhatProfessional Background did Ainye Long have before running for Superintendent?

Long worked for over a decade as an elementary school teacher in the Mountain View Whisman School District. She taught 3rd and 4th grades and took on teacher leadership roles in areas like union engagement and restorative justice.

How did Long perform in the 2022 California Superintendent primary?

Long finished 3rd in the June 2022 primary election, capturing 11.1% of the vote. The top two finishers, Tony Thurmond and Lance Christensen, advanced to the general election.

What were some of Long’s key Education Policy Priorities?

Long advocated increased education funding, support for teachers, holistic/culturally responsive teaching, decreased standardized testing, locally driven reform plans, and strengthening traditional public schools over expanding charters.

What might Long do in terms of Future Campaigns or Advocacy?

Long could run for local school board or State Board of Education seats in the future. She also seems committed to keep advocating for progressive policies through media, speaking events, and community organizing.

How did Long fundraise and attract endorsements?

Long raised over $45,000, mostly from individual teachers, unions, and activists rather than institutional players. She won endorsements from progressive community groups and the California Teachers Association.

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