The department oversees funding and testing, and holds local educational agencies accountable for student achievement. Its stated mission is to provide leadership, assistance, oversight, and resources (via teaching and teaching material) so that every Californian has access to a good education.
The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is the nonpartisan (originally partisan) elected executive officer. Superintendents serve four-year terms. The current Superintendent of Public Instruction is Tom Torlakson. The Superintendent serves as the state's chief spokesperson for public schools, and provides education policy and direction to local school districts. He also serves as an ex officio member of governing boards of the state's higher education system.