California State Government November 3, 1998 General
Smart Voter

Full Biography for Delaine Eastin

Candidate for
State Superintendent of Public Instruction


This information is provided by the candidate


On November 8, 1994, Delaine Eastin was elected to a four year term as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Eastin is the highest ranking official in California's elementary and secondary public school system and the first woman to be elected State Superintendent.

Upon taking office, Eastin made class size reduction her top priority. Her advocacy persuaded the Governor and the legislature to invest $2.5 billion in cutting class sizes. Today, K-3 class sizes have been cut from 30 to 20 students in over 86,000 classrooms in 98% of all school districts.

In response to declining student performance, State Superintendent Eastin led the adoption of high statewide academic standards in reading and math. High standards in science and social studies are currently being adopted. Eastin also implemented a new statewide test and established a new system to increase the accountability of every school and district in the state.

In the fall of 1995, Superintendent Eastin launched the "Challenge Initiative," a groundbreaking reform effort to raise standards and accountability. Fifty-six school districts, covering nearly 500,000 students, embraced the Challenge and agreed to set high standards for every subject area in all grade levels.

During her first term, Eastin cut administrative waste by streamlining contracting procedures in the Department of Education and by standardizing accounting procedures. She also established the California Education Technology Task Force to craft a statewide plan to increase student access to technology in the classroom.

Over the past year, Eastin has been leading the fight to raise school funding to the national average. California, which ranked fifth in the nation in per-pupil funding in 1965, now ranks near the bottom -- almost $1,000 below the national average.

As State Superintendent, Eastin serves as the Executive Officer and Secretary of the State Board of Education and is the Director of the California Department of Education. In addition, the State Superintendent is a member of various boards and commissions that make education policy in the state. The most notable of these are the Regents of the University of California and the Trustees of the California State University system.

Prior to her election as State Superintendent, Eastin served four terms in the State Assembly and chaired the Assembly Committee on Education.

A native Californian, Eastin received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Davis, and her master's degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After teaching political science and women's studies for seven years, Eastin served as a corporate manager for Pacific Telesis Group, a position she held until her election to the State Assembly. Eastin lives with her husband Jack Saunders in Fremont.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 6, 1998 14:08
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