DELAINE EASTIN'S FOUR-PART AGENDA
(The following is an exerpt from a speech delivered by Delaine
Eastin at UCLA, April 28, 1994. It sets forth what she calls
her "Four R's" of public education)
Responsibility is the core value of reform. If our schools
are to get back on top, we must all share responsibility for our
First and foremost, I believe that parents must take respon
sibility for participating in their children's schooling. We
have come to expect far too much of our schools and teachers.
Parents simply must become more involved in their children's
Although the government and the schools should never become
the parents for our children, there is much that the government
can do to make parenting easier.
First, we know that in many families, both parents work and
have less time to spend with their children on schoolwork.
Government can and should take the lead to give parents more
flexibility from their work schedules to participate at school.
I am currently carrying legislation to allow public and
private sector employees who are parents to have flex-time to get
involved in their children's schooling. Some private sector
employers -- such as Apple Computer -- already do this and have
had great success.
As Superintendent, I will encourage employers -- both public
and private -- to make it easier for their employees to spend
time on school.
Second, we know that some parents -- even if they have the
time -- are simply ill-equipped to assist with their children's
schooling. Language problems and cultural barriers make it
difficult for them to actively participate.
In the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act, the Congress just voted to send millions of dol
lars to California for parent training. That's a down payment.
We must target that money to the parents who need it most and we
must commit to expanding that program.
Just as parents have a responsibility to participate,
teachers have a responsibility to stay current, engaged and an
inspiration to their students.
The California Writing Project is a highly successful teach
er training program, in which outstanding teachers are selected
from schools and provided with intensive preparation -- both
during the summer and on weekends throughout the school year.
They are paid an honorarium for their work. They then assist in
the inservice preparation of their colleagues.
A great deal of work has gone into expanding this model for
other subject areas. But, like many other programs, it stalled a
few years ago due to lack of funding.
In the new federal Goals 2000 legislation, the Congress and
the President set aside 10 million new dollars for professional
development in California. I want to use that new federal fund
ing to reinvigorate our model inservice preparation program.
But the long-term problem is this: how do you get more
professional development days without cutting instruction time in
Right now, we send our kids to school 180 days a year --
less than any other industrialized nation. The Japanese send
their kids to school 240 days a year. Most of Europe is over
I don't think we need to go as high as 240, but I believe we
need to get closer to 200 -- and use some of those days for
Finally, if parents and teachers are going to do their part,
the community must take responsibility for providing a clean,
safe environment for learning.
That means getting guns out of schools and providing schools
the resources they need to do their job.
I recently held a policy retreat here in Los Angeles on the
issue of school violence. We invited a representative of LAPD.
Someone from the District Attorney's office. The Chief of the LA
School Police. I expected to hear all about metal detectors and
Instead, the group of law enforcement officials sounded like
social workers. They told me -- and I believe them -- that the
most effective way to combat violent behavior is to change the
Specifically, they said that money is much more wisely spent
on teaching peer mediation, conflict resolution, violence preven
tion, vocational training and summer jobs.
I'm currently carrying legislation that will help fund those
programs through a fee assessed on the sale of new guns and
ammunition. The fee should raise 45 million dollars a year. The
Clinton Administration has also earmarked 10 million new dollars
for safe schools. Together, they will fund on-site instruction
for students and teachers to help rid our schools of violence.
*Readiness for the 21st Century*
Readiness for the 21st century is the goal of reform. Our
students -- both those who go on to college as well as those who
don't -- must be prepared for work in the information age.
I want to focus my attention on two ways to prepare our
young people for the jobs of the future.
First, we must have technology in the classroom -- and our
schools must be wired to handle new technology.
As Superintendent, I'll prepare and execute a long-range
plan to equip every public school classroom in the state with
basic technology tools by the year 2000.
To begin that task, I've sponsored a $200 million bond
measure for the November ballot to provide funding to local
school districts for new technology -- and to wire schools that
I will also continue to work with the private sector to get
them to pitch in. I was proud to have been there a month ago
when my former employer, Pacific Telesis, handed over a check to
the children of California for 100 million dollars for new tech
nology in the schools. That was a wonderful and generous gift.
I think other California companies are willing to help -- if they
believe the money will be well spent.
Let's face it: in the current political environment, it is
hard to get more funding from taxpayers.
Any successful plan to put technology in the schools will
need a private sector component. I'll crusade, persuade and
cajole to get private funding for technology.
I also want to focus a great deal of my time and attention
on non-college bound young people. My father was a machinist.
My brother repairs commercial air conditioning and refridgeration
systems. I have a deep appreciation and respect for the skilled
We must develop a technical curriculum that prepares young
men and women for work in the information age. And we cannot do
that with programs and equipment that are mired in the 1950s.
We must modernize not only our equipment, but our approach
to learning -- by linking school more closely to the workplace.
We face an additional challenge presented by the downsizing
of the military. We didn't just lose military jobs. We lost one
of the best training programs in America. And we've got to make
up for it.
Right now in California, we have a patchwork of 23 different
programs for non-college bound kids. They have a total budget in
excess of $3 billion. But there is no comprehensive school to
work transition *system*. There is a great deal of overlap --
and no clearly articulated learning program with standards,
modern curriculum and skills certificates.
Again, we are getting some help from the federal government.
The Senate passed the School to Work Transition Act just last
week -- which will give California 18 million dollars in new
funding next year.
We've got to use that federal money to develop a curriculum
frameworks and assessment measures for for non-college bound
young people -- in much the same way we've done for college bound
over the last decade.
We have successful models for such a system -- in the 45
"partnership academies," where business works in partnership with
schools to provide students with job skills.
The Printing Industry Association in Pasadena, for example,
prepares kids for jobs in the printing industry. There is a
health care academy in Fresno. A computer academy in San Diego.
Partnership Academies provide an excellent model. But we need
more of them as well as an articulated program between high
school and post-secondary training.
All these reforms will mean nothing if we don't have stan
dards by which we can measure success for students and teachers.
The new CLAS tests are a very promising assessment measure.
But CLAS is coming under increasing amounts of criticism --
especially from the Radical Right.
The first broadside came when the Radical Right prevailed
upon the State Board of Education to eliminate three stories from
the CLAS test -- two by Alice Walker and one by Annie Dillard.
I called a hearing to investigate the matter, which I am
pleased to say resulted in a reversal by the State Board of
Education. They have reinstated the Alice Walker and Annie
Dillard stories on the test.
Now the Radical Right is fighting CLAS by suing school
boards -- saying parents ought to be able to review the tests in
advance, or worse still, that entire districts should opt out of
The school board in Antelope Valley recently voted to boy
cott CLAS -- by not administering the CLAS tests. So those of us
who want higher standards will very clearly have a fight on our
hands. I view the continued support of CLAS -- its improvement
and full funding -- as one of my most important tasks.
We also need better means of evaluating teachers. The
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has made
significant progress in developing new standards by which to
judge teachers. These tests, which are voluntary, will be avail
able this year throughout the nation.
We have just now begun to work with the National Board to
explore how the national framework will fit with California law.
I will make these new teaching standards a priority.
In addition to new standards, we also need to recruit new
teachers to the profession -- particularly members of minority
groups. Although an increasing percentage of California students
are minorities, over 80 percent of new teachers coming into the
field are white. We need better outreach to identify college
students who may want to go into teaching, and we absolutely have
to raise the morale of the teaching profession.
I agree with Lee Iacocca. Iacocca said, "In a well-ordered
society, the best and brightest would all want to be teachers."
If we don't value teaching more highly as a society, we'll
never attract more and better young people into teaching.
Increasing local control is the fundamental principle behind
reform. We must revive education by moving decisionmaking away
from Sacramento all the way to the individual school -- where
parents, teachers, administrators, school staff, and community
leaders can best decide how to run their schools.
I don't believe that the state should be in the business of
micro-managing how teachers teach in the classroom.
It should set the standards of *what* students should know
when they graduate and let teachers, parents, administrators and
community leaders decide *how* best to reach those standards.
We began a bold experiment a year ago when we passed the
charter schools legislation. It allows schools to apply to the
state to waive most state regulation. There are nearly 40 chart
er schools in California today, and while they are all different,
they share a common thread of success. Parents are participat
ing. And teachers and administrators have greater freedom.
Take the Vaughn Street Elementary School here in Los An
geles, for example. Under the dynamic leadership of a woman
named Yvonne Chan, Vaughn Street has done incredible things.
On the surface, it looks like many other urban schools --
majority minority school population, lower-income parents, large
numbers of non-English speaking students.
But they have on-site day care and health care. Parents
come in on the weekend to fix up the school. They teach parents
English as a second languange. They have created a *community*
-- and bent every regulation in sight in order to serve kids
Now that we have changed the law to *allow* schools like
Vaughn Street to exist, the state Department of Education needs
to provide the back-up and training to *foster* them.
I want the Department of Education to be an incubator for
change. I'll put together support teams to go to school sites to
work with parents, teachers and administrators to develop new
If they succeed, there is no reason to limit the state to
100 charter schools, as currently required by law. We should
take the lid off to allow unlimited innovation.
In moving control to the local level, we also need to in
crease local involvement in school funding. California has the
smallest percentage of local contribution to school funding of
any state in the nation.
I will support any of several options to allow voters at the
local level a greater voice in school funding.
The most obvious is a simple majority vote sales tax -- like
we currently have for the roads. Many counties throughout the
state -- even conservative counties like Orange -- have voted to
increase sales tax to fix the roads. But although nobody thinks
cars are more important than kids, it's not possible to vote for
the same sales tax to fix the schools.
Another option is a local option income tax. I have been
working with Stanford University Professor Michael Kirst on a
California bill patterned after a successful Ohio law that allows
voters the option of raising local income taxes to go directly to
Finally, I support lowering the majority vote needed to pass
a parcel tax vote for school bond from 2/3 to 50%.
We don't necessarily need all three, but we definitely need
to move in the direction of greater flexibility for local funding
Responsibility. Readiness. Results. Reform.
Here in a hall on a university campus, they may sound de
But I am continually reminded of the children who make this
policy-wonk discussion so very real. I visit schools often. I
enjoy talking and interacting with children. I am constantly
amazed by their insights -- and awed by their potential.
Children are what this is really all about.
Passing on to them a decent education is one of our socie
ty's most worthy purposes. With an education, their possibili
ties are almost limitless.
One of my favorite stories is of Archimedes -- the inventor
of the lever. When he was asked, "Just how powerful is this
Archimedes replied, "Give me a place to stand and I will
move the world."
I say, help me give the children of California a place to
stand, and they will move the world.
Thank you very much.
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