Board of Equalization
Districts 2 - 40
Nonpartisan candidates: Incumbent Delaine
Eastin of San Francisco, Barbara Carpenter of La Jolla, Miles Everett of Healdsburg,
Mark Isler of Van Nuys, Gloria Tuchman of Santa Ana.
Running for a second term virtually unopposed, state
Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin concludes a first term in which
education became a central issue of concern to voters -- a period in which bipartisan
interest in the troubled state of California schools became a rallying cry for her
frequent nemesis, Governor Pete Wilson, who successfully pressed a hugely popular
class-size reduction program which Eastin had championed, largely unsuccessfully,
when she was a state legislator.
Eastin also completes a first term marred by intense bickering over testing and academic
standards with the Wilson-appointed state Board of Education, which by law sets policy
for the state's schools, as well as festering disagreements with the state's major
education groups, which complain that she doesn't consult them before taking action.
The powerful California Teachers Association, which endorsed her in 1994, this time
has made no endorsement in the primary, saying Eastin was favored by more than 50
percent of the organization's state council, but that a 60 percent majority is required
for endorsements. Neither did the CTA endorse in the races for governor or insurance
Eastin's only major opponent is Santa Ana teacher Gloria Matta Tuchman, a major proponent
of Proposition 227, the anti-bilingual education initiative on the June ballot. Tuchman,
whose honorary campaign chairman is famed math teacher Jaime Escalante, ran against
Eastin in 1994, coming in fifth in a field of 12 candidates. Other candidates in
the nonpartisan primary are Barbara Carpenter, an educational career consultant from
La Jolla; Healdsburg teacher Miles Everett and Van Nuys teacher Mark Isler, who also
lists his occupation as a "businessman/commentator."
Eastin, 50, a Democrat and former assemblywoman from Fremont, taught government and
political science in several community colleges for eight years before becoming an
executive for Pacific Telesis, then moving into local and eventually state politics.
She holds a constitutional office with little real power -- although she heads the
state Department of Education, she does not control the schools' budget, which is
primarily the purview of the governor and the Legislature. Her main role is that
of the so-called "bully pulpit," and she has taken that pulpit throughout
the state. As with other superintendents, she has developed a chilly relationship
with the state board. She also has been criticized by Governor Pete Wilson over what
he perceived as Eastin's failure to move with sufficient dispatch against school
districts opposed to the governor's English-only testing plan.
-- Article by Sigrid Bathen