DELAINE EASTIN'S VIEWS ON
(exerpts from speech delievered at UCLA April 24, 1994)
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.
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