Delaine Eastin

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Delaine Eastin
25th State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California
In office
January 2, 1995 – January 5, 2003
Governor Pete Wilson
Gray Davis
Preceded by Bill Honig
Succeeded by Jack O'Connell
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 20th district
In office
Preceded by Ted Lempert
Succeeded by Liz Figueroa
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 18th district
In office
Preceded by Alister McAlister
Succeeded by Johan Klehs
Personal details
Born (1947-08-20) August 20, 1947 (age 67)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic

Delaine Eastin (born August 20, 1947) is an American politician. She served as the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1995 to 2003. 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 now lives in Davis. Prior to her election as State Superintendent, Eastin served four terms in the State Assembly representing parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties, and chaired the Assembly Committee on Education. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Eastin was unable to run for a third term in 2002 due to term limits and was succeeded by former State Senator Jack O'Connell.

On November 8, 1994, Eastin was elected to a four-year term as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, becoming 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 [1].


Court actions[edit]

In June 2007, a report by Dan Walters of the San Jose Mercury News outlined court actions relating to controversial use of state funding by Eastin's department. In the early 1990s California's Department of Education gave millions of dollars in federal funds to some community groups; it was subsequently alleged by departmental civil servants that "much of the money was siphoned off by executives of the supposedly non-profit groups for purposes such as their own salaries and expensive cars", and that this was due to their political connections with Eastin and members of the California State Legislature.[1] When a group of state officials discovered the discrepancies, they publicized their findings, but suffered demotions or letters of reprimand as a result. Eventually, a federal lawsuit was filed against the department, leading to the eventual refund of $3.3 million from the state to the federal government and the prosecution of some of the community group leaders involved.[1] James Lindberg, one of the state employees who publicized the discrepancies, later sued Eastin, Joan Polster and the Department of Education alleging that he was constructively discharged. A Sacramento County Superior Court jury awarded $4.5 million in compensatory damages. A separate punitive damage award against Eastin was thrown out by the trial judge, and the compensatory damage award was reversed by the court of appeal. A second jury trial increased the compensatory damage award to $7.6 million. However, while the appeal from that award was pending, the parties reached a settlement in which the Department of Education paid $4.25 million in exchange for a full release of all claims. The Department was criticized for spending state funds on fighting these lawsuits.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Dan Walters (30 June 2007). "Education dollars squandered in courtroom". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Alister McAlister
California State Assemblywoman, 18th District
Succeeded by
Johan Klehs
Preceded by
Ted Lempert
California State Assemblywoman, 20th District
Succeeded by
Liz Figueroa
Preceded by
Bill Honig
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
January 2, 1995 – January 5, 2003
Succeeded by
Jack O'Connell