Published Online: September 9, 1998
Published in Print: September 9, 1998, as State Journal

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A teacher no more

When California state schools chief Delaine Eastin recently added the word "teacher" to her identification on the November ballot, her challenger, 1st grade teacher Gloria Matta Tuchman of Santa Ana, cried foul.

After all, Ms. Eastin last taught in 1979 at De Anza Community College in Cupertino. And although she holds a teaching credential, she's never been a full-time K-12 teacher. So Ms. Tuchman sued, saying that the description of Ms. Eastin was misleading.

Late last month, Sacramento Superior Court Judge James T. Ford agreed, and struck "teacher" from Ms. Eastin's proposed ballot title of "teacher/state superintendent."

Ms. Eastin's campaign office could not be reached for comment. In local media reports, her campaign downplayed the difference between being a teacher at the community college and K-12 levels. The office also noted that Ms. Eastin, a Democrat, was allowed to use the term in her successful run for state superintendent in 1994.

The Tuchman camp jumped on the ruling. "Ms. Eastin's actions are very frustrating for me as a long-time 1st grade teacher," said Ms. Tuchman, a Republican who co-directed the successful initiative campaign to virtually end bilingual education in the state. "I am running for this position to apply my experience as a teacher to the superintendent's post."

Getting the vote out

The Arizona secretary of state's office has joined with the nonprofit Rock the Vote to send birthday reminders to 25,000 teenagers eligible to vote for the first time this year.

Each card includes a birthday greeting, a pre-addressed voter-registration form, and a message from Secretary of State Betsey Bayless. "I vote because my vote is my voice," the card reads. "Because I can only make a difference if I speak up."

The cards are intended to reach out to a voting group whose needs are often overlooked by politicians, said Paul G. Berumen, a spokesman for Ms. Bayless. "We wanted to target a new population in Arizona," he said.

With other states expressing interest in organizing such mailings, Arizona and California--which pioneered its own program in 1996--could become national models, said Matt Moseley, the national field director for Rock the Vote, which is devoted to promoting civic responsibility among young people.

--ROBERT C. JOHNSTON & JESSICA L. SANDHAM

Vol. 18, Issue 1, Page 26

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