Gloria Matta Tuchman, the Santa Ana teacher co-chairing the anti-bilingual “English for the Children” initiative, announced Tuesday that she will run for state superintendent of public instruction.
“I believe all high school graduates should be able to read, write and speak in English,” said Tuchman, a longtime foe of bilingual education working in partnership with businessman Ron Unz.
Tuchman, a 56-year-old Republican, will face incumbent Delaine Eastin, a Democrat, in the June primary.
This is Tuchman’s second run for the superintendent post’s. In 1994, she came in fifth in a field of 12 candidates in the June primary.
Her honorary campaign chairman in this race will be Jaime Escalante, a Hiram Johnson math teacher who also is honorary chairman of the Unz initiative.
In addition to her opposition of bilingual education, Tuchman said Tuesday that she opposes social promotion and supports lengthening the school year, making class-size reductions permanent and returning to an emphasis on basic skills.
She said she supports Gov. Pete Wilson’s proposal to provide “opportunity scholarships” to students at the state’s lowest-performing schools so they can attend private schools.
Asked about her support for vouchers, Tuchman admitted, “I do not have a lot of information,” and said she plans to meet with representatives of the governor.
Cliff Staton, Eastin’s campaign strategist, said she opposes opportunity scholarships and Tuchman’s initiative, which would provide non-English-speaking children with one year of English “immersion” before they are mainstreamed. He said Eastin has pushed for a longer school year, wants to end social promotion and was an early proponent of class-size reductions.
“We now have smaller classes, higher test scores and more technology than when she took office,” Staton said, “but we still have a long way to go.”