After another long night and morning of counting votes, I am honored to have been declared the winner in the race to become California's 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to help me reach the campaign's finish line successfully. It was an intense final sprint. So many people gave so much time and effort to spread the word about my campaign. Your dedication and perseverance made this victory possible.
The margin of victory is larger than pundits expected (over nine points as of this morning). It also was a broad-based victory, with our team currently leading in 34 counties -- ranging from a very strong Bay Area finish to counties like Del Norte and Humboldt in the north, to Plumas and Mono in the east, to Stanislaus and Merced in the Central Valley, to Orange and San Bernardino (and we're only one point behind in San Diego). We also turned Los Angeles County from the place in which I had my largest defeat to my opponent in June into what is currently a 15-point, 209,832-vote lead.
Now the real work begins. It is going to take a large and diverse coalition -- teachers, parents and students; business and labor leaders; school board members and administrators; Mayors and County Supervisors; top Republicans and Democrats -- working together to stop the cuts to our schools and to forge creative partnerships. It's going to take great effort to make sure every school can provide a top-quality education to every student in a safe and healthy environment.
We will need to work together to enact real reforms to our schools and build on the successes we've seen -- like those from the schools participating in the Quality Education Improvement Act program. I authored this legislation to help California's most at-risk students. We have to close the achievement gap and reduce the terrible drop-out rate.
As I committed to do during the campaign, I will take what I've learned as a science teacher, high school coach, and elected official and put that experience to work to restore our schools to the top ranks in the nation. We must provide our valiantly hard-working teachers and school employees with the resources they need to help our students succeed.
That's my goal. I look forward to continuing to work with you to fight for all of our students!