Christina School District Board of Education member John Young asked if he could submit a guest post regarding the current Newark Charter School/5 Mile Radius/HS1 for House Bill #85 skirmish. Young is writing this as a citizen and is not speaking for the Christina Board of Education.
There has been a ton of conjecture flying around about multiple legislators and their motives this past week centered around HB85 and its spawn: HS1 for HB85. The original bill sponsored by Reps. Williams, Kowalko, and Sen. Sokola et. al. The substitute only by Rep. Williams and Sen. Sokola, et.al. There has been extreme reaction to this bill here in Delaware with lots of people taking stark, sharp positions. Here’s the reality: 22 years of fighting against the wrongheaded approach with direct assaults has been essentially 100% ineffective. Rep. Kim Williams has cobbled together a band of legislators willing to make a small inroad against the charter cabal, led by Senator David Sokola and his charter loving elitists. Would I, if asked, want to work with Senator David Sokola on education knowing his penchant for attacking traditional public education with a track record replete with defense of de facto segregation? Nope. I wouldn’t. I’ve heard too may stories of Senator Sokola treating colleagues poorly when his pet programs are threatened.
That said, Rep. Kim Williams is a different breed. Unlike many of her colleagues, she puts students first. Is this bill perfect? Heck no! Who would be the first person to agree with that statement? Rep. Kim Williams! I suspect Rep. Williams has worked super hard to get multiple legislators to support HS1 for HB85, not based on their understanding of how this bill impacts kids, but based on their trust and respect for her. That’s how it works in Dover. That’s not an endorsement of how it ought to be, just an acknowledgement of how it is. With that said, I think some of the rhetoric on this bill may jeopardize future successes on other bills if we’re not careful with our over-demonizing. Am I happy that an AG ruling is being sought? Sure. Other than Rep. John Kowalko on that request, are those seeking the ruling leaders on education like Rep. Williams? Not even close. We need to remember that.
I do not envy Rep. Williams position, but I admire her willingness to work within her own party to bridge the divides that SHOULD NOT EVEN EXIST, but because they do they must be confronted in a different way than if Mr. Sokola was in the party he acts like he belongs to on education, the GOP.