The Sad Legacy Of Delaware Senator David Sokola

It’s hard to believe it has been almost 22 months since the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union and Delaware Community Legal Aid announced their complaint against the Delaware Department of Education and Red Clay Consolidated School District.  That complaint is sitting in the Philadelphia Office of Civil Rights collecting dust.  I read the complaint again this morning.  There is a legislator whose name is mentioned a few times in this complaint as the author of legislation that contributed to segregation in Delaware… Senator David Sokola.

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I’ve noticed in the past week that the upcoming General Election in Delaware has many wondering if Sokola’s accomplishments outside of education should give him a second chance.  I’ve argued that no matter what Meredith Chapman’s stances on education are, they pale in comparison to what Sokola has wrought.  To be honest, aside from a video interview with Delaware United and a citizen commenting on a Facebook thread that Chapman supports a parent’s right to opt out of the state assessment, I have not heard enough from her to get a good picture of her views on education.

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Knowing what occurred in Delaware because of certain charter schools and their enrollment practices, I thought this would be a slam-dunk in the Office of Civil Rights.  But that office, an offshoot of the U.S. Department of Education, has been strangely silent.  I am aware these complaints take years to reach a ruling.  But the complaint itself says enough about Senator Sokola that any citizen reading it should be able to have a clear picture in their mind.  The complaint also talks about the ignored warnings and omens from many that came with Sokola’s legislation which led to de facto segregation in parts of Delaware.  I have never heard Sokola apologize for this.  I’ve never seen any indication that he understands any of this.

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David Sokola is a very intelligent man.  He is someone who sees data and facts.   His favorite word is “heartburn” when talking about legislation he doesn’t like.  I’ve heard from many about his support for non-education bills that were very progressive in nature.  But as I’ve always said, if you support legislation that will ultimately harm children, that is not very progressive.  Like the citizens of Delaware who offered warnings before harmful Sokola legislation passed in the Delaware General Assembly, I offer a warning to Delaware.  If the citizens of the 8th Senate District vote Sokola back into another term, Delaware children will suffer.  Numbers don’t lie, and even if those charter schools changed their enrollment preferences to get rid of pre-enrollment assessments, 5 mile radius, sibling preferences, employee preferences, or the many other little things that contributed to the eventual outcomes we now see, it will be years before the situation balances between those three charter schools and the districts around them.

The complaint against the Delaware DOE and Red Clay is below.

Senator Dave Sokola In Crisis Mode

Inside sources at Legislative Hall are telling me Delaware Senator David Sokola is very concerned about his opponent in the General Election for his Senate Seat next November.  As one legislator told me, he is very scared.  Some legislators in the Democrat party are actually hoping he is unseated.  Many blame him for the charter school woes in Delaware based on the very legislation he wrote and sponsored.  As well, his push for Common Core and standardized testing has caused a great deal amount of stress in Legislative Hall.  Many feel more important things could have been done but a lot of time was wasted based on legislation he created.  Others feel he is too biased towards the charter schools which has angered many on the Right and Left.

Last week, Republican Meredith Chapman announced she was running for the Senate 8th District.  A young woman in her thirties, she has a very extensive resume.  Her big draw will be the University of Delaware which is in the center of the 8th District.  Despite the discriminatory comments from the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club over on Kilroy’s Delaware, a lot of folks in Delaware feel Chapman would be a breath of fresh air in the Senate.

As the 148th General Assembly winds down in the next couple months, a lot of legislation will be brought up for a vote.  Education legislation in the Senate that is up for a full Senate vote gets put on the agenda by the Chair of the Senate Education Committee which just so happens to be Sokola.  Will he allow legislation he may not agree with to come up for a vote in order to gain a modicum of respect back from his district?  Or will he stay the course and stick with what Governor Markell wants?  Time will tell…