As I started blogging, I heard a ton of people telling me I should talk to Kim Williams. I didn’t even know it was possible to talk to a State Representative who wasn’t in your district. Of course now I know how silly that is, but at the time I didn’t. Kim Williams and I think a lot alike. Many of the things I am passionate about in education Kim is as well. At the end of the day, it is about equality and equity.
To say Kim had a busy year at Legislative Hall would be the understatement of the year. She started the 148th General Assembly by submitting education legislation that not only made sense but was a long time coming. House Bill #28 would make sure charters send funds if a student transfers out of a charter school after September 30th. One of my favorite bills of the year, House Bill #30, would ensure students in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade who qualify as basic special education through their IEP would get the additional funding that has long been denied them. In an effort to make sure “priority schools” do not lose control at the local level in picking their leaders, Kim introduced House Bill #107. In another attempt at trying to mitigate the power of the Delaware Department of Education, HB #108 would have given the General Assembly the ability to vote on any ESEA waiver prior to their sending it to the US DOE (now a moot point as the Every Student Succeeds Act kicks ESEA waivers to the curb). #130 dealt with fees for educator licensure.
Kim also serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Education Committee. With all of the legislation coming through Legislative Hall pertaining to education, she does an admirable job helping to get through it all. She was a huge supporter of the parent opt-out legislation, House Bill 50.
Perhaps her most controversial, but also a much needed bill, was House Bill #186. This bill passed the House of Representatives on June 30th, and is now in the Senate Education Committee. This bill was actually the third dealing with charter school audits. HB #53 and #154 set the stage, but were both combined to become House Bill #186. With fierce opposition from the Delaware Charter Schools Network, Kim had to fight tooth and nail to get this bill as far as it has. This bill mandates charters have their post-audits done through the Delaware Auditor of Accounts. Watching Kim fight for this bill was a wonder to behold.
I have talked to Kim on many occasions. When there is a hotbed issue going on in Delaware education, she is there. Whether it is at a troubled charter school, a school board meeting, the State Board of Education, a WEIC meeting, or the Delaware DOE. Her dedication to improving the lives of Delaware students is unparalleled in the General Assembly. She is not afraid to ask the tough questions. Her dedication to her family is amazing as well and they support her 100%. I look forward to watching Kim in the coming years, and I know she will continue to look out for Delaware education.