New York, New York , United States
|| August 06, 1951
Nov 04, 2004 01:22am
|Info||Assemblyman Steven Sanders (D, Manhattan), Chairman of the Committee on Education, was first elected to the Assembly on February 14, 1978 and represents a district on Manhattan's East Side. Mr. Sanders, a lifelong resident of New York City, graduated from City College in 1973 with a degree in government. Before his election to the State Assembly, he served as president of the Stuyvesant Town Tenants Association. |
Mr. Sanders was named Chairman of the Committee on Education by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in January 1995. Much of his work involves advocacy for equitable funding for school districts and reforms that support bolstering educational quality in the classroom. He helped negotiate an agreement with Mayor Bloomberg in June 2002 to dramatically restructure the governance of New York City's Board of Education, and he sponsored with Speaker Sheldon Silver comprehensive legislation to give the Mayor accountability while ensuring continued public input on educational policy and parental representation on new local school councils.
Since becoming Chairman of the Education Committee, Mr. Sanders's leadership has helped secure a nearly $5 billion increase in funding to school districts statewide, of which approximately $2 billion has gone to New York City.
Among his accomplishments in the area of improving our public schools are: enactment of universal pre-kindergarten programming, a phase-in of reduced class sizes in grades K-3 and achieving a substantial increase in the State's share of education costs. In 1999, Mr. Sanders was instrumental in negotiating a landmark contract agreement between the City of New York and the union representing school principals, which resulted in a historic increase in compensation, as well as a new system of accountability with due process. He also sponsored into law in 2000 legislation which provides funding to help recruit and retain new teachers in New York State.
Current educational priorities include passage of the Dignity for All Students Act, to address discrimination, harassment and bullying in schools; ensuring that all school facilities are environmentally safe; and revising the State education aid formulas to ensure that high-needs school districts receive adequate and equitable funding in the State budget. Mr. Sanders supports the Regents’ vigorous academic standards for all students but strongly opposes the inappropriate use of high-stakes tests as the sole factor in determining eligibility either for graduation or for grade retention. He advocates very early screening for learning disabilities, vision or hearing impairments, and for other conditions that may require special intervention, so that every child can learn and succeed.
A longtime champion of civil rights, Mr. Sanders was the prime Assembly sponsor of "SONDA," the Sexual Orientation Non-discrimination Act, which after a ten-year delay in the State Senate, was finally signed into law in December of 2002. The law adds the words "sexual orientation" to the State's existing human rights law, which protects persons from discrimination in employment, credit, public accommodations and education.
From 1993-1994, as Chairman of the Committee on Mental Health, Mr. Sanders revamped the State funding system for the mentally ill, resulting in an additional $100 million to New York City for desperately needed services for the mentally ill and homeless. Mr. Sanders's efforts also led to significant community involvement in the siting of proposed facilities for the mentally disabled.
As Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Operations from 1989-92, Mr. Sanders led efforts to restructure and improve the Crime Victims Board; to streamline government contracting; and to expand public access to governmental meetings and documents.
Previously, as Chairman of the Committee on Election Law, he led the fight for public financing of campaigns and reforming ballot access laws.
Mr. Sanders is a leading advocate for tenants, seniors and persons with disabilities and has a highly distinguished legislative and community record of accomplishment in these areas. He was a prime sponsor of the State's Hate Crimes Law, is an ardent and vocal defender of women's reproductive freedom, and a proponent of enhanced services, including housing, for people with AIDS. He is the preeminent legislator advocating for improved health care and appropriate educational programs for the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing.
Locally, Mr. Sanders has been outspoken about the need to reclaim New York City's waterfront for recreational use and to contain over-development on Manhattan's East Side – in particular, at property currently owned by Con Edison near the United Nations complex.
Mr. Sanders has been honored by many organizations in the areas of education, civil rights and services to people with disabilities. Other tributes to Mr. Sanders have been made by groups such as the United Jewish Appeal, and Common Cause, which made him its first ever "Ethical Legislator of the Year."