Steve Sanders, the former head of the state Assembly’s education committee (he served 1995-2005), and an architect of the current mayoral control law, is jumping to the other side of that debate. Today, he joined the New York State School Boards Association’s efforts to revise the mayoral control law when it comes up for reauthorization next year. This is a pretty strong turn, since the job of NYSSBA, as it’s known, is to lobby on behalf of the school boards that mayoral control advocates seek to abolish.
Here’s how Sanders explains his switch in the NYSSBA press release:
The original 2002 law authorizing mayoral control was not intended to give the Mayor absolute and unquestioned power over all education policy. Among its provisions was the creation of a high level citywide ‘Board of Education’ to provide a measure of oversight and checks and balances. The citywide Board was expected to exercise its own judgment and due diligence on policy matters of citywide and systemic importance and also be responsive to the views of the public. However, that Board has been rendered virtually irrelevant. This is absolutely contrary to the intent of the law. At the same time, many parents want reasonable input into how their schools are run.