O’Donnell Appointed to Education Committee

Today Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan) has been appointed to the Standing Committee on Education.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve my community and the Assembly in this capacity,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “I look forward to working closely with Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan to develop education policy that serves all the children of New York State.”

O’Donnell has already taken a lead in the passage of legislation that protects students from discrimination and ensures a safe educational environment. He is the prime sponsor of the Dignity for All Students Act, which passed the Assembly on February 27, 2008, and would afford all students in public schools an environment free of harassment and discrimination based on actual or perceived race, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.

According to Speaker Sheldon Silver, “Assemblymember O’Donnell was appointed to the Education Committee on the merits of his work in the State Assembly and his commitment to addressing the needs of New York’s working families. He is deeply respected for his work in the community, as well as by his colleagues with whom he serves. I am certain he will continue his careful scrutiny of legislation and commitment to excellence as Member of the Committee on Education.”

“Assemblymember O’Donnell’s conscientious advocacy on the part of children and families will be an indisputable asset to the Committee on Education,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Education Committee. “The issues examined by the Committee are of paramount importance to the families of New York State, and his strong progressive voice will serve the state and its children well.”

O’Donnell will now have the ability to be even more involved in issues of great significance to his constituents, including mayoral control, a state statute up for renewal in 2009. Even prior to his appointment to the Education Committee, O’Donnell has been involved in the formation of education policy and advocating on behalf of students.O’Donnell recently attended an Education Committee hearing on English Language Learners/Limited English Proficient Students, where he described to State Education Commissioner Mills the concerns he often hears from parents and grandparents in his district about the quality of their children’s and grandchildren’s education. O’Donnell also questioned representatives of the New York City Department of Education about the impact of charter schools on resources available to public school students, especially children with English Language Learning (ELL) needs.

“As a member of the Education Committee, I will be able to more effectively advocate on issues that are of tremendous import to my constituents – and to all residents of New York State,” said O’Donnell. “I believe this advocacy to be the most important aspect of this appointment.”

Nearly 600 pieces of prospective legislation are reviewed by the Assembly Committee on Education during each two-year legislative term. The Committee deals with issues of great importance to the families of the 69th Assembly District, including mayoral control, class size, school funding, pre-k and early childhood education, testing, special education, transportation, breakfast and nutrition, health care services, construction and maintenance of school buildings, and charter schools.

Assembly Member O’Donnell has represented the 69th Assembly District since 2003. His district includes portions of the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Manhattan Valley, and West Harlem. He currently also serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Trial Procedures, and as a member of the Education; Codes; Environmental Conservation; Judiciary; Oversight, Analysis & Investigation; and Tourism committees.