Albany Bill Would Add Family to Special Education Factors

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is weighing whether to sign a bill on special education that opponents argue would give families more power to send their children to religious schools at taxpayers’ expense.

Under a measure passed by both houses of the State Legislature last month, the “home life and family background” of special education students must be taken into consideration when public school officials are deciding whether to place a child in a public school or pay for private schooling.

Court rulings in recent years have given parents more leverage to demand that the public cover the cost of private special education, if it is determined that public schools cannot meet their needs. Under the bill, those needs would include compatibility with their “home life and family background.”

Critics of the bill, including the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, said the language in the bill was too broad and could cover anything from clothing or food preferences to the cultural norms and customs practiced in Orthodox Jewish, Roman Catholic or other religious households.

via Albany Bill Would Add Family to Special Education Factors – NYTimes.com.

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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