As reported in the NY Times,Governor Cuomo of New York is deciding whether to sign a bill that would allow parents and schools to consider a child’s family background when making placement decisions for a special education child. The bill has already passed both branches of the legislature, and it is supported by religious groups which say many religious students are not prepared for the daily reality of life on our nation’s public school’s campuses. Opposing the bill is New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg, who argues that the language is too broad and could cover all kinds of considerations that are not important to a child’s education. Further, some critics feel the bill, if signed, will cut against the grain of the statutory intent of the IDEA, for which have students in the less restrictive environment and not segregated from their typical peers.
As is true of most federal law, states are free to offer greater protection to individuals than is offered by federal laws, they may not offer less though. If the bill passes, it could lead to other states putting into place such laws.