TriggerFinger


School choice in West Virginia


The FederalistThat was then; this is now. Last week, with very little noise or fanfare, the West Virginia legislature passed the most expansive Education Savings Account program in America. While ESAs in most states are only open to a small percentage of children, the new West Virginia Hope Scholarship will be available to 90 percent of schoolchildren in the state. Every child currently enrolled in public school is eligible, plus those newly aging in.

“It’s a game-changer,” says Garrett Ballengee of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, a conservative think tank and proponent of the bill. “If you add up every single ESA utilizer in the rest of the country, there are only about 20,000 of them. The Hope Scholarship will automatically open it up to ten times that many children in West Virginia alone.”

Applicants for the Hope Scholarship will receive 100 percent of their state education dollars — $4,600 annually — in lieu of public schooling. (County and federal funds will remain in the system.) The scholarship is usable for private school tuition, homeschool curriculum, or other education expenses. Gov. Jim Justice, a vocal opponent of ESAs as recently as 2019, has signaled he’s likely to sign.

This is a glimmer of hope that education reform is possible -- especially after a disastrous year of public schooling failures. But we'll need a lot more states than West Virginia to make it stick.

This entry was published Fri Apr 02 22:20:38 CDT 2021 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2021-04-02 22:20:38.0. [Tweet]

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