Hello West Virginia,
It’s hard to believe that 2022 is coming to an end. As the Cardinal Institute team looks back on this year, we can confidently say that it was a very good year for our beautiful state!
We kicked off the year with our first ever West Virginia School Choice Fair in Wheeling! The Cardinal Institute team celebrated National School Choice Week, helped connect families to educators, and showed off the great talents and achievements of students from across the Northern Panhandle region.
We also spent the year working on implementation of the Hope Scholarship, which is finally getting ready to serve families. The program was originally supposed to launch in the Fall of thai year. However, it was temporarily halted in July by a court injunction. During the time of the injunction, families were struggling to change their education plans for the school year. The Cardinal Institute stepped up to help families identify financial aid options made available to them by participating schools and other organizations and to help families create a plan B. We also amplified the voices of many families in an effort to highlight the importance of the Hope Scholarship in a project we call Hope in the Hills.
When the injunction was lifted, we immediately got back to work on implementation. We have been working to identify providers for families. These aren’t just private schools. But also curriculum companies, public transportation groups, private tutors, and any other group that is interested in serving students who are Hope scholars. We have also been helping interested families navigate the program and get set up to participate.
In addition to the Hope Scholarship, this year we also continued our work to eliminate barriers to healthcare access in the Mountain State. Our organization organized the state’s largest coalition to eliminate Certificate of Need laws.
We have also published exciting original research this year. Our Policy & Research team released three papers each highlighting issues that Cardinal is committed to reforming. The first paper, titled Convicting CON, exposes the history of oppressive Certificate of Need laws which restrict healthcare access in West Virginia. Our second paper is titled Regulatory Sandboxes in West Virginia. It advocates for relief from regulatory barriers to allow businesses and industry to experiment and thrive. Our third and final paper of the year was Free Speech at West Virginia Colleges and Universities: Peril and Promise. This paper highlights the restrictive speech codes in some of West Virginia’s colleges and reveals the harm they cause.
Our team is also growing! This year we added another member to our team. Kyle Hanlin has joined us as our Development Director. With his addition to the team, Cardinal is now better positioned to continue improving the Mountain State. Ed Gaunch, a Boone County native and former state senator, joined our Board in December. We are excited to have his help guiding our organization. We are looking to continue growing our team in the New Year by adding a Communications and Social Media Associate to help us continue promoting freedom and prosperity for all West Virginians.
As we step into 2023, we are looking forward to continuing to fight for education freedom for all children in the Mountain State. We are going to be starting next year strong with our 2nd Annual National School Choice Week School Fair on January 28th from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place. It is open to all West Virginia families and free to attend! You can learn more here. We are optimistic that next year will help bring us one step closer to achieving the West Virginia Miracle.
The Cardinal Team
(written by Andrew Bambrick, Education Outreach Coordinator)