Hope Is Not Lost in West Virginia

Ups and downs. Steps forward and steps backward. Optimism and despair. Order and chaos.

For anyone working in education policy and education reform, those words and the feelings they conjure are all too familiar. Specifically, for those with a stake in West Virginia’s game-changing Hope Scholarship program, presently embroiled in its own maelstrom of litigation, the vagaries of education choice legislation can be gut-wrenching.

Meanwhile, thousands of West Virginia children and families have been left staring into the education abyss of “Well, what now?”

That abyss resembles well-paid lawyers and well(ish)-dressed union bosses fighting to keep kids in a school their parents clearly don’t like, or want, while grabbing opportunities out of the hands of some of the poorest kids in America.

Late Tuesday, in a 2-1 decision, West Virginia’s Intermediate Court of Appeals failed to stay (basically, “stay” is legalese for “lift”) an injunction against the Hope Scholarship that had been put in place by the Kanawha County Circuit Court. For all intents and purposes, the program has been frozen since the circuit court placed the injunction on July 6, barely a month before some West Virginia schools open their doors.

It is important to note that more than 3,000 children already had been approved for the scholarship program for its inaugural 2022-23 school year, so parents were hoping that a stay would allow the duly-passed Hope Scholarship to continue uninterrupted while it worked its way through the courts.

Alas, it was not meant to be.





Garrett Ballengee is the Executive Director for the Cardinal Institute for WV Policy.

This article was originally published in partnership with reimaginEd