Education in the wake of COVID: The silver lining (1/31/2021) Op-ed in the Dominion Post from Policy Development Associate, Jessica Dobrinsky.
School opportunities with some flexibility: Is that so much to ask? (1/29/2021) Op-ed in the Herald-Dispatch from Morgantown parent, Katie Switzer.
School choice fair provides options for West Virginia families (1/22/2022) Families from around the Ohio Valley spent the afternoon looking for the best education options for their youth. The Cardinal Institute of West Virginia ensures that all options are seen by those families by bringing them to one central location.
Group files lawsuit to block West Virginia school choice program (1/21/2022) Executive Director, Garrett Ballengee, addresses the lawsuit against the Hope Scholarship. “These frivolous lawsuits occur across the country so opponents of educational freedom can slow down and limit options available to families and students,” Ballengee said. “Education choice programs, like West Virginia’s Hope Scholarship, have a stellar record in the courts, and we are confident that will be the case in West Virginia, as well. It is our hope that this lawsuit is adjudicated quickly, and the state can go on about its business in providing the most expansive education freedom program to families who desperately desire education options.”
Inaugural School Choice Fair to Present Options to West Virginia Families (1/15/2022) “West Virginia has expanded educational options available for the 2022-2023 school year – new charter schools and the Hope Scholarship are among them,” said Amanda Kieffer, communications director at the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy. “We want to celebrate that by connecting families with educators, so they can find the best educational environment for their children.”
Universal School Choice Is the Way to Go (12/16/2021) First up is the Cardinal Institute’s Jessi Troyan to explain how West Virginia went from worst to first when it comes to school choice. Just over two years ago, West Virginia had no school choice programs. In June 2019, a very limited charter school plan was passed. But the real news happened this year, when the state passed the nation’s first nearly universal education savings account (ESA) program. Called the Hope Scholarship, it is open to every current public school students as well as incoming kindergartners—which means more than 90 percent of students in the state will be eligible.
The secret ingredient behind the year of educational choice (12/6/2021) Take West Virginia, for example, which recently enacted the most expansive educational choice policy in the nation. The push for K–12 ESAs there began in 2016, when the year-old Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy first published a report on how West Virginia would benefit from ESAs.5 Success stems not from white papers alone, however. In the ensuing years, Cardinal deliberately built a coalition to advocate for ESAs. As a case study by the State Policy Network details, Cardinal first did outreach to those who would benefit from an ESA, including parents, homeschool organizations, and private school organizations.6 But it didn’t stop there. Cardinal then “brainstormed non-traditional partners who might be interested in education freedom,” including “church leaders and community organizations.”
West Virginia activist sees education choice as key to better quality of life (11/16/2021) Garrett Ballengee is the executive director of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, a nonprofit education choice champion dedicated to researching, developing and communicating effective, free-market economic public policies for West Virginia, whose legislature this year passed the nation’s broadest education savings account program.
“Almost every other state had some mix of charters, tax credits, scholarships, or education savings accounts, but not West Virginia, so it struck me as yet another thing that was unavailable to my fellow West Virginians. When the lack of choice was coupled with troubling education outcomes, it became a natural path for me and Cardinal to take – it became our raison d’etre.”
School Choice Advances in the States (8/3/21) In West Virginia’s case, they’re now leading the band. “I really do think there is a sense of inevitability about the expansion of school choice,” says Garrett Ballengee, executive director of the Cardinal Institute, a conservative West Virginia think tank that helped promote ESAs. “I don’t think we’ll see a groundswell for limiting these programs.”
School Choice Movement Celebrates Its ‘Best Year Ever’ Amid Pandemic (7/3/2021) In West Virginia, advocates for voucher programs have lobbied for an education savings account program since at least 2017. This year, however, state Republicans gained a supermajority in both chambers just as the pandemic caused thousands of families to reevaluate their children’s schools, said Jessi Troyan, an economist and analyst at West Virginia’s conservative Cardinal Institute, which supports the Hope Scholarship program.
Country Roads, Take Me Home to the Place I Belong (5/13/2021) The education savings account program passed by West Virginia lawmakers looks likely to become broadly available by 2026. If you like the idea of hiring your own teacher in partnership with other families, then West Virginia might be the place for you. Northern Virginians, Washingtonians and Southern Marylanders with young children might consider relocating.
Beienburg: Education savings accounts turn 10 and states are celebrating (4/19/2021) In West Virginia, newly passed legislation will provide families with virtually universal access to ESAs. Officially dubbed “Hope Scholarships,” this new funding opportunity for families will provide, as noted by West Virginia’s Cardinal Institute, “the nation’s most inclusive education savings account program — accessible to over 90% of the state’s students.”
W.Va. implements nation’s ‘most expansive’ school choice program by helping pay for private, homeschool (3/31/2021) As we reflect on how drastically K-12 education has changed during the pandemic, we look forward to education savings accounts as a way to empower families with the kinds of choices they need moving forward,” he continued. House Bill 2013 also received praise from Garrett Ballengee, president of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, a conservative think-tank.
“With this program becoming law, West Virginia is a national leader in its approach to K-12 education by placing front-and-center what’s most important: children,” he said. “The Hope Scholarship will open up great opportunities to generations of West Virginians who, prior to the Hope Scholarship becoming law, would not have been able to access an education best suited to his or her learning needs.”
School Choice Expands In West Virginia With The Stroke Of A Governor’s Pen And In Kentucky With An Override Of A Governor’s Veto (3/30/2021) “Finally, with this program becoming law, West Virginia is a national leader in its approach to K-12 education by placing front-and-center what’s most important: children,” said Garrett Ballengee, president of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy. “The Hope Scholarship will open up opportunities to generations of West Virginians who, prior to the Hope Scholarship becoming law, would not have been able to access an education best suited to his or her learning needs. This is a historic day for West Virginia, and we should all be very proud.”
Justice signs education savings account bill (3/30/2021) “As West Virginians, we often long for something about which we can be proud of on a national stage: Mountaineer or Marshall athletics, Chuck Yeager or the New River Gorge. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Hope Scholarship qualifies on that level,” said Garrett Ballengee, executive director of the conservative Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy. “Finally, with this program becoming law, West Virginia is a national leader in its approach to K-12 education by placing front-and-center what’s most important: children.”
School Choice Advances in the States (3/20/2021)
West Virginia passes the most expansive and inclusive school choice program in the nation (3/29/2021) Thanks to a multi-year effort by the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, West Virginia passed legislation that will expand educational opportunities for thousands of children in the Mountain State. “This bill is focused on helping those who up until this point haven’t been able to help themselves,” said Amanda Kieffer. Cardinal’s Executive Director, Garrett Ballengee, added: “West Virginia has finally set a gold standard for other states to emulate should those states desire to pursue an education system focused on children first. Bold solutions and big ideas have finally come to West Virginia.”
Once Held Hostage By Teachers Unions, W.Va Just Passed Nations Broadest School Choice Law (3/26/2021) “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.”
A Huge Victory for Education in West Virginia (3/24/2021)
West Virginia Families, Students Have New Reason for “Hope” on Educational Options (3/23/2021) Amanda Kieffer of the Cardinal Institute explains what that means for West Virginia families and what makes West Virginia’s accounts stand out today.
Education reform advocates make another attempt at education savings accounts (2/10/2021) AFP-WV is part of a broad coalition of groups who signed a letter expressing support for ESAs, including the West Virginia Christian Education Association, Association of Christian Schools International, Catholic Education Partners, ExcelinEd in Action, EdChoice, Education Choice West Virginia, and the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.
“This coalition … firmly believes that ESAs offer West Virginia the best opportunity for families to tailor an education that best fits the learning needs and styles of their children,” said Garrett Ballengee, executive director of the Cardinal Institute. “Empowered with ESAs, thousands of families in West Virginia could — for the first time in West Virginia’s history — have the ability to create an education that will help each child realize his or her potential, regardless of the family’s income or ZIP code.”