February 4, 2019

Today, the Goldwater Institute joined a coalition of advocates calling for lawmakers in West Virginia to support legislation that would expand educational options for families by creating universal education savings accounts (ESAs):

We believe that every child in West Virginia should have access to a high-quality education regardless of income or socioeconomic status. The Comprehensive Education Reform Act is an important step forward in achieving this goal. Under this legislation, many West Virginia students will be eligible to receive, through an ESA, a portion of their allocated per-pupil funding. Families will then be able to use the ESA to enroll their student(s) in a school that best fits their child’s unique educational needs, interests, and abilities – helping students and educators truly fulfill their potential.

With an ESA, the state deposits part of a student’s funds from the state education formula into a private account—money that can then be used toward tuition, tutoring, and other educational tools. The Goldwater Institute conceived of ESAs in 2011, and today they are available in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

This afternoon, the West Virginia Senate passed the bill that would create ESAs, as EdChoice reports. It is up for consideration next in the West Virginia House.

You can read more about ESAs here. The coalition’s letter is included below.

February 4, 2019

Dear legislators,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, our activists, and thousands of families in our state, we urge you to support The Comprehensive Education Reform Act, which includes the creation of an Educational Savings Account Program (ESA Program).

We believe that every child in West Virginia should have access to a high-quality education regardless of income or socioeconomic status. The Comprehensive Education Reform Act is an important step forward in achieving this goal. Under this legislation, many West Virginia students will be eligible to receive, through an ESA, a portion of their allocated per-pupil funding. Families will then be able to use the ESA to enroll their student(s) in a school that best fits their child’s unique educational needs, interests, and abilities – helping students and educators truly fulfill their potential.

By creating more educational opportunities for students, The Comprehensive Education Reform Act empowers West Virginians to innovate within the education space like never before. This legislation emphasizes the importance of individualized student-centered learning, reduces inequality for our kids, and will put our state on the forefront of educational empowerment.

Overwhelming evidence suggests that students, families, and teachers thrive when education is focused on innovation and the dignity of the individual. The Comprehensive Education Reform Act is a critical step towards achieving this goal. And, according to a poll from the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Public Policy, the majority of Mountaineers agree that expanding educational freedom will improve our education system.

We the undersigned are proud to stand with 10 other organizations to work in support of solutions that give educators, families, and students the tools and freedom they need to succeed.

For these reasons, I ask you to join us in support of educational opportunity and vote “Yes” in support of The Comprehensive Education Reform Act.

Sincerely,

Catholic Education Partners

Americans for Prosperity

Cardinal Institute for West Virginia

Faith Christian Academy

West Virginia Education Association

Grace Christian School

ExcelInEd in Action

EdChoice

The Goldwater Institute

Teays Valley Christian School

Institute for Justice