West Virginia Wants to Change the Game on Education
After 2020, Americans are coming to terms with the fact that the United States is splitting into two different countries culturally and politically. The red-blue divide is a divide between free states and counties and increasingly repressive and authoritarian blue states and counties.
As the conservative professor Eddie Zipperer quipped on Twitter:
1980s Moms: "You should be thankful you have freedom. People in Russian and China don't have that."
2021 Moms: "You should be thankful you have freedom. People in Michigan and California don't have that."
The freedom divide is particularly clear in the area of education. Republican states and counties have been more likely to open up their schools with safety measures, while Democratic regions, under the thumb of corrupt teachers' unions, have kept brick-and-mortar schools closed. Even more stunningly, the blue states, cities, and counties keeping students from schools are also the states most likely to block financial access to any educational alternatives. It is the free states in 2021 that are leading the way in moving forward with legislation to increase educational freedom for students. As the unflappable Corey DeAngelis of the Reason Foundation constantly repeats, states "should fund students, not systems."
Individual Republican state legislators across the nation from Oregon to Maryland have introduced bills to expand school choice and educational options, but it is in states with majority-Republican assemblies that such bills have the best chance of passage. Educational freedom enjoys bipartisan support among the electorate, but Democrat legislators dare not touch it because they are politically and financially beholden to the corrupt teachers' unions who block any and all attempts at giving parents options.
One state in particular, West Virginia, may pass the most exciting and game-changing legislation this year. West Virginia's House chamber recently approved a bill that creates education savings accounts for which 90% of students in the state are eligible. The bill now moves on to the state's Senate. This is revolutionary because, up until now, ESA programs introduced in other states have tightly restricted eligibility. West Virginia would enable nearly all its state's school-aged children to access accounts. Students could use the money toward the educational options and resources of the families' choice, whether private, online, or home school–related. The money could also be used toward therapies for learning challenges and disabilities. If parents are happy with their local public school, their child's money would still go to that school. Public schools would lose nothing from this as a result, as they would still receive the same per pupil funding from students who choose to remain in their school.