podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews West Virginia Sen. Patricia Rucker

On this episode, Tuthill talks to the chair of the state Senate Education Committee about the Mountain State’s recent landmark session for education reform. West Virginia lawmakers expanded open enrollment for district students, created alternative pathways for teacher certification, strengthened existing charter school laws, and created the Hope Scholarship Program, an education savings account that nearly all students in West Virginia will be eligible to receive in 2022.

The two discuss the long legislative battles prior to this session and Rucker’s belief that the backlash from the “Red For Ed” teacher stoppages in recent years contributed to education choice expansion this year.

“As soon as I heard about ESAs, I was inspired. I thought that’s the way things should be. If it is our intention as a state to fund education … then of course it should go where the child gets the best education possible … Every child matters. If you’re not getting what you need, let’s help you find that – whatever it is.”

EPISODE DETAILS:

  • Education politics in West Virginia and the strength of the state’s teacher union
  • Details of creation and implementation of the Hope Scholarship Program
  • Concerns about possible legal challenges to recent education reforms
  • Lessons learned that can serve as an example for legislators in other states who want to emulate West Virginia’s success

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