Center for Public Integrity – Several years ago, West Virginia parent Christy Black searched for an inclusive private school for her daughter Gracie, who has Down syndrome, but to no avail. “There wasn’t any in my area or a few counties over, even, that would accept my daughter,” Black recalled.
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So it concerned her when the West Virginia Legislature in 2021 enacted the Hope Scholarship, a school voucher program provided to K-12 students that funds private school tuition and other qualifying expenses with taxpayer dollars. Some funding for public schools is being reallocated to private schools, part of a nationwide movement that’s long been promoted as “school choice.”
“It’s not choice for everyone. It’s only choice for some,” said Black, an advocacy specialist with the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council. The council provides training and technical assistance to people with developmental disabilities and their families, also advocating for legislation and policy change that would benefit them. The group was not consulted during the creation of the Hope Scholarship, she said.
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