STILLWATER, MN—Shawn Peterson, President of Catholic Education Partners (CEP), celebrated a landmark victory for West Virginia children and families today. In a surprise ruling, the West Virginia Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Kanawha County Circuit Court, and immediately lifted the injunction which allows the Hope Scholarship Program to go forward and become fully operational.
CEP submitted an Amicus brief supporting the state’s position that the Hope Scholarship Program was constitutional, a position accepted by the Court in today’s decision. While the result of the decision was not a complete surprise, the speed with which it came certainly was.
The program gives parents control over the state portion of education funds allocated to their child and can be used to pay for things like tuition, tutoring or even transportation if they wish to leave the traditional public school system for alternative options including Catholic or other private schools.
“I can’t say how pleased we are by this decision. It is a victory for every parent and every child who will now benefit from expanded educational options. A one size fits all approach to education focusses on the system and not the child, and for too many families, especially those economically disadvantaged ones, this is unjust,” said Shawn Peterson.
“Catholic schools will be one of many options for students who would benefit from expanded choices, and we welcome all comers. Catholic schools serve to provide both an excellent academic and moral education, helping form the whole person who can succeed in school and in life, and serve the Common Good,” he concluded.
CEP’s purpose is to partner with state Catholic conferences, Bishops and other clergy, Catholic school leaders and families, and other stakeholders to advance state policies that allow more families to access Catholic education, while protecting the autonomy and integrity of Catholic schools.