WV State Sen. Patricia Puertas Rucker on Universal School Choice

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Senator Patricia Puertas Rucker, a West Virginia state Senator and Chair of the Education Committee. Thanks to her leadership, West Virginia now has the widest, most universal education savings account program in America. Senator Rucker describes the lessons other state legislators across the country can learn from West Virginia’s successful experience. A Venezuelan immigrant, she shares her inspiring story of coming to the U.S., and becoming a state legislator who has led a transformational school choice initiative. She describes how her personal narrative, including her experience homeschooling her five children, some with special needs, drove her later efforts as an elected official to promote wider school choice. She reviews some of the central issues animating parent coalitions that have been prime movers in expanding school choice programs, especially for parents of children with special needs and families of faith.

Stories of the WeekSchool choice offers important alternatives to contentious political debates in K-12 education – but we should refrain from urging parents to abandon all traditional districts, many of which offer high-quality instruction. In New Mexico, a bipartisan group of legislators and parents overwhelmingly support charter public schools, contrary to the divisiveness over charters that exists in many states.


Patricia Puertas Rucker is a West Virginia state senator serving the 16th District. Her committee assignments, include: chair of the Education Committee and a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development, Banking and Insurance, Judiciary, Health and Human Resources, Natural Resources, and Confirmations Committees. She taught social studies in the Montgomery County Public Schools before starting a family and homeschooling her five children. Patricia is a first generation American citizen, born in Caracas, Venezuela, coming to the U.S., Montgomery County, Maryland, in 1981. She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C with a B.A. in History and minor in Latin American studies.

The next episode will air on Weds., June 1st, with Prof. Paula Giddings, Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies at Smith College, and she is the author of, Ida: A Sword Among Lions – Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.

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News Links:

School choice can take political fights out of education


Charter schools show education and politics can work in New Mexico


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