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SIMMONS: Majority of moms vouch for vouchers

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Remember the Ohio mom who was jailed and put on three years' probation because she lied on her daughters' school applications about where they lived? Well, a new nationwide poll of mothers sort of bails her out.

Seventy-one percent of mothers support school vouchers, which gives parents the option of choosing where their children go to school, and moms want those vouchers available to all families, according to the poll, which was commissioned by the nonpartisan Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and compiled by the Braun Research Inc.

Conducted April 17 to 24, as liberals were manufacturing the fictitious GOP "war on women," women added their resounding support to the school-choice movement.

Among mothers, 61 percent support school vouchers; among non-mothers, 55 percent voiced support.

Less than a third of mothers (28 percent) said they oppose vouchers.

Also, the percentage of mothers who "strongly support" vouchers is nearly double that of moms who said they "strongly oppose" vouchers, 33 percent compared to 15 percent.

Moreover, when it comes to access to vouchers and scholarships, 71 percent back universal access by agreeing that "school vouchers or scholarships should be available to all families, regardless of incomes and special needs."

And when it comes to the non-moms cohort, they, too, agreed that vouchers and scholarships should be available to all families, coming in at a strong 69 percent.

So, whether you are a parent or not, women are sending unwavering support for school choice in general and vouchers in particular.

Do you support vouchers?

For housing?

For substance-abuse treatment?

For the disabled?

For active and veteran members of the military?

For public feeding programs?

For day care services?

For senior citizens?

For funeral services for the indigent?

For college tuition?

For public schooling?

Gotcha!

Local, state and federal governments use vouchers for all sorts of programs. School vouchers should be treated in the same manner.

That mother in Ohio, Kelly Williams-Bolar of Akron, wanted options but took the wrong turn. Nevertheless, her case and the new poll are wake-up calls for voucher supporters in the paternalistic war on education reform.

Mothers know best.

In and out of touch

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is a post-civil-rights Democrat, but he is still fighting segregation and poor schools, when one of America's greatest latter-day flaws is poor schooling.

Instead of paying homage to Jim Crow, Mr. Gray could learn from Democrat Cory Booker, his Newark, N.J., counterpart, who, at a recent forum, proved that he is as in touch with the necessities of vouchers as Mr. Gray is with his own unwavering support for universal preschool.

"I cannot ever stand up and stand against a parent having options, because I have benefited from my parents having an option," said Mr. Booker, 43, now in his second term.

Go get 'em, Kwame

The chairman of the D.C. Council, Kwame R. Brown, scheduled a work session with colleagues Wednesday "to review committee reports and identify potential saving," and said he will do the same on Thursday "if the council does not finish business on Wednesday." How's this for saving money?: Curb spending on the Capital Bikeshare program.

Motorists and other taxpayers certainly don't want to wage war on bicyclists, even though bikers, including those who do not use Capital Bikeshare, are getting a free ride and don't always follow the rules of the road or the letter of the law.

But let's be real: Capital Bikeshare is run by the D.C. Department of Transportation, and DDOT provides all of the funding for the program.

If that's a fair deal for non-biking D.C. residents and motorists, how about giving a break to drivers — who, after all, pay more than their fair share to drive and park in the city.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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