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Polly Williams
1938 -

Member (Democrat) for more than 20 years of the Wisconsin State Legislature, mother of four children, principle architect of Wisconsin's introduction of a voucher program in the Milwaukee Public School Board


They [public education bureaucrats] tried everything to stop me [in a drive to introduce choice to the public education system]. After they were convinced choice couldn't be stopped, they tried to hijack the issue and came up with their own version of choice. It basically created another bureaucracy which would have supervised the whole choice process and strangled it. The Milwaukee Public Schools would have selected the students for the choice program, not the parents. Students would have been picked if they met enough of the seven negative criteria they set up. If you were in a family of alcoholics, had a brother in prison and a pregnant teenage sister, and were inarticulate, you would have been a perfect candidate for their choice plan. In other words, a program they hoped would fail.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
[Why not fix the public schools instead of implementing a voucher system?] We've tried to do that for years, and the best we get is, 'Well, we're the experts, you are just parents.' We're tired of that excuse. Look, if you go to a doctor and you stay sick, at some point don't you have a right to a second opinion? The choice plan is our second opinion. The folks who run the poverty industry in this town are worried that kids will get a better education at schools that cost half the amount they spend on the public schools. In their shoes, I'd be worried too.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
None of the people who oppose my [school voucher] plan lack choice in education themselves. They have no idea what the lack of choice in education means, the damage it does when you have to go to an inferior school that will trap you for life.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
White liberals feel guilty about blacks, and they do things to convince themselves they are helping blacks. It's feel-good politics, which is really just helping themselves. Poor people becomes the trophies of white social engineers. We have to be saved from our saviors. They have been feeding us pablum for so long, we are finally tired and demand some real meat. We want self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-reliance, not a hand-out.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
I could see some affirmative action if it went to the people who really needed it--at the very bottom. But it never does that; it goes to people who don't need it, who can make it largely on their own. And it carries with it the stigma that whatever position you succeed in getting, people think you got there because of favoritism. That can be very destructive.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine