The Washington Post says that Trump has latched on to school choice and a fast reopening as issues that will win back white suburban women, whose support for him has faded.

This may indicate how out of touch he is. Parents move to the suburbs because their property wealth creates good schools. There is no unmet demand in the suburbs for vouchers or charter schools.

Furthermore polls clearly show that parents want their children to return to safe schools. They do not want their children to go to full-time in-person instruction without safeguards in place.

Trump is unaware that vouchers are not popular, that they have lost every state referendum by large margins.

But Republicans won’t let school choice go, even though only a tiny percentage of parents choose to leave public schools, even when choice is easy and free.

The Post writes:

President Trump sees two school issues as key to reelection, and after paying almost no attention to education for most of his presidency, he’s pushing both in negotiations over the next pandemic relief bill.

The president’s first priority is getting schools to reopen this fall, which he sees as central to economic recovery and getting parents back to work. Trump regularly tells advisers that he believes it is “totally safe” for children to return to school, a senior White House official said.

He is also newly focused on school choice policies, which let families use tax dollars for private school tuition. Aides see both as political winners with suburban women and, in the case of school choice, black voters, too…

Now the White House is pushing Congress to tie tens of billions of dollars in new federal aid to whether schools restart in-person education, even as cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, climb. Trump also wants 10 percent of new K-12 spending set aside for private schools, including tax credits that would support private tuition scholarships, a form of vouchers.

Senate Republicans are proposing $70 billion for K-12 schools as part of the larger pandemic relief package, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said half of that would be reserved for schools that are “going back to a traditional school setting” as opposed to only distance learning. He said that’s because operating in person creates new expenses.

For private schools, Republicans plan to set aside the 10 percent Trump wants, but they are not planning to include his tax credit plan. Rather, lawmakers are considering direct payments to private schools, or funneling dollars through scholarship funds, which help families pay private school tuition, a GOP Senate aide said. The aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said these two options will be presented to Democrats, who could pick…

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has taken a more nuanced tack. Last week, he released a plan that urged caution, saying that each school district should make decisions based on local conditions and that schools in areas with high infection rates should not reopen too soon.
“Donald Trump’s disastrous mismanagement of the coronavirus response is the top roadblock stopping schools from reopening,” said Biden spokesman Andrew Bates.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said: “If Disney World can be open, so can our schools.”
Politically, Trump’s gamble is that voters are more eager for their children to return to classrooms than fearful of the virus. Mercedes Schlapp, a top campaign adviser to Trump, put it this way at an online event aimed at women: “The suburban mom will say, ‘I am going to stick with President Trump on this one because he wants to make sure my kid gets back to school.’ ”

But the polling suggests that is a tough sell.

A Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll released Thursday found 6 in 10 parents with children in schools said it is better to open schools later to minimize infection risks, even if students miss out on academics and social services and some parents will not be able to work. About half that — 34 percent — said the reverse. A recent Quinnipiac University survey found voters disapproved of Trump’s handling of school reopenings by a margin of more than 2 to 1. Voters also said, again by a 2-to-1 ratio, that it was unsafe to send students to elementary, middle and high schools in the fall.

Republican allies have showed polling like this to Trump, warning him that pushing for full reopening will not be popular. Nonetheless, the White House is pushing forward, as Trump argues that reopening schools will eventually be widely popular.

“The president sees it as a metric of success that we are getting back to normal,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal discussions.