SOTU: Real Solutions for Income Inequality

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We can expect President Obama to come out swinging on the issues of income inequality and economic mobility in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

In an email to supporters Saturday, senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer wrote that Obama ‘will lay out a set of real, concrete, practical proposals to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and empower all who hope to join it.’

While it’s coincidental that the SOTU falls during National School Choice Week, the president should take heed of the national campaign to bring educational opportunity to all students. If the goal is to truly set out concrete proposals to help the middle class and empower people to rise out of poverty, then we should look for solutions that get to the root of the problem.

Study after study on poverty in America demonstrate that graduating high school is correlated to staying out of poverty for life. It’s not fair that kids in some zip codes start off with better teachers and learning environments that provide better odds of success, while others are given no options and stuck in failing schools.

So, rather than addressing the gaping wound of poverty with band-aids like a mandated minimum wage or redistribution of wealth through entitlements, shouldn’t we start with giving all Americans equal opportunity to succeed early in life?

If educational opportunity is an issue you are interested in, then take action and join the national movement for educational opportunity this week. There are many ways to bring more opportunity to students, whether through reforming traditional public schools and public magnet schools or through public charter schools, voucher programs, education savings accounts, private and faith-based schools, online learning, or homeschooling.

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