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I’m clearly the last member of the IWF team to chime in here, but I wanted to add something about the president’s comments on education. 

Not surprisingly, Obama called for more investment in education.  That’s to be expected in a big, kitchen-sink-style speech like the SOTU. Everyone loves the sound of putting more taxpayer dollars into education, so it tends to be considered one of those innocuous policies to talk about. 

But last night he referenced, “In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders.’” Unfortunately, the president left out the rest of the story: in South Korea they have a market in education, which drastically changes the picture. It not only gives families the opportunity to consume education as they would anything else – according to their individual priorities – but also it allows schools to both reward and penalize teachers based on their performance.

Of course, right here in Washington we had an example of what happens when you allow for a market in education – the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. We saw positive results in academic achievement and higher graduation rates. Yet the president (with the help of Democrats like Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Il) in Congress) squashed this market shortly after arriving in the White House.  

The fact is, if the president really believed in investing in education, he would put an end to the lofty rhetoric and stop doling out money to failing schools. Instead he would return the tax dollars to individual families to choose the schools and education that best fit their children’s needs.