There was much buzz on the Internet yesterday because Governor Tom Corbett announced his intention to visit a public school in Philadelphia! Imagine that!
But today, after hearing that protestors might show up, he canceled the visit and retreated to the local Chamber of Commerce.
He boldly announced that he never runs away from anything as he ran away.
Jake Blumgart reports:
““I don’t run from anything,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said on Friday, after running away from a planned event at Central High School in North Philadelphia. Speaking at a press conference several miles to the south, held at the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s headquarters in The Bellevue, a swanky Center City office building, Corbett insisted, “I make decisions head on, but I was not going to be a distraction to the school day or the school students.” The students may well have been distracted by the fact that they had waited for a speaker who cancelled at the last minute.
“Education has dogged Corbett since the early days of his administration, when he proposed a $1.2 billion cut to public school funding in his first budget. A crippling reduction exceeding $865 million made it through the legislature, with the poorest school districts bearing the brunt thanks to the elimination of a mechanism that provided more money for schools with greater needs. (As the Education Law Center put it, “the cuts have been up to 10 times larger in poor districts on a per-student basis.”) Now, in a difficult election year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that his budget address early next month will contain between $100 million and $200 million in restored education dollars, funded by pension reforms.
“Friday’s event at Central could have been another aspect of Corbett’s attempt to improve his image on public education. At the planned presentation ceremony, he would have given the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Academics to three high schools: Central, Masterman, and George Washington Carver. This comes during a school year where the Philadelphia School District faced a budgetary gap of more than $300 million, forcing deep cuts. Now many schools are forced to share nurses, counselors and other essential support staff. Funding for most extracurricular activities has been zeroed out, while arts, music and physical education have been decimated.”
Parents might understandably be unhappy with Corbett since his budget cuts have stripped the Philly schools of basic staff and resources. Last fall, a 12-year-old student died of an asthma attack because her school lost funding for a full-time nurse.
Corbett’s poll numbers are very low, giving one hope that voters across the state want a change.