Tom Corbett Cancels a visit to Central High School: He didn't expect protesters?

The Governor of Pennsylvania was scheduled to make a visit to one of the best high schools in Philadelphia this morning.  Central H.S. is a magnet school that produces a high rate of college bound students.  Because of budget cuts caused by the Governor's aversion to increased funding for schools, Central has suffered from a lack of Guidance Counselors, reduced library hours and other shortages.  The Governor still felt it necessary to laud the accomplishments of this venerable institution.

On the other hand, a school like Thomas Edison could have used a visit from the Governor.  He could have observed first hand the busted pipes that inhibit learning.  Or he could have visited Strawberry Mansion, which has been declared one of the country's most dangerous schools.  Also, he could have visited Lincoln H.S. or Sayre Middle School and offered solutions to improve the outlook of the students and staff at these institutions.

Governor Corbett's staffers must have warned him about the large number of protesters that he would have faced on his way into Central High School.  It would have been the Governor's first visit to a public high school since his election.  One can surmise his dedication to the Commonwealth's largest city by this omission.  His P.R. team did indicate that he is going to increase funding in advance of his next term.  Some politicians will say anything to get re-elected.  When Governor Corbett was going to cut funding to public universities, he felt the wrath of the whole state.  If he can fund fracking by not taxing their profits, he can be a better advocate for education.

Governor Corbett also must be appealing to Philadelphia voters by proposing Councilman Bill Green as the new leader of the School Reform Commission.  I find the fact that Councilman Green lobbied for this appointment perpexling.  He will have to resign his Council seat to try to impose his view of education on a district that is in constant need of emergency funding.  If he is approved by the Senate, the first thing he will need to do is direct the sale of $50 million in school buildings to help meet a current deficit in funding.  I would bet that any buyer would want numerous concessions from a city already committed to tax abatements for new residential construction.

I wonder what Governor Corbett's election strategy is going to be based on.  He can fake a platform of increased funding while our schools struggle to meet AYP.   He can tout a platform based on job creation while news of recent layoffs by Merck and a slowdown in drilling would paint a different picture.  The Voter ID legislation that he favored was recently struck down by a state Judge.  The privatization of liquor stores and the lottery were big failures.  With these major issues not being addressed during his first four years, the Governor should have been able to brave a protest at Central High School.

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