James Carville, politics’ consummate caustic consultant and commentator, once said of Pennsylvania: It’s Philadelphia on the east, Pittsburgh on the west, and Alabama in between.
When it comes to funding for public education, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett seems to be acting more like the governor of Alabama. He’s against public education and for a free ride for Big Energy.
Mr. Corbett wants to slice $1.2 billion from the state’s appropriation for public education, including almost $300 million from the School District of Philadelphia.
Admittedly, Arlene Ackerman, Philadelphia’s stubborn and secretive schools superintendent, is grossly overpaid and deserves neither her absurdly high salary nor her bonus — and the sooner she gets the boot from her pals on the School Reform Commission, the better — but that’s no reason to punish public school pupils and their taxpaying parents by slashing so much from them.
Mr. Corbett, who as a candidate last year publicly mused that he could win the governor’s race if the vote in Philadelphia was kept low, seems not to give a damn about the effects his proposed cuts would have on education.
If he wants to be governor of the entire state and not just the Alabama section, he will spend the next month meeting with teachers, their union representatives, students, parents and community activists, and hear the concerns of real people. If he does, he will ease off the education cuts and back off, ever so slightly, from his “no new taxes” campaign pledge by urging the legislature to start taxing natural gas. It’s a cash cow that needs a good milking.
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