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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Governor Corbett & Education

A great posting on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and his jihad against public education can be found here:

Coal Region Voice:  Tom Corporate

Check it out.

I've often times wondered just why Tom Corbett seems to be so dead set against public education.  While I don't have much in the ways of firm ideas on the subject, I do have two suspicions.

Suspicion 1 - It's really just about politics
I have this suspicion that Tom Corbett really doesn't give a flying monkey about public education.  It's not really all that important to him.  What he does care about is politics and political power.  In conjunction with increasing your own political power, political hacks also like to reduce the political power of their adversaries.  I can think of few groups more hostile to the agenda of conservative Republicans than that of the PSEA.

Suspicion 2 - He philosophically is against public education
I confess to not knowing much about the governor's background, but I do know that he want to private colleges (Lebanon Valley College and St Mary's Law School).  This could help to explain his genuinely negative attitude towards Pennsylvania's public colleges and universities.

Regardless of the motive, it's pretty clear that the governor feels that the state should be supporting education less.  Now that's not a political is a factual statement.  Governor Tom Corbett believes that there should be less money going towards the education of our children.  Pretty frightening stuff on the surface.  His supporters may claim that there is actually enough money going towards public education, and that instead of ripping him the debate should be more focused on greedy public employees (i.e. teachers) who are more self than student motivated.  He may have a point there, to an extent, but I don't know of a single occupation where there are not a few rotten apples.  What's more, while public education may in fact have too many barriers to removing those bad apples (in the form of employee protections in union contracts) I simply refuse to believe that teachers are any less prone to bad performance than, say, any other occupation (such as gas company executives).  Why do I "refuse to believe"?  Pretty simple:  I've met too many teachers over the years who have been nothing but entirely dedicated to their craft.  Teaching remains, for the most part, more of a calling than an occupation.

In the end, I do believe that there is tremendous waste in how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania spends money.  However, a true leader would seek the waste out and cut it, rather than simply cutting with a budget meat cleaver and passing the buck on to local education administrators to figure out the details.  Case in point:  Scranton.  Who leads our local school board?  A bus driver prone to gaffs such as naming his campaign director to an open board position.  This is who Governor Tom Corbett is passing the budget buck to these days.  This will not end well.

1 comment:

Karla said...

So sad - elitism is a nasty and unbecoming virtue for a public official.