Tomorrow, Governor Tom Corbett – the least popular incumbent governor in the country – will make his first ever visit into a Philadelphia public school. He’s coming to Central High on Friday to give achievement awards to Central, Masterman and Carver High Schools – all three of which have seen their budgets decimated since Corbett’s taken office. Pennsylvania Education Secretary Caroline Dumaresq will accompany Corbett in a photo-op sure to rival the alternate reality of any science fiction fantasy.
[UPDATE] Breaking news tonight is the expectation that Corbett will announce his appointment of soon-to-be-former City Councilman Bill Green as chair of the SRC and Republican Farah Jimenez to replace outgoing Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky. He is also expected to declare a paltry $200 million boost to public education spending statewide, of which a fraction will go to Philadelphia. District officials have tentatively stated they need $400 million to avoid greater cuts to classrooms.
We assume that Governor Corbett will deliver a message of personal responsibility and accountability, a message where students can and should achieve no matter what the circumstances. And that’s a message to be heard – except when the person who should be held accountable and responsible is the deliverer of that speech himself.
Under Governor Corbett, consider what’s happened to these three elite Philadelphia schools:
- Masterman has lost 30% of its staff and has seen its extracurricular budget dwindle to a fraction of what it was before Gov. Corbett took office. As a result, programs like the school’s national championship chess team run on pure volunteers and almost no funding.
- Central High School went from eight counselors down to two, resulting in a two week wait to see a counselor and counselors unable to turn in letters of recommendation. The loss of more than $1.4 million from the school based budget alone means that Central educates its top notch students on just $5,177 per child, the lowest ratio in the entire School District.
- Carver, meanwhile has retained less than 10% of its pre-Corbett books and supply budget. Today it spends just $19 per child per year for all books, materials and supplies.
Gee, thanks but no thanks Guv. If this is what the Governor’s budget looks like for some of the most elite of Philadelphia’s schools, imagine how his budget wreaks havoc in neighborhood schools. Librarians near extinct and libraries shuttered across the city, Title I support services gone, split grades re-introduced to schools, and teachers struggling with more responsibilities and fewer resources. It’s a sad fact that students are leaving the District in droves. They aren’t make a “school choice.” They’re being driven out by state and local elected leadership who fail repeatedly to sustain and support strong quality public schools.
So we march tomorrow. We march as parents, as educators, as Philadelphians and as voters to send a clear message to Governor Corbett and ALL our elected officials: Stand by your schools and you stand by the citizens and children of this city. Abandon them, and you forfeit your claim to speak about what’s best for Philadelphia’s children and students.
Join Us tomorrow:
SEND CORBETT PACKING! RALLY FOR SCHOOLS AND FAIR & EQUITABLE FUNDING
Friday, Jan. 17, Broad & Olney to Central High School
Gather! 9:45 a.m. Broad & Olney Streets
March! 10 a.m.
Rally! 10:30 a.m. Olney & Ogontz Avenues.
Students and staff invite the public to support them at a rally at Central High starting at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.
See photos from the community rally outside Central High School via our friends at PCAPs.
An Open Letter to Gov. Corbett from the staff at Central High School