Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Philly schools: Up the creek without a paddle

Only five days left for the Philadelphia schools to do something.

Philly schools: Up the creek without a paddle

File photo: High school students chant at the Philadelphia School District headquarters on North Broad Street to protest budget cuts on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
File photo: High school students chant at the Philadelphia School District headquarters on North Broad Street to protest budget cuts on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

So Gov. Corbett has a paddle, but the Philadelphia schools don't. That's a problem.

What's happening with #PhillyEducation has been a slow train wreck to watch. It starts with a $304 million hole in the amount of money that's needed to open safe schools. Then Harrisburg came up short in a rescue package, including nixing a cigarette tax for no apparent reason except to show that they could. Then the whole Jenga structure started to come apart. A $50 million advance on Philadelphia sales tax is being held hostage to a dispute between Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke. Another $45 million piece may depend on what's happening with the teachers and their expired contract. What's happening with the teachers? Nobody seems to know.

This should be a big national story, arguably as big as what happened in Detroit. At the end of the day, Detroit's bankruptcy was something that happened on a piece of paper. What's happening here is real kids and real schools that may have padlocks on the front door in a few weeks.

I know the traditional thing to do would be to yell at Corbett for going on this kayaking trip. I'm not going to do that, however. It's not because I don't loathe Corbett's Tea Party-inspired policies or the job he's doing as governor. But he already took his swing at the schools crisis, and he missed. Now, any involvement from Corbett would probably make things worse. The situation is dire, and the people who actually care about Philadelphia's schoolchildren are the ones who need to hash this out.

There's been no reason after three years to believe Tom Corbett is one of those people.

Blogger's note: Taking a couple of undeserved days off -- see you Wednesday.

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About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.


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Reach Will at bunchw@phillynews.com.

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