Gov. Corbett originally planned to spend the morning presenting educational achievement awards at Central High School - his first visit to a traditional Philadelphia public school since taking office.
But a large protest over education cuts during his administration caused him to divert his plans.
Corbett, speaking to reporters at the Bellevue in Center City, said he was "saddened and disappointed" he couldn't go to Central.
"Today wasn't supposed to be about politics, it wasn't supposed to be about contracts, it wasn't supposed to be about negotiations. It was supposed to be about the students," Corbett said. "I decided not to engage in the theatrics that have been designed by adults."
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, one of the many Democrats vying to unseat Corbett this year, issued a statement saying his change of plans was an "affront" to the school community.
Another gubernatorial hopeful, businessman Tom Wolf, issued a statement as well.
"Tom Corbett cannot lead Pennsylvania if he is too afraid to look students, parents, and educators in the eye while explaining his cuts and failed education policies," he said.
Corbett staffers blocked one woman from entering the room because she was not a reporter.
"I'm a member of the public," the woman said as she was being turned away. "He's the governor, isn't he?"
Corbett also announced that he was appointing City Councilman Bill Green to chair the School Reform Commission and People's Emergency Center President Farah Jimenez Another to fill an upcoming vacancy on the board.
Both nominations require state Senate approval.