Thanks and kudos to WCU student Kevin Mann for this catch:
As a candidate, Tom Corbett wrote a position paper about education policy posted at the very useful site Vote Smart. There’s not really anything in it you wouldn’t expect from a Republican gubernatorial candidate–lots of talk about accountability, making sure money is spent wisely, rewarding quality teaching and ousting bad teachers, all the usual suspects.
Interestingly, however, there’s a passage in his statement that jumped out at Kevin, and me:
Tom Corbett believes in Pennsylvania’s public school system and will make funding our schools a top priority. Putting students first means ensuring the resources intended to support their education make it to the schools and classrooms they attend.
The second half of that is standard issue conservative education-reform-speak. But notice in the first sentence the commitment to public education.
At the bottom of the page is a link to then-candidate Corbett’s own campaign website, on which you’d find a somewhat shorter, lightly edited version of the same statement. I’ll point you specifically to the most interesting, uh, edit.
Tom Corbett believes in Pennsylvania’s education system and will make funding our schools a top priority. Putting students first means ensuring the resources intended to support their education make it to the schools and classrooms they attend.
See what’s missing? Tom Corbett doesn’t care about public education anymore!
And I can’t even begin to prove what I’m about to posit, but I’m going to posit it anyway. Sue me.
According to Follow the Money, one of the largest individual contributors to the Corbett for Governor campaign is a fella named Vahan Gureghian, CEO of Charter School Management Corporation. I’ve written about this relationship elsewhere and won’t (don’t need to?) rehash it here; the short version is that it’s awfully difficult to believe that Corbett’s, um, turn away from support for public education isn’t connected, at least in some way, with huge amounts of money appearing in his campaign coffers from somebody who stands to profit massively from cuts to the public education system.
Gee. What a surprise. The Governor supported public education, until he didn’t. He supported publication, more likely, until a rich charter-school “entrepeneur” persuaded (!) him not to. And here we are today.