Gov. Tom Corbett seems to be entering a phase in his political life where the answer to most questions is: Let's see if someone else can do it.
And thus, Corbett's pronouncement of a broad educational initiative on Tuesday sounded more like another step in the state's abdication of its responsibilities for educating children.
As he did with the Marcellus Shale fee question - let the counties decide - Corbett's tonic for education is to take it further out of the public trust by shifting more of the responsibility to the private sector through an expansion of private and private/public education funded with revenue that could have been used to repair some of the damage he did to the public school system in the most recent state budget.
Instead of replacing the hundreds of teachers that were furloughed across the state, restoring the countless student programs and curricula that were cut by school districts both large and small, he will throw money at a program that even he isn't convinced will show results.
His voucher program would be available to families at 130 percent of the federal poverty level or less - a family of four earning $29,000 or less - who are in the attendance zones of schools in the bottom 5 percent in terms of standardized test performance, or about 140 schools. That represents about 4 percent of the public schools in Pennsylvania. Other parts of the plan would increase tax credits for businesses and individuals making educational scholarships and establish new pathways for the creation of charter schools.
Is that it?
Is that the best answer the Corbett administration could come up with to reform public education in Pennsylvania: Create a program aimed at 4 percent of the educational system and promote the continued exodus from public education?
We don't believe the Corbett administration is unique. Unfortunately there seems to be a growing number of people in government, at both the state and federal level, who quietly believe that privatization is the answer to almost any question.