It is likely some voucher bill will emerge from the General Assembly and be delivered to a smiling Gov. Tom Corbett for signature pretty soon.
And yet, this panacea for failing educational programs - at least those in a fairly small pocket of poorly performing schools, mostly in Philadelphia -is the keystone of the governor's most important goal, second only to protecting the Marcellus Shale drilling business.
So, here is what the legislature, eager to please, is about to do. It will provide a way for students to attend private and parochial schools on the public's dime, while continuing to undermine those public schools that are suffering. For the rest of us, there is, well, not much to get excited about: Some talk about performance ratings for individual teachers, some tinkering with the charter school law to put the state in direct control, and, of course, more tax credits for businesses which donate to educational programs.
We don't find anything in the governor's educational program that addresses the thousands of teachers that were layed off over the past year, including dozens in this district alone. We don't find any help to replace the student assistance programs, tutoring services, and curricula that were lost.
Instead of working innovatively to fix those problem schools in depressed urban areas, the governor -and it appears the majority in the General Assembly - would rather punt. Worse than that, by transfering resources from the public school system to the private sector, the plan further reduces the ability of the public school system in those areas to improve.
It's what one might call lazy and short-sighted, but it plays well to the folks who seem to support privatizing everything, simply because it is not government.