Gov. Corbett has put together a panel of post-secondary educators to talk about post-secondary education.
When he introduced his panel on Monday, he failed to mention the 2-ton elephant in the room, his own draconian cuts to education in the state, both to public education (K-12) and the state's colleges and universities.
When prodded about the pachyderm, Corbett retorted that his critics should come up with alternative measures to balance the budget, asking rhetorically if he should cut social services and law enforcement. Actually, Corbett has reduced those segments as well, though not as much as education.
Instead, the governor suggests that we rethink higher education with greater emphasis on trade schools and on-line learning.
We aren't about to denigrate trade schools, though we're not sure that on-line learning is as effective as the interaction in a classroom, but at best Gov. Corbett would like the dialogue to be something other than the failure of his administration to adequately fund education while looking out for the financial desires of those who supported his election.
It also begs the question of whether or not Corbett is making college and university attendance an opportunity only for the elite among us. As state funding goes down, tuition rises. As tuition rises, fewer people of meager means are able to attend. College tuition is seldom a challenge for those in the upper echelons of income, but often overwhelming for those below. At the very least, less well-heeled students are left with crushing long-term debt.
Is his next step to put together a blue-ribbon commission to rethink public education, with perhaps greater emphasis on home schooling and cyber education to deflect attention from the forced exodus of teachers from the state in the wake of cuts to the state's basic education subsidy?