Gov. Tom Corbett can’t even escape the tough questions when he chats with middle-schoolers.
During a stop this morning at a private school for low-income Harrisburg boys, one serious-looking seventh-grader asked him: “Do you think you’re doing well with the state of Pennsylvania?”
The governor told him that it’s been a tough three months, and referenced an opinion poll out yesterday showing only 34 percent approving of his job performance.
“It’s been very hard – we’re broke, and we’re spending more money than we have,” he told the students. “There’s a lot of people upset, and there’s a new poll that says they wish they would have voted for the other guy.
“We’ll see if my decisions are right.”
Private schools like the one he visited could be helped by one proposal he’s decided to back – creating a school voucher program. But the Legislature is trying to iron out its disagreements on how to craft that plan. Vote on a Senate voucher plan was delayed this week, after Corbett went into a GOP caucus meeting to reaffirm his support of the overall idea.
His support on that specific bill remains somewhat unclear. “We are working with the Senate,” he said this morning. “You’ll see more about it.”
Under the current proposal, low-income students who are already in private school, like those he talked to at The Nativity School of Harrisburg, would become eligible for a voucher in the program’s second or third year, depending on where they live.
Administrators noted the school’s success rate, with graduation and attendance figures that blow the city's public schools out of the water.
The students were all ears as Corbett fielded their questions on his background and his current job description.
“Was it hard to get elected?” asked one of the sixth-grade students, eliciting a chuckle and an affirmative head nod from the governor.
They grilled him on his favorite class (history), what he wanted to be growing up (outfielder for the Pirates) and on whether he writes his own speeches (he has help with writing them, but ad libs too.) Others wanted to know what he could do about crime and shootings. He told them he worked on that as a prosecutor, adding that cities, not states, do most of the police work.
But they were disappointed to hear that he doesn’t work with Obama on a daily basis.
“We don’t agree on some things,” he told them. “But I'd say we’re acquaintances.”