Philadelphia voters are down on the School Reform Commission and Gov. Corbett, and side with city teachers in their contract dispute with the Philadelphia School District.
The news comes from a new poll of registered voters commissioned by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and conducted by Hart Research Associates.
Corbett, the poll found, gets low marks from city voters on education issues. In all, 74 percent of the 554 registered voters surveyed said they are either fully dissatisified or somewhat dissatisifed with how the governor has handled public education. And, pollster Guy Molyneux says, 62 percent of voters say Corbett's handling of education has made them less likely to support him for re-election in November, including 53 percent of voters who are not registered Democrats.
The voters polled were generally unhappy with the way the School Reform Commission is handling its responsibilities. Fifty-nine percent of city voters, including 64 percent of public school parents, said they disapprove of SRC decisions and policies. Sixty-eight percent of voters said they would prefer the district run by a local school board, instead of the SRC.
Asked about the ongoing negotiations between the PFT and the district, 59 percent of voters said they sided with the union over the SRC. Voters said they see the union as more willing to compromise, felt that it made more reasonable proposals, and worked harder to ensure adequate school funding. "Remarkably, the union's largest comparative advantage - 65 to 20 percent - comes when we ask who is 'trying to improve education for Philadelphia's children,'" Molyneux wrote.
Should the SRC and PFT not reach an agreement - the district has moved impose work rules allowing it to bypass seniority for teacher vacancies, and has asked the state Supreme Court to affirm that it has the authority to do so - 77 percent of voters said think the SRC should continue the current contract until they reach a new one, rather than imposing terms.