Chris Hayes got an education in Michael Nutter yesterday night, on style and substance. The MSNBC host ran a segment on the Philadelphia public school district in which he pinned the recent school closures and drastic layoffs on the state. Considering Tom Corbett approved a billion dollars in cuts to state education a couple years ago, and the body that controls public education in Philadelphia–the SRC–is state-controlled, it wasn’t exactly a radical position. Still, despite egging Nutter on, the Mayor refused to point fingers, and mostly touted the city’s charter school growth and defended the rationale behind school closings. At best, it was a lukewarm critique of the “doomsday budget”; at worst, a tacit endorsement of it.
Nutter clearly does not want to see 3, 783 Philadelphians laid off. But I suspect that because he broadly supports the reform-y goals of the SRC and doesn’t want to ruffle feathers in Harrisburg (he’s there today, lobbying for education money) he decided not to play it safe. But by playing it safe, rather than taking a pretty obvious and unpopular culprit to task, he came across as an unfeeling apologist for state pols who care a lot less about Philly schools than he does.