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Ackerman's superintendency: a look back

By Erika Owens on Aug 22, 2011 12:38 PM
Photo: Benjamin Herold

A summary of key events during Arlene Ackerman's three years as superintendent in Philadelphia.

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Comments (30)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 12:16 pm

August 2011 District and Mayor Nutter confirm that Ackerman will leave immediately, with a buyout of her contract worth $905 million.

don't think you mean million.

Submitted by Erika Owens on August 22, 2011 1:32 pm

Whoops, thanks for the catch!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 1:15 pm

HAHAHA. That's what we are in debt due to her.

Submitted by drichardson017 on August 22, 2011 1:27 pm

It is a cardinal sin that this woman received $905,000 to leave a financially defunct district. I am baffled!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 1:58 pm

I wonder what will happen to imagine 2014 and the promise academies

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on August 22, 2011 2:17 pm

One of Ackerman's detrimental legacies is the imposition of scripted curricula. K-8 "empowerment schools" were forced to forgo guided reading for a scripted program. All "empowerment" schools still have corrective reading/math. Teaching/Learning (the curriculum office) was dismantled - now we have "curriculum partners" (test and text book publishers) instead of curriculum. The long term affects of Ackerman's curricular decisions won't be gone. Ackerman brought in a lot of her supporters who are still in leadership positions. If teaching/learning don't change, Ackerman's anti-student/anti-teacher legacy will continue.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 3:54 pm

Those of her friends in here see what happened to her! I think they will think twice. Nunery is a joke!! He is another one--never says anyhting positive about teachers.

Did you see Ackerman's statement: It was a privilege to work with the parents and children of this city (Never mentions teachers). I guess she is mad that the PFT had to do with her ouster!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 6:43 pm

I dislike Ackerman's work as much as the next person, but her written statement on the PSD website -- taken down, but cached on Google -- clearly thanks teachers.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on August 22, 2011 6:58 pm

Yes--in the last several months she finally has started thanking teachers for things. Some of the emails teachers received at various points in the year also thanked us, but it is a recent development.

Submitted by Tara (not verified) on August 22, 2011 2:29 pm

You are correct. There are many people who have Ackerman's mindset when it comes to public education. Nunery has already made public his desire to be the permanent PSD Superintendent. That would be a huge mistake. The SRC must know that every move they make is being watched. I have read in various places that Nunery is not eligible to be Superintendent. If this is true, then surely he knows he is not properly certified for this position. The SRC must choose carefully. So much is at stake for the future of public education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 3:17 pm

Then anyone knowing he does not meet the criteria under the State of PA. needs to contact Jerry Jordan personally (maybe the Public School Notebook could post a blog about this). The Inquirer reported they will continue with Ackerman's Promise Academies----they have to be kidding---they are part of the reason for this financial mess.

You do not want Nunery--he is a teacher hater and union hater as he ran Edison Charter Schools into the ground. He is a joke. He is also friends with Dwight Evans--that's right Evans who supported and pushed for this SRC and state takeover--people forget but keeping voting his arse in!!! Teachers need to start voting for politicians who have their backs (Anthony Williams, Dwight Evans, Tom Corbett, Shirley Kitchen--DO NOT!!!). Anthony Williams would sell a teacher out in a minute to promote his failing Charter School.

I hate to say it but PHILADELPHIA IS THE LAUGHING STOCK TO EVERY SUBURBAN DISTRICT AND ITS PEOPLE. ALL THEY HERE IS ACKERMAN THIS, PHILLY POLITICS AS USUAL!! tHAT WHY I LEFT THIS CITY---THE NEW DETROIT!!!

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 22, 2011 3:22 pm

I hope that the SRC uses a democratic process to choose our new leader. A democratic process would be an open, transparent and honest process that would include the school community of Philadelphia and provide more than enough opportunity for public comment on the final group of potential candidates.

I will be speaking more about the imperative for democracy in the governance of our schools and will address the SRC on the subject of, How shall we choose our School Leaders?

It is by far the most important decision we as a professional community need to make. The welfare of our children, our community and our profession is at stake.

I also hope that a collegial, inclusive, collaborative, supportive leader who has a background of experience with local educational issues is chosen.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 3:28 pm

agreed. SRC meets at 2 pm on Wednesday. We need to come out from behind our anonymous blogs and show up on Wednesday and DEMAND our role. We cannot afford "business as usual" and another Ackerman

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 4:57 pm

I wouldn't count on the SRC using a democratic process.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 22, 2011 4:20 pm

Then they would be making a major mistake.

Leadership Matters and how the leader is chosen Matters. The SRC is already under strong public scrutiny.

Philadelphia is the birthplace of American democracy. It is time we returned to living by those ideals....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 4:53 pm

You do not want Nunery--he is a teacher hater and union hater as he ran Edison Charter Schools into the ground. He is a joke. He is also friends with Dwight Evans--that's right Evans who supported and pushed for this SRC and state takeover--people forget but keeping voting his arse in!!! Teachers need to start voting for politicians who have their backs (Anthony Williams, Dwight Evans, Tom Corbett, Shirley Kitchen--DO NOT!!!). Anthony Williams would sell a teacher out in a minute to promote his failing Charter School.

I hate to say it but PHILADELPHIA IS THE LAUGHING STOCK TO EVERY SUBURBAN DISTRICT AND ITS PEOPLE. ALL THEY HERE IS ACKERMAN THIS, PHILLY POLITICS AS USUAL!! tHAT WHY I LEFT THIS CITY---THE NEW DETROIT!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 5:33 pm

Yes, we are the new Detroit if we allow ourselves to become that. Evans should NEVER be reelected but he will and we all know it. John Q.Porter --Mosaica--should be sent back to Oklahoma where he was chased out for money issues. Nunnery seems like a carbon copy of the Queen, I agree. Gamble should have NO Schools--PLease, What an embarrassment he is, not as bad as Evans but plenty bad. Anthony Williams is a joke--enough said. Corbett is the devil incarnate for destroying the inner city kids and we all need to vote him out ASAP. Elections matter--when you elect bigotry and intolerance, expect bigotry and intolerance. VOTE PEOPLE !!!! Sorry, that all these folks are black except Corbett but carpetbaggers and thieves come in all colors. Hopefully, this whole nightmare will come to a natural death or we will be Detroit-East.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 5:30 pm

The PFT needs to stop endorsing candidates just because they are Democrat. Jerry Jordan should get the word out to NOT vote for Anthony Williams and Dwight Evans!! These 2 Democrats in particular, can't stand the teachers union period. Williams is all for Charter Schools and Evans is too plus he pushed for the SRC and the State takeover---people still vote for him. The only good thing is that Evans has aged and that is one step closer to him retiring!

The PFT should back WHOEVER supports public school teachers and leave it at that.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 6:07 pm

We all know what both of them are but you're likely right. Same old, same old---and then we expect different outcomes--the definition of insanity. Gee, I wonder why those 2 love Charter Schools, especially their own, of course. All charter schools do is make money for the pols and the providers off the backs of the kids. We all know that too. They treat their staffs like serfs or worse.and the kids are marginalized beyond compare.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 6:17 pm

Summer 2011 Ackerman shakes up central leadership again , replaces some newly appointed assistant superintendents and puts some that she ousted the first time back. What a wacko!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 8:26 pm

Arlene C. Ackerman's predecessor had some harsh words for her buyout.

Former CEO Paul Vallas, who left Philadelphia in 2007, said that "in this climate of fiscal distress with huge layoffs of teachers and administrators, to offer anyone $900,000 not to work is unconscionable. I think the people who agreed to this deal ought to have their heads examined.”

Of the private donations, Vallas said, “That’s about as outrageous as it gets. If you are going to raise $400,000 in private money, give it to a school, for crying out loud.”

Vallas got a buyout of $180,000 when he left the district in 2007. He went on to be schools chief in New Orleans, leaving that district this year. He's now a consultant, doing work in Haiti on rebuilding schools there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 9:31 pm

Okay She will also get her 100,000 dollar bonus and had time for her high paid PR people do a tribute video before they walked out the door. but children come first . the video was up right after the announcement.
http://www.youtube.com/phillyeducation#p/a/u/0/VmAudU61S8k

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 9:05 pm

The fact that Ackerman's PR office had the resources/time to put together this vain, self-serving, PR stunt says it all. Ackerman is only about one person - herself. She has a bigger ego than Vallas...

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 9:36 pm

The little I was able to watch of this was absolutely revolting. I hope the entire communication office of spin doctors goes out with her. They deserve each other!

Submitted by tom-104 on August 22, 2011 9:28 pm

This is an astonishing video. It is meant to be a tribute, but it shows everything that was wrong with Ackerman's administration. It is an accolade to herself, as well as showing how bogus the Promise Academy's are. They are showcase schools for public relations while the rest of the school district falls apart. The most laughable statement is her last one, "I am Superintendent for all the children." The entire video shows this is not true.

Submitted by tom-104 on August 22, 2011 9:25 pm

One more thing; how much did this video cost and who produced it. It was obviously not an amateur production. If it was done in the School District, what jobs were these employees taken from the create this propaganda film. If it was given to an outside contractor, how much of the tax payers money was given for this film. How many laid off teachers could have been rehired with this money?

Submitted by tom-104 on August 22, 2011 11:14 pm

At the end of the video, there are other videos about some of her initiatives such as Promise Academies. Many of the clips in her self-promotion video are from these videos. In other words, she had a film production company going around and preparing these slick, expensive videos even as the School District was descending into the worst financial crisis in its history!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 10:26 pm

Thank You for having the speed and alertness to save this! What a revolting piece of self promotion, they should send the whole PR office out with her

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on August 22, 2011 10:14 pm

It is one of the most amazing examples of megalomania I have ever seen! I would love to know how many taxpayer paid for man hours this took!

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 22, 2011 9:42 pm

Ackerman and Gadhafi should retire together. They can live on illusions of grandeur and share dictatorial strategies.

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