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With Ackerman’s Departure, Sighs Of Relief From Many Quarters

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dr. Arlene Ackerman started out her tenure with lots of support, but she leaves with few allies.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, prefers to stay positive about the superintendent’s departure (see related story).   He says he is pleased that the focus will go back on students and the start of the school year.

But Jordan (photo) is among those whose relationship with Ackerman crumbled as the school district’s financial situation deteriorated.

Jordan says the union agreed to a contract with some controversial provisions in order to help her develop her pet project, the “promise academies,” but she did not return the spirit.

“She really did not choose to listen to the voices of teachers,” Jordan laments (see related story).

So, will he miss her as schools superintendent?

“No, I won’t,” he says after a momentary pause.

Meanwhile, Robert McGrogan, chief of the school administrators’ union says he is also pleased that the focus is off Ackerman.  But he is troubled by the $905,000 buyout package she will be receiving (see related story).

“I’m really troubled about the private contribution,” McGrogan says.  “It speaks to the potential for corruption with vendors and other types of arrangements that might have been created.”

gym helen7 tight With Ackermans Departure, Sighs Of Relief From Many Quarters

(Helen Gym. File photo)

Community activist Helen Gym (right) is among those who say that it wasn’t Ackerman’s management style that sunk her boat.
“That was secondary compared to the level of mismanagement and chaos that was happening in the district,” Gym says, calling the buyout “an outrage.”

Still, Ackerman does have allies.  Pennsylvania state representative Ron Waters (D-Phila. and Delaware counties), for example, wishes she were staying.

“I don’t know how you’ll find the perfect person who’s going to be politically astute and also academically astute,” he says. “Now we’ve got this big payout of money and a search for someone else and put them through the learning curve again.”

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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One Comment

  1. Bobbie Toom says:

    What controversial provisions is JJ talking about, holding teacher accountable, because you have 5 years on the job your tenured for life. Yeah Dr Ack. Ruffled a few feathers she demoted principals who were under performing and teachers where next. She’s getting blamed because the governor of Pa cut educational funding and so did the mayor but she’s the scapegoat Please give me a break. I say get rid of the SRC what have they done for our kids, they took money from the schools to pay for her buyout!

  2. PhillyMFM says:

    So if Arlene is SO concerned about “The Children” then why is she taking 950K from “The Children”???????? I guess the next flunkie to get the job will probably make about 100K more than dear Arlene, and of course will have to have their next campain slogan. How about “Children Succeeding” but it should be “Can you say HIGHER REAL ESTATE TAXES”!!!!!!!

  3. JJ says:

    she’s an incompetent loser who should move far from Philly

    can’t wait to see the next dope they hire

    what a city

  4. A laid off teacher says:

    Peter – Where should we start… the biggest error that I can see is that she has the school district entering the school year with three-quarters of a billion dollar deficit. In plain terms she did not balance her checkbook. Unlike the US Government, the school district cannot create money and does not have the authority to borrow money. Knowing that she would not have the reveue coming in to cover all of her expenses, she pushed for expensive pet projects that have shown limited success (Promise Academies) and threatened less expensive initiatives that have significant proven success (Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education). She skirted ethical decision making (funneling $7.5 Million to a contractor for security cameras), and possible test improprieties (PSSA Score erasures). From a political standpoint she was a disaster alienating the Teachers, the Mayor, City Council and the Governor. As the CEO of a large business she failed. As for successes, test scores were rising in the 6 years before she became Superintendent, so can she really take credit for that? The sad thing is that the money from this buy-out would have been better served re-hiring laid-off teachers.

  5. Peter says:

    I have been trying to folow this in the news and have no clue as to what happened. The reporting is sketchy and full of innuendo at best. Why doesn’t anybody ever come out and say exactly what did this woman did that required her to be pushed out of her job?

    1. JAG says:

      Really? Have you been alive for the last three years? You don’t recall any mention of gross mismanagement of funds, willfully neglecting/trying to stifle the attacked students of South Phila HS, undermining colleagues and mistreating anyone who disagrees with her? You’ve never noticed how whenever any difficulty or scandal arose, she “didn’t know” about it so she couldn’t be blamed for it? Those are just a few examples of years of inept “leadership.”
      If you’re so new to the reality of the situation, go visit and read up on the many difficulties during her tenure.

    2. Bobbie Toom says:

      They won’t Peter because she was doing her job and she wasn’t a part of the good old boy network. Ask the SRC where the money came from to buy her out? They took money from the schools last week!

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