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.”
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