Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Still glad that Arlene Ackerman is gone

Annette John-Hall in today's Inky suggests deposed school superintendent Arlene Ackerman was somehow redeemed by a new report that shows she was pressured—Philly-style!—into making a company favored by Sen. Dwight Evans the new charter operator of Martin Luther King Junior High here in Philadelphia.  Ackerman, it seems, was the victim of dirty dealings.

But Ackerman can be the victim in the MLK story and Philadelphia can be better off without her. The bill of particulars against Ackerman isn't limited to the MLK debacle. There's also....

• Getting caught by surprise by a $600 million budget deficit. 

• Her slowness in responding to attacks on Asian students at South High, waiting until the situation boiled over into a very public crisis.

• Her "buck doesn't stop with me" attitude in response to the crisis of violence in Philadelphia schools overall. 

Even the trend of higher district test scores—which began before she came to Philadelphia—looks to be tainted.

So. The head of Philadelphia schools couldn't manage the budget. She couldn't keep the schools safe. And there's real reason to believe that she wasn't improving the education in a district renowned for its awfulness. Plus, she and her PR team were brittle and defensive. It was time for her to go.

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