Letters: Too high a bar for former Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman?

Posted: August 26, 2011

AS I sifted through my Facebook account, I couldn't help but notice the outpouring of updates on the controversy that ultimately led to School Superintendent Ackerman's highly publicized buyout.

Several of my public-school colleagues appeared to be thrilled about Ackerman's departure. There was an overall sense of enthusiasm regarding the possibility of a fresh start in the district. But many were angered by the $905,000 payoff that it took to solidify "The Queen's" grand exit.

My question: Why shouldn't Ackerman be entitled to severance as outlined by her contract? Is it not her right to negotiate a contract that is fair for her?

And why shouldn't Ackerman walk away from the district with her head erect and her purse full when many legislative members of the Black Caucus all maintain that Ackerman has positively affected the education of students in many of Philly's lowest-performing schools?

As a public-school educator, I'll be the first to admit there's much, much more work to be done. However, the fact is that Ackerman has enabled the School District of Philadelphia to make impressive gains with regards to student achievement. Perhaps she has made a conscious decision to disengage herself in the politics game, but was this a justifiable reason to nail her to the cross?

Paul Vallas was quoted as saying that to pay $905,000 for Ackerman's buyout during a budget crisis was unconscionable. But he walked away from the job quietly after being subjected to far less scrutiny and abuse with $180,000 and white privilege, something Ackerman will never carry in her purse.

Daninia A. Jordan


Re the nice little sum Arlene Ackerman will be taking with her:

Is this some kind of joke? With all the programs going broke in the city, how can she walk with all that money and nobody is doing anything about it?

And about the long-term solution, as the mayor calls it: I recently went to John Bartram High to get a copy of my diploma, and had to walk in through metal detectors. Isn't this a temporary solution to a permanent problem? When these kids get out of school, there will be no detectors for them to go through at their jobs.

Mayor Nutter, wake up and smell the coffee. Don't let this happen to our future and our future of our children.

Carol A. Piazzo


In praise of Joey V

Though Joey Vento and I disagreed on his negative stance on Mexicans moving into the Italian Market area, his positive efforts far outweighed any negative action. If more Philadelphia businesses contributed back to the community and cared like Joey did, our city would be a far better place.

Gregory Bucceroni, Coordinator

Crime Victim Services / Youth Violence & Crime Reduction Partnership

Questions of race

To the letter-writer who who called the Republican Party the modern-day KKK:

This is grossly unfair and irresponsible. To be honest, no one party is less guilty than the other.

People of all races are losing their homes, jobs and pensions. Both parties are corrupt and self-serving. As citizens of this great country, we must share responsibility for the greedy officials we vote in, and must demand an end to political corruption and greed.

Frank Cresta


Mayor Nutter spoke out about the violent crimes committed by the black flash mobs, as well he should. Thank God he's black, because if he were a white mayor, the usual cry of racism would be heard nationwide.

Jack Yocum


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