Superintendent Ackerman withdraws name from 'manifesto'
It turns out that Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman doesn’t really agree with the “reform manifesto” that appeared this week in The Washington Post and signed by16, scratch that, now 15, big-city school district chiefs.
The manifesto was written by New York City Superintendent Joel Klein and then signed by D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and 14 others. It blames teachers unions for the troubles of urban education, views charter schools as some sort of big answer to the same problem, and generally supports market-driven measures to “fix” what is the country’s most precious civic institution.
But today we learn that Ackerman never approved the manifesto, according to David Wiener, associate superintendent of academics in the Philadelphia school system. Different versions had been circulated among school chiefs, and Ackerman did not see or approve the one that appeared in The Post last Sunday, he said.
Here’s what Weiner said in an e-mail:
"I discovered last night that the Washington Post printed an Op-Ed that Philadelphia Superintendent Arlene Ackerman did not support. The Superintendent read and approved a previous version of the letter, circulated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Peter Gorman and the Council of Great City Schools Executive Director Michael Casserly. However, Superintendent Ackerman did not see nor approve the final version submitted to the Post.
I received the final version of the letter and skimmed through it, but I did not recognize the significant changes. I, incorrectly, gave approval to NYC Chancellor Joel Klein for Superintendent Ackerman’s name to be included as a supporter to the final version, even though she did not see or review it.”
Weiner then apologized for the error and said that Ackerman would submit her own response to the manifesto.
Earlier today I published a post about two superintendents who had originally declined to sign the Klein manifesto. Jonathan P. Raymond, superintendent of the Sacramento City Public School District ( who issued an open letter advancing a smarter view of reform) and Buffalo Public Schools Supt. James A. Williams both said the manifesto was simplistic and wouldn’t do anything to improve schools.
Now Ackerman is distancing herself from the Klein nonsense. Good for her.
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| October 15, 2010; 2:02 PM ET
Categories: School turnarounds/reform | Tags: arlene ackerman, buffalo public schools, james raymond, joel klein, jonathan raymond, klein manifesto, manifesto, philadelphia schools, reform manifesto, sacramento schools, school manifesto, school reform
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