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SRC: We’re still committed to Ackerman

Photo: Benjamin Herold

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

UPDATED: 8/3, 7:00 p.m.
PFT president Jerry Jordan has called for Ackerman’s ouster. "I was asked if it was time for her to go, and I said ‘yes,’" said Jordan, speaking of an interview he gave this morning on Fox 29. In a phone interview with the Notebook, he said that "she has become a distraction" and that his members believe that the superintendent "has lost all credibility."

Among other things, he said, teachers are "fed up" with having to teach Corrective Reading and Corrective Math, remedial curricula that many say are too rigid and stifle teachers’ ability to be creative and respond to student needs as they see fit.

He also said that the PFT had not been notified of the decision to cut back on the planned expansion of Promise Academies next year. He learned about it from a staffer in the room at the SRC meeting this morning when the announcement was made. "There was absolutely no communication with the union about this,’ he said. "There has been a total lack of willingness to collaborate."

Jordan also said that his union will not negotiate any contract concessions with Ackerman. The District is relying on union givebacks amounting to $75 million, or it will be required to make even further cuts beyond what has already been announced.

Asked whether he would negotiate possible contract concessions with new leadership, he said, "At this point, no. I have not talked to my board or members, but my gut response is ‘no.’"

Jordan said that he is concerned about the upcoming school year, given the layoffs of hundreds of teachers and other drastic reductions in personnel and services. "The opening of school in September at this point I see as very problematic," Jordan said. "And if I see it, the administration should see it as well."

UPDATE: 8/3, 4:10 p.m.
The SRC has released the following statement:

"The School Reform Commission remains committed to working with Superintendent Arlene Ackerman as stated under her employment agreement with the School District of Philadelphia."

After Wednesday morning’s special School Reform Commission meeting, Chairman Robert Archie responded to persistent rumors that the SRC is seeking to remove Superintendent Arlene Ackerman by saying that her contract is far from expiration.

"Dr. Ackerman has a contract, which the SRC extended for an additional year," said Archie. "Her contract is not even up. She has another year, til 2014."

In March, the SRC allowed Ackerman’s contract to automatically be extended, from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

Ackerman was also in attendance at the meeting. Afterwards, her supporters asked her if she intends to stay on as superintendent.

"I have to have the support of the people who hired me," said Ackerman. "I think you should ask them."

The only other commissioner present on Wednesday, Johnny Irizarry, declined to comment when asked if Ackerman still has his support.

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